Making Udon Noodles from Scratch
It's Time To Make the Udon -- Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/90 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
It's Time To Make the Udon

For dinner this evening, Fumie prepared udonthick noodles – which reminded me of our trip last month to Takamatsu (Kagawa Prefecture, Japan). That area is known for both its udon production and consumption, with something like a bazillion times more udon shops per capita than Tokyo has McDonald's and Starbucks combined.

We got a recommendation from a local for a good shop, and were not disappointed, as we could watch the noodles being made from scratch.

The process starts out with the chef kneading wheat flour, salt, and water into a big ball, and letting it sit for a few hours. He then flattens it out as shown above. With liberal use of flour, he uses a rolling pin to flatten further...

Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/90 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

Every once in a while as the dough got flatter and thinner, he would roll it all up like this:

Measuring? -- Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/80 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Measuring?

I'm not sure why. In the shot above, you can see a big black steaming pot – that's where the noodles will soon end up.

Eventually, he got the thickness the way he liked, and he folded the curved sheet of dough over itself a few times, then started cutting the individual noodles.

Measure Twice, Cut 278 Times -- Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/90 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Measure Twice, Cut 278 Times

I've seen those type of blade assemblies that include a screw-like main mounting bar such that the knife moves over a set amount with each stroke, but this one seems to be free-flowing, he's measuring the width of each cut himself.

He said that he'd been doing this for 38 years. I noticed that he still had all his fingertips. That's pretty impressive.

Toward the end of the cutting, he paused, took the first noodles cut, shook them with flour, then laid the bundle over the others. He did this each time, but I haven't the faintest idea why. He then continued cutting the last sixth or so of the dough.

Final Cuts -- Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/100 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Final Cuts

Once cut, they're noodles and are ready for cooking. They take a minute or two in the boiling water, and then they get added to soup and whatever extras you're having.

My Udon Vegetable Tempura -- Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
My Udon
Vegetable Tempura

While eating my lunch, I noticed the cook having a well-earned break....

Takamatu, Kagawa, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

The shop's name is Gen'nai (源内) . They have two shops; we were at the one they call “takamatsuten”, which is apparently not the main shop.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Enjoyed this, don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before. Nice!

— comment by Jon on January 14th, 2008 at 3:14pm JST (9 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Cool post Jeffrey! Love the documentary feel in the photos. I bet most of them would look great in B&W!

— comment by Sean McCormack on January 14th, 2008 at 10:31pm JST (9 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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