[Tokyo] Many have written about ramens in Japan, but fewer about its ‘cousin’ udon. I wasn’t that crazy about udon anyway, but the rationale was there weren’t too many exceptional ones I had experienced.
慎 Shin will probably change your mind. So much as that if anyone tells me he or she is staying in Shinjuku and what’s there to eat there… “SHIN”.
I missed this on my last-last trip (eateries close during the Christmas, New Year period) and made it a point to do a detour for this, even if it also meant standing in line embracing the cold weather for half an hour or so.
Shin Udon is a short 5-10 walk from Shinjuku station (try Exit 6), but I know of people taking half an hour simply because they got lost.
If it helps, the small eatery is hidden in view in a lane near a police post, about a minute away from the insanely popular Fu-unji ramen 風雲児.
There was a queue of 6-8 as I went very early evening.
Entering the shop, I realised it was a cramped 10-seater – 6 at the counter, 2 and 2 at the table, typical Japanese style. Counter of course to catch the chefs in action.
The buckwheat udon is made in house, fresh upon order, in cold or hot versions, topped with ingredients such as tempura, sliced beef, mentaiko and soft boiled egg.
The basic variants are Kake Udon – Hot udon in broth topped with thinly sliced scallions; Zaru Udon – cold noodles accompanied with a chilled dipping sauce; and Bukkake Udon – cold udon with thicker dashi broth.
There is a short English translation for its quite-pictorial menu, so do not worry.
I had the Kamatama Udon (1,100 Yen, SGD$13.20, USD$9.60), hot udon tossed in raw egg and a special dashi soy sauce, with seasoned cod roe and nori seaweed.
The first slurp of the udon was marvelous.
Thick, square cut udon traveled into the mouth with that slippery soft texture, which had a certain ‘bounce’ which made it pleasurable to just chew and chew.
Not too hard, not too dry, not too starchy. Simple and gratifying.
For a change, I also got the Udon Noodles In Soup (1,250 Yen , SGD$15, USD$11) with beef, burdock root tempura . It was the weather, and the soup version cried out to me .
The stock LOOKED like a simple fare, but its essence of dashi, horse mackerel, nori, soy sauce and rice wine all coming together spelled “umami”.
Somehow udon back home didn’t taste quite like this. A friend described the experience like chewing gum – you won’t want it to leave your mouth.
慎 Shin Udon
2 151 0053, 2 Chome-20-16 Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan (Shinjuku Station, Exit 6)
代々木2-20-16 (相馬ビル1F), Shibuya, Tōkyō, 151-0053, Japan
Tel: +81 3-6276-7816
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Thurs, Sun), 11am – 11pm (Fri – Sat), Closed during New Year period
Google Maps – Shin Udon