Updated: Oct 9, 2020
It is not rare to find different variations of ramen or soba in Japan. Ramen usually has various types of soup stock and meat. Lately, more and more ramen shops are putting their own flair into their ramen - blue ramen, fire ramen, tomato ramen, Indian curry ramen.
However Udon in Japan is usually eaten in a traditional way - dashi soup, some green onions, some beef and in goes the noodles. Of course, there is some variations like curry udon, but not in ways that ramen has transformed so far.
When I went to Matsuyama in Ehime this year, I discovered an udon shop that started to put flairs into their udon.
The shop’s name is “Tsuruchan”
They have an extensive menu of savory Japanese and Western flavours. For example, this Seafood Tomato Cream udon:
Or this Carbonara udon:
If you want to try a more Japanese twist, you can order this udon version of a Tsukemen (dipping noodles), where the broth (soy sauce base) is made out of a local specialty fish - Tai (sea bream). The dipping broth is also filled with yummy bits of tai as well.
Of course, they also have more traditional flavours like kake udon, niku udon and curry udon if those flavours are not to your fancy. But those are just three of many soup bases to choose from! You can come here three meals a day, and you still would have only touched the surface of their extensive menu.
I also tried their local specialty called "Nabeyaki Udon", which roughly translate to grilled hot pot (nabe just a bunch of things thrown into a pot).
Amongst so many flavour to choose from, I have to admit the nabeyaki was a bit underwhelming. The noodles were still very chewy and bouncy, but we very much enjoyed the more "crazy" flavours in our udon.
If that's not enough food for you, "Tsuruchan" also has a oden bar.
You go up to the oden bar, pick whatever you like in the pot, and you pay per skew.
I didn't indulge in the oden, since the noodles were more than enough. You can choose a small, medium or big portion with no extra charge - so instead of the oden, I just went for extra noodles!
If you're ever in Matsuyama, definitely check this place out!