For me, udon tops the list. Biting into those thick, chewy noodles is the food equivalent of falling into a bed made with a giant comforter and so many down pillows that you feel you are sinking. A bowl of udon soup is the perfect compliment for a melancholy mood. The kind that is painful
but beautiful too
so you sort of bask in it while it's around. Those are the sort of days when a noodle shop is the most splendid thing you've ever seen. It's better still if it's raining. You watch the fragments of light caught in drops sliding down the window. You are lost in the steam from the bowl in front of you.
My udon is never comparable to the stuff found in a good noodle shop. And the noodle shops here aren't comparable to the noodles I had in Japan. Old men hanging around a counter. Picking out your bowl from a vending machine that shoots out colorful chips. Not knowing what you are ordering, but certain that it will be amazing.
I just found out that my dearest friend is coming to Michigan from Japan on holiday this summer. It will be this first time back since he moved there 7 years ago. I am elated. I only wish he could bring me a bowl of noodles in his suitcase.
Lemongrass Udon SoupRecipe adapted from Food, Pleasure, and Health
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 package of udon noodles
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 lemongrass, chopped
5 cremini mushrooms, sliced
bean sprouts and cilantro, to garnish
In a medium sauce pan bring broth, scallions, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, and mushrooms to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Cook the noodles seperatly according to package instructions. Add cooked noodles to broth and serve. Garnish with bean sprouts and cilantro.