The week started out well when I decided to visit Asaguchi City in Okayama Prefecture. This town is famous for having tons of udon manufacturing factories and I was introduced to my first in what I hoped would be an interesting journey around Asaguchi City. Menkurando Udon was recommended by the tourist officer at the city hall.
Driving to the restuarant was very scenic, but visitors coming to Kamogata Town will probably arrive at Kamogata train station. From the train station you can walk to the restaurant in about 40 minutes or rent a bicycle to be able to explore more of this area. The reason I recommend this way is that Menkurando Udon has a natural spring foot bath where you can soak your feet either before or after your meal.
All the udon is freshly made each day and if you have eaten udon before you will know the difference immediately. On this occasion, I ate shrimp tempura udon with an umeboshi onigiri (rice ball with pickled plum). All dishes are served in pottery and presented beautifully. The udon soup was light and usually I’m not one to drink all the soup after eating my udon but today it was really delicious.
The entrance to the restaurant has the foot bath to the side and you enter via the restaurant shop. In the shop they have a corner that tells you a little about the history of this company and the process of udon making. In the center of the shop is a giant sized rice cooker. Actually this is the kind of item I like to collect, I'm not sure for what purpose but it definitely looks cool.
The shop has dried udon for you to take home and cook or give as a gift. I also spotted flavored spaghetti pasta. The flavors were tomato, carrot, pumpkin, spinach and wild mugwort herb. They also had cute eco-bags with a design by some children from the town.
Another unique feature about this udon restaurant is that they have a somen bamboo river slide where the thin white somen noodles slide down a chute made of split bamboo and you sit to the side to catch the somen with your chopsticks. This is definitely an exciting way to eat noodles and will put your chopstick skills to the test.
All I can say it was a great way to start the week by finding another delicious hideaway restaurant, and one I will be sure to tell all my friends about.