We stumbled upon this Inaniwa Udon restaurant while looking for Leica's boutique. Yeah we took one huge round with Papa Bear and MW Maho in Ginza looking for Leica when it was just right in front of our eyes. It's good to explore any city bcoz it's through such journey that u'll discover great eats, buy and sights.
Knowing nothing about Inaniwa Udon we decided that we must return to this restaurant one day. WE DID....and it was so fully booked with such a long queue...so we decided to come back another day. On that lucky day, were got a table and was escorted upstairs the building. Even luckier, we were given a private room, just the two of us.
When u see a menu that has got no ENGLISH innit in a japanese restaurant, rest assured this isn't a tourist trap BAHAHAHAHAA. We alwiz refused to enter any local establishments that speak good english...no no no...or a huge menu hanging outside with english innit.
This is when JS had to force himself to speak, learn and read japanese *all from his lil iPhone*. He's doin really well and picked up so fast I have no idea which is kanji which is katakana and hiragana.
This restaurant is the inventor and original creator of Inaniwa Udon. A type of velvety udon, handmade with family secrets. Established since 1860, its roots started since the Edo period. Passing down from generation to generation, it is now at the hands of Sato Yousuke....which I have no idea generation number wat.
Later I found out from their brochure, Sato Yousuke Shoten is the 7th generation of this artisanal udon. They were awarded and honored by the imperial family with the Awards for Skilled Artisans. Hmmm looks like we gonna enjoy wat the imperial family have on their table huh?
JS: "Monkey stop messing around with the chopsticks. Leave it there as it is."
I know I have itchy hands...all the time.
Lil appetizer of chips...not just any chips but it's actually fried udon bits.
Thank goodness for pictorial menu, JS ordered a simple Inaniwa Udon with tempura
It's served cold with a bamboo sheet at the bottom to drain off some of the excess water. The temperature was just right.... Look at how fine the udon is...yes it's UDON.
Bcoz I'm such a Goma freak *Goma is sesame*
Simple fuss fress. I guess when u gonna enjoy something this fine and artisanl, u don't want other taste to corrupt it.
Those days, only the imperial family can enjoy the noodle...now we all CAN!!!!
This is how u enjoy it. Dip them into your goma sauce. Really true artisanal authentic inaniwa udon. So silky smooth and bcoz it was handmade and dried in a certain method, the udon "picked" up the sauces as u swish it quickly down the goma sauce.
Also famous in their menu was this salt-grilled chicken from a region in Japan. I did not take notes that nite hence forgotten its name. Apologies. It has really good texture and strong fowl smell. If u are not a fan of fowl u gonna hate this. Also the meat was intended not to be cooked 100% to retain its juiciness.
Simple dessert of creme brulee. With such high quality eggs and milk available in Japan, no doubt without second opinion, desserts will alwiz be outstanding.
We were so surprised that we were given lil souvenirs and gifts home after our dinner. Oh well dear readers, apparently not anyone receive it. I guess bcoz of the numerous questions and enthusiasm we posted to the Team there, they must be thinking we were some journalists from some publications at some corner of the Earth.
Or maybe they just gave us this to shut us up for the continuous questioning. Bahahahaha. Definitely not!!! In Japanese culture, when one shows such true appreciation to their crafts, they can't help but feel so good about it. Japanese have such strong pride in their produce and crafts which I really respect. Passion is all you need.
Just a simple restaurant, fuss free with no fancy mancy menu. You may even past it without noticing. But this simple restaurant spanned the length of 5 shoplots in Ginza so u can imagine for a cottage industry that started 150 years ago has grown this huge would have taken a lot of passions and love...just for udon :)))
Not only we left feeling satisfied with such fine high quality udon, we learned to appreciate the skills executed to produce something so simple - udon. And what else? Almost picked up every single item that's available on their display counter to bring back home. They provided us a print out of the instructions on how to cook the perfect inaniwa udon. Yea don't let such fine artisanal udon falls in the wrong hands with the wrong cooking method. It'll be a mess!!!
In the city where it all started at Akita...there is now a tourism center for you to visit and try your hands in making Inaniwa Udon. You can learn to twist, knead and stretch your very own udon. For more information, please check below:
Ginza Sato Youshuke Branch:
Ginza 6-4-17, Chuo-Ku,
Tel: +81 3 6215 6211