Udon?!?! But this is a ramen blog! What gives?
In the epic battle for noodle supremacy, ramen and udon are neck and neck, trading blows and refusing to allow a victor.
But this is Kagawa Prefecture, home of Sanuki Udon, and Ramen Adventures is now Noodle Adventures, for a day at least.
Takamatsu city is a truly excellent place for bicycles. The sidewalks are relatively wide enough for riding, and the city-wide rental system is fantastic. Grab a bike from any of the dozen or so lots, pay 100 yen (about a buck), and return said bicycle anywhere.
Why am I even mentioning this bit of random travel info? Well, the noodle adventure was big this time around.
I inquired with those in the know about the best place for udon in Takamatsu. This is the biggest city in Kagawa Prefectures, a part of Japan also known as Sanuki. And if that name sounds familiar, it is because Sanuki is synonymous with the tasty wheat and clean spring water used in udon noodles. No one holds even a close second to the thick cut local udon of Sanuki.
Moriya was the number one choice from both a couple Tokyo based foodies and some local SHikoku fishcake makers.
Taxi drivers were also big fans, and will happily drive you to the shop; to the tune of about $50. Yeah, this udon shop is over half an hour drive from the station.
To make a long story short, I rented one of those 100 yen basket-bikes and rode for an hour and a half, up into the hills of Sanuki, for the best udon in Kagawa. And since the udon is Kagawa is the best in Japan, Moriya could be argued to be the best udon shop in the world.
Epic. This was, unfortunately, a national holiday. Over 100 people waiting in line meant a two hour wait.
A wait well into the evening.
Mention Moriya to a native and they will probably remark about the kakiage udon. Kakiage is a tempura fritter made of skinny slices of vegetables, shrimp, and whatever the shop feels will match well.
Moriya's kakiage is full of shrimp and Japanese pumpkin. Many people (myself included) find kakiage to be heavy on the onions, but Moriya struck a perfect balance.
And the noodles. Of course, these were the main draw. Hand-cut from the dough a few minutes before being cooked means a lot of bite, and a chewiness that makes udon feel more like a protein than a carb.
I regret not getting another bowl.
Ninety minutes there, the same back, and about two hours waiting. Was this bowl of noodles worth a five hour adventure? You bet it was.
I love Shikoku, but I'm probably never coming here without my motorcycle again!
Official Site Here
Kagawa-ken, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawacho, Kawanaihara 1575-1
Closest station: Kind of close to the airport, 30 minute drive from Takamatsu