Thursday, December 3, 2020

松下製麺所 (Matsushita Seimenjo in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture)


Udon Adventures? I reserved an official udon taxi to pick us up from the airport. Then he took us to a ramen shop. Let me explain.

The udon taxi is part of a larger network of local specialty taxis called Gotochi Taxi. Taxi drivers must pass a test to be certified as an expert in a particular field. Ramen Taxis in Wakayama. Castella cakes in Nagasaki. There's even a raw horse meat taxi in Kumamoto. Don't you love Japan?

Here's a hot top for you: hire an udon taxi to pick you up at the airport. Sanuki Airport in Kagawa Prefecture is a good 30-40 minutes from the main city of Takamatsu. A normal taxi will cost you quite a bit, as they charge by distance. These Gotouchi taxi's charge by the hour. A three-hour udon tour might be less than a normal one-way airport shuttle. Dope!

We hit three udon shops on our journey.

Along the way, the driver told tales of udon. Shikoku has deep noodle culture, tracing the food back to when Buddhist monks brought the knowledge from China in the year 1241.

To be honest, a simple bowl of udon with a raw egg is one of my favorite things. And ameal only costs a few hundred yen.

Most people go for two shops on these food tours, but we managed three.

If you want to find great udon shops on your own, the 百名店 list has 100 shops in West Japan. Or just look for the stickers.

These countryside shops can be quite crowded. Mega-famous Moriya, for example, regularly gets two-hour lines.

The last shop we visited happened to have ramen on the menu. Great! More content for the blog!

What the heck is this? This shop is a cook-your-own noodles deal. Choose ramen noodles or udon noodles or, as the shop suggests, both. 

Not going to lie, I didn't like it. I'll take my noodles separate thank you very much. The broth here at Matsushita Seimenjo was your basic udon dashi. I prefer a bit more in my ramen. The noodles themselves are the big draw to famous udon shops. Though the ramen noodles here were made in house, the whole mixed bag was strange to me.

That said, the entire taxi trip was fun. Around 15,000 yen for four hours. We split it between friends and would definitely do it again if I can ever convince people to come to Shikoku. 

For the record, the first shop the taxi driver took us to, Mishima Seimenjo (三嶋製麺所), was beyond excellent. A bit deep in the countryside, but those grandma-made noodles were something special.

Official site here.
Udon Taxi site here.

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