Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen

Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen (さくら冷やしうどんつけめん)

Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen

The sakura zensen, or ‘Cherry Blossom Front’ is moving up Japan from south to north and is now passing through the center of the country where Kyoto is located. The delicate sakura blossoms don’t last long though, just a few days. It has already begun ‘raining’ cherry petals here and tomorrow ought to be a downpour.

The sakura is an important symbol for the samurai, and why so is a deep subject. Amid contemplating the sakura blooming, fading and disappearing on a momentary gust of wind, a foodie may ask, “ah, but what to eat?”


Sakura Noodles
Paku came home with sakura udon and sakura soba last night and we made the udon, which was fresh and delicate.

While it is still rather chilly in Kyoto, especially at dinner time we had hiyashi (冷やし), chilled udon. The sakura flavor of the noodles is very subtle and delicate so a light and simple tsuyu (dashi-shoyu based dipping sauce) is all that is needed.

We enjoyed this as ‘tsukemen‘, literally ‘dip’ ‘noodle’. A bit of grated ginger is added to the tsuyu and the noodles are dipped in it and slurped up. Very simple and delicious.

Fresh Sakura Udon and Sakura Soba
Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen
Paku got these at Meiji-ya on Sanjo Street. It will only be on the shelves for a very short time.

Fresh Sakura Udon
Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen

Fresh Sakura Udon — detail
Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen

Sakura Udon — Boiling
Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen
Notice the dark bits in the noodle. That is the sakura leaf. The leaf probably has more ‘sakura‘ flavor than the flower.

Sakura Hiyashi Udon (Tsukemen) Simply Served Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen
Take a bit of grated ginger (left) and place it in the tsuyu (right), then dip the noodles and slurp! Tsuke = dip and men = noodles.

15 Responses to “Sakura Hiyashi Udon Tsukemen”

  1. Nate says:

    Oooh, love tsukemen, and this looks tasty! Haven’t come across tsukrmen in Okinawa, but eat it that way back in Hawaii – at Taishoken, supposedly from the advertising connected to the place in Tokyo.

  2. diva says:

    sakura udon, and fresh at tht, sounds like top nosh. i think sakura flowers are so beautiful i was thinking of even having sakura blossoms tattooed on myself. what’s the flavour like? it looks sweet!
    oh i miss japanese food so much it’s killing me…x

  3. Marija says:

    This is so beautiful!
    Here, in Serbia, I think cherry will start to blossom next week. Do you know how to make sakura liqueur? I’m thinking of harvesting my father’s tree and making it 🙂

  4. PekoPeko says:

    Hey Nate, Yeah, tsukemen doesn’t seem real big in Kyoto either. I have only had it at restaurants here that started somewhere else. Either Kanto or Kyushu it seems. Taste good though!

  5. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Diva, Well, if you had a sakura tattooed on you, then in Japan you might be thought of as a yakuza-no-onna! Actually, the taste of sakura in noodles is very, very light. Before the noodles are boiled, they smell of sakura. But after just a quick boil, there isn’t much left. Sakura-mochi retains a lot of sakura, I suppose because it hasn’t been heated much.

  6. PekoPeko says:

    Hello Marija, I have had Czech liqueur made from various fruits, but not Serbian. I suppose they are different. Is the sakura liqueur made from fruit or flowers?

  7. Pepy says:

    I bet I would love this, I love udon and tsuyu.

  8. Momo says:

    wow! the Sakura udon is soo pretty!!
    I would love to try that someday- i’d say the most interesting noodles i’ve had would include green-tea (which seems a bit normal to me), chocolate pasta, and black tea noodles! although I think your sakura udon noodles beat me by a thousand!

  9. Nate says:

    The tsuyu, that’s what I like about tsukemen, at least at Taishoken. It is so much more concentrated and tasty than what would be the regular broth when eating ramen. And I like the fact that the ramen stays more firm longer.

  10. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Pepy, Probably fresh sakura noodles are a very rare thing in Winnipeg! Let us know if you find any! Maybe they have smoked whitefish udon? he he

  11. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Momo,
    Wow, chocolate pasta!?! NO, that takes the cake! How was it?
    And black tea noodles, that sounds interesting. Where did you have those and how were they?

  12. PekoPeko says:

    Momo – I have had chocolate beer!

  13. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Nate, Loved your KC-135 post. Ah, how 50 years passes so quickly!

  14. Jenna says:

    OMG! I am so envious! I only got to stay in Kyoto for one day (school trip) so we didn’t get to do much shopping…for food! *_* I should have known there would be sakura noodles since green tea noodles exist!

    Butbut I did get to buy sakura manju at the konbini ~ I love Japanese flavors.

  15. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Jenna, Actually sakura noodles are rare. I have seen them before but I don’t think that I ever ate any. Green tea noodles are available year round in most super markets and some soba restaurants.

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