Curry Udon of Futures Past

Yesterday I wrote about one of the worst foods ever (American cheese), so today I’m going to balance that out with a post about one of my favorite foods.

When I studied abroad for a year in Kyoto, I had a weekly tradition of going to a tiny restaurant near the school for lunch once a week. The entire restaurant consisted of a bar with 3 stools and 2 tables. I was often the only one there.

I ate at this restaurant for two reasons: A fondness for the old Japanese woman (we called her Okaasan) who ran the place and my favorite dish, curry udon.

IMG_4148Curry udon is basically curry soup (thick, brown soup with a kick to it), some kind of meat (usually beef), and green onion slices on top. It’s rich, hearty, and incredibly delicious. It’ll warm you to the core on a chilly day.

Thirteen years have passed since my last bowl of curry soup with Okaasan. I look for it whenever I eat at a Japanese restaurant here in St. Louis, but they never serve it. While I enjoy cooking, I didn’t think I could replicate the savory dish. No one makes it like Okaasan.

Or so I thought.

Last week I got a random craving for the soup and decided to give it a shot. The local grocery store had the green onions, a block of condensed curry, and pre-cooked udon noodles. I added some chicken and chicken broth to it, stirred for about 10 minutes, and prepared for disappointment.

Then the first drops of soup hit my lips, and I was transported back to that little restaurant in Kyoto. The flavor wasn’t exactly the same, but it was pretty darn close. I also found after the first bowl (I went back for seconds) that cutting the green onions lengthwise makes a huge difference for some reason.

If you like curry, Japanese food, a little spice, and delicious things in your mouth, I highly recommend trying a bowl of curry udon. My only regret is that summer weren’t just around the corner, as it’s definitely more of an autumn/winter food.