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Oct 16, 2008 10:51 PM

Japanese noodles - not ramen - on peninsula, south bay?

Craving fresh-made soba or udon. Any suggestions? Any hope?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Fresh made as in made from scratch? Not in the south bay. Udon is mostly frozen packet variety and soba is made from the dry packets. However there may be a few places that apply the right technique to make a good result and/or pair it with the right broth/ingredients to make it as authentic and simplistic as possible.

    Udon at Gombei in Menlo Park and San Jose J-town is not bad but some hate it. It's a good portion and at least the broth and ingredients (especially the egg) is done decently.

    If you're more interested in sampling some simple yet good udon but without the meat, veg, egg condiments (ie all about the noodle and base broth), Gochi in Cupertino and Sumika in Los Altos offer sides of small udon bowls with their lunch sets. Gochi uses Tanuki (or was it Sanuki I get the two confused all the time) and Sumika's version uses Inawa udon (all frozen of course) but the dashi (konbu and bonito flakes) broth that goes with it is a much finer detail that pairs well at both places.

    Soba...I dunno. This is something anyone can make at home, just pick a higher end Japanese dry packaged import from your Japanese supermarket like Nijiya and it will taste 100x than most restaurants. I do notice that Saizo in Sunnyvale during lunch the guy who cooks it does it properly for cold zaru soba (after boiling it, drench in ice).but it takes a while for the order and it comes out really nice.

    For hand made head to SF, and you need to call ahead to check or reserve, Mikaku on Grant for fresh soba (not properly milled but for an enthusiast's effort they say it is best you can get) and Minako in the Mission for hand made udon (reserve in advance unless chef is no longer doing this).

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thank you. I will follow your recommendations.


      1. re: K K

        I second the recommendation for Gochi's udon. The udon noodles are perfectly toothsome every time. They are sanuki udon.

      2. I'm about 3 months late to reply, and somewhat out of scope with regards to geography, but there's a new udon restaurant in San Francisco's Japantown that makes their own hand made udon noodles.

        The restaurant is called Sanuki Udon, and I'm not sure when it opened (although it felt like it was relatively recent). Since I'm far from an udon connoisseur, I can't really say how it stacks up to other offerings in the Bay Area.

        I saw visual confirmation that the noodles were hand made, and they certainly had the nice texture you usually get from something freshly made. The regular sized tempura bowls averaged around $8ish.

        Would be interested in hearing how others think of their udon. It's located in the eastern part of Japantown, across the way from Seoul Garden.

        Sanuki Udon
        22 Peace Plaza Suite 530
        San Francisco, CA 94115

        Sanuki Udon
        22 Peace Plz, San Francisco, CA 94115

        3 Replies
        1. re: John Doe

          Hey, JD, that sounds great. I'm wondering if it's the place Shannon alludes to in this post,

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            This udon restaurant apparently replaces a short lived Taiwanese/Chinese run Japanese place called Xin Li Cheng that per Bay Spo ad one time, had an excellent authentic hire tonkatsu (but closing in on $20). I'd love to hear more reports on this udon place.

            1. re: K K

              I visited Sanuki Udon in Japantown recently and had a great experience. The handmade noodles were good, just the texture that those kind should be. I had the 'chef's choice', and it was full of seafood and vegetables. The broth had depth yet a lightness and was delicious!