The dish in the photo looks like a dessert, something sweet to eat after a meal. But wait. It is the meal. It’s udon noodles in curry sauce and topped with whipped cream, to be exact, and it is absolutely delicious.
According to our trusty reporter Mr Sato (Food Queen Sato, as he calls himself on Twitter), that is, who went to the noodle shop Shodai in Ebisu, Tokyo, to taste this revolutionary spin on curry udon.
Curry udon is a standard noodle dish that can be found at just about any udon shop in Japan. It mixes the flavor of udon and curried rice by ladling curry sauce over a bowl of udon noodles. Simple, yet effective.
Throwing whipped cream into the mix doesn’t sound like it would end well. Usually these kind of things don’t.
The dish can be found at Shodai, a soba shop in Ebisu on the first floor. It is stylish both outside and inside and the long counter space makes you feel like you are in a nice bar rather than a soba shop. They actually do serve alcoholic beverages, (stay open until 4 a.m.), but their specialty is soba (and they also serve udon, of course).
The dish was completely white with not a single trade of neither curry nor udon to be seen. The rumors were indeed true: the whole dish is covered in white whipped cream so that you can’t tell what it is. The shop staff’s advice was to stir it up well. So that’s what I did. I stirred the whipped cream around and around until noticing for the first time that there was actually udon and curry underneath it all. I took a bite and…it was surprisingly good.
The secret to the cream is potatoes. The cream is whipped up with potato paste, which gives it a much more mellow flavor that mixes well with the udon and curry sauce. In fact, the cream mixed with these two flavors go tremendously well together. It wouldn’t be too much to say that they match together like the three sides of an equilateral triangle, they are perfectly balanced. In addition, the noodles are hand made and have the perfect texture.
The cream looked so good that I took a lick, which I immediately regretted. It was surprisingly bitter, which seemed to be from the carbon dioxide used to fluff up the cream before putting it on the noodles. According to the staff, this leaves the cream with just a trace of a bitterness to it.
This dish is definitely to be eaten as the staff suggested: by mixing it up well. All the tasty noodle broth is also at the bottom of the bowl, so you’ll want to stir in up to spread that flavor around too. I highly recommend trying this dish for yourself. The surprising way it looks and the even more surprising way it tastes is something to be experienced.
■ Shodai Soba Shop
Ebisu Minami 1-1-10 1F, Shibuya ku, Tokyo
Open from 17：00～4：00
Open all year round except for the New Year holidays
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