Tokyo and Osaka-based noodle chain Tsurutontan, specialists in udon wheat-flour noodle dishes, is currently offering patrons something rather tropical with its Mango Yogurt Udon. The very thought of eating a cold, sweet version of one of our favorite kinds of noodle at once excited us and made us feel a little bit queasy, so we sent a reporter over to try it out.
That summer aroma
Gently teasing a couple of noodles from the bottom of the dish, the thick, yellow soup’s aroma wafted over me. Nudging chunks of tropical fruit out of their way as they surfaced, the noodles brought forth a slightly sour scent of yogurt that teased my nostrils. Bringing the udon, thick with the yellow broth, closer to my face, I was overcome by a refreshingly sharp aroma that positively screams “summer”.
I steeled my nerves and slurped the soup-slathered noodles dangling from my chopsticks into my mouth. And would you believe… it actually works!
The dish’s unusual soup is a blend of the mangoes’ sweetness and the yogurt’s sour tang in a perfect harmony, and with the consistency of a pasta carbonara sauce, the soup clings to the soft, springy noodles nicely. Trying a little of it on its own, I was impressed by its delicate, natural sweetness; far from a cheap, sickly flavor, the soup is surprisingly subtle and refined.
A cognitive challenge
As delicious as the dish is, there was still something that constantly nagged at me as I ate. The flavors were working together, that was for sure, and the noodles absorbed the rich soup perfectly, but I just couldn’t shake the fact that I was eating not a mango yogurt noodle dish, but mango yogurt and noodles. Try as I might to ignore it, my brain constantly told me, “you’re eating two different things at once here,” with each bite. Which, now that I think of it, I suppose I was.
Think of it as a sweet snack
Tsurutontan offers diners up to three ladles of mango yogurt soup free of charge, but in all honesty just one, or even half a serving would be plenty. Eaten as a mid-afternoon snack, this dish definitely works, but as a meal in itself, it may be a little too much for some to handle.
Mango Yogurt Udon will only be on the menu at Tsurutontan for the next week or so, so if you’re feeling curious and up for a gourmet challenge, be sure to head down there soon and give it a try. Oh and be sure to let us know what you think.
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