‘They look like brains.’
That’s what I first thought when I saw a packet of Udon noodles at a supermarket for the first time.
If you don’t know what I mean by that, I encourage you to visit a supermarket in Japan and have a look.
But don’t worry, when you visit a proper restaurant serving Udon noodles you will never make that association.
Udon noodles are thick white noodles made from 3 basic ingredients: wheat flour, salt, and water.
They are served in a wide variety of ways, in broth or soup, hot or cold and with countless toppings like egg, Tempura, green onions, or Nori.
What is Miso Nikomi Udon
In Nagoya, there is a special variation of Udon called Miso Nikomi Udon, sometimes translated as Miso-stewed Udon.
The Udon noodles are served in a thick and brown Udon noodle soup made from red Miso paste. Miso is a standard cooking ingredient in Japanese cuisine together with sugar, salt, vinegar, and soy sauce. It is made by fermenting soybeans.
The Miso for the Nagoya-style Miso Nikomi Udon is called Hatcho Miso, an especially dark and flavorful kind of Miso from the region.
Miso is mixed with a Dashi stock to create the characteristic Miso broth.
Miso Nikomi Udon is served in an earthenware pot called a Donabe and it usually arrives still bubbling and steaming hot at the table.
Not only the Miso for Miso Nikomi Udon is special. The Udon noodles also aren’t your everyday kind of Udon. They are usually much firmer giving the dish an interesting texture.
The standard toppings of Miso Nikomi Udon include leek, Kamaboko fish cakes, and a raw egg. But it can have other toppings such as deep-fried Tofu, Shiitake mushrooms, Nagoya Cochin chicken or other meat.
Don’t worry, if you don’t want to eat a raw egg. Through the heat of the Miso soup, the egg will stock and give a delicious texture and flavor to the dish.
It is hard to describe the taste of Miso Nikomi Udon because if you have never tasted Hatcho Miso before it is a flavor you won’t be familiar with. It is a rich taste and a very unique one.
Where to Try Miso Nikomi Udon in Nagoya
When you start searching for the perfect place to try your first Miso Nikomi Udon you will soon stumble upon the name Yamamotoya. The most famous of the Miso Nikomi Udon restaurants.
For some reason, I couldn’t yet figure out, there are multiple different restaurant chains under the umbrella name Yamamotoya. All with a specific website and small differences in-store design as well as the menu.
Yamamotoya started out in Osu in 1925, but the original shop doesn’t exist anymore.
They were the first to make Miso Nikomi Udon in the special Nagoya style with Hatcho Miso and firm Udon noodles.
Nagoya Meshi Food Tour
Learn this and more about Yamamotoya and Miso Nikomi Udon during a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour. A tour exploring the local food of Nagoya.
While walking around downtown Nagoya you will learn a lot about Nagoya’s history and culture and try different local dishes and snacks.
A unique way to explore Nagoya and to get an in-depth look at this underappreciated metropolis.
There is only a single one Yamamotoya Okute. It is located in Okute just 3 minutes walk from Fukiage station on the Sakuradori line.
They have a surprisingly big menu, serving 9 variations of Miso Nikomi Udon as well as curry Udon, Kishimen, Osumashi Udon and other side dishes and toppings for your Udon.
The original Miso Nikomi Udon costs 950 yen. The most expensive variation with added Nagoya Cochin chicken costs 1550 yen and might be worth a try if you want to sample two different kinds of Nagoya specialties in one dish.
Yamamotoya Sohonke has five restaurants in Nagoya and even one in Tokyo and one in Wakayama. The original Yamamotoya Sohonke is located in Nagoya in Sakae district.
They serve that same basic Miso Nikomi Udon as Yamamotoya Okute but have a different menu with other variations of dishes.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sat+Sun 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. closed Wednesdays
Address: 3-12-19 Sakae, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0008
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps
The Yamamotoya I visited to try my first Miso Nikomi Udon was a Yamamotoya Honten in Sakae district.
Yamamotoya Honten has a total of 17 shops in and around Nagoya.
You can get the delicious original Miso Nikomi Udon there for under 1000 yen, or different variations as well as seasonally changing dishes such as Miso Nikomi Udon with mushrooms or oysters.
Nikomi no Takara
Founded in 1964, Nikomi no Takara is the only Miso Nikomi Udon shop in Osu district. They believe in traditional taste with a recipe that hasn’t changed in 45 years.
For some delicious Miso Nikomi in a traditional setting visit Nikomi no Takara in Osu.
NIKOMI NO TAKARA
Opening Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. closed Thursdays
Address: 2-16-17 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0011
Sagami is a chain of restaurants specialized in Udon and Soba dishes. You can order anything from Zaru Soba or Udon (simple cold noodles with a dipping broth) to set menus with multiple side dishes such as Tempura, Sashimi, Donburi and more.
One of the dishes they offer is Miso Nikomi Udon. It isn’t as good as having it at one of the specialty restaurants but if you wanted to have a try and you can only find a Sagami close by it would do.
Sagami is a restaurant chain with hundreds of restaurants not only in Aichi but in every prefecture in the central part of Honshu. From Osaka to Tokyo you will find a Sagami if you just look for it.
Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Address: 4-3-25 Castle Plaza B1F, Meieki, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 450-0002
Website (Japanese only) | Google Maps
Miso Nikomi Udon as a Souvenir
Similar to Kishimen, you can buy Miso Nikomi Udon to take home as a souvenir at most souvenir shops in Nagoya.
The package will include the noodles as well as a base to make the unique Miso broth at home.
Final Thoughts on Miso Nikomi Udon
You can find a place to try Miso Nikomi Udon almost literally on every corner in Nagoya. That’s how much the locals love their Miso Nikomi. It the perfect activity to do in Nagoya at night after most tourist attractions are closed.
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.