Kyoto (京都) is a very popular city to visit among travelers due to its beautiful historical attractions and culture. Kyoto is also well-known for its traditional multi-course meal (kaiseki ryori), pickles (tsukemono) and side dishes (obanzai). However, in this article, I am going to derail you for a second and introduce you to a new specialty dish.
Have you heard of “kitsune udon”? Kitsune means fox and udon is a variety of wheat flour noodles. Here, udon is served with a large piece of deep-fried tofu skin (aburaage). It was named kitsune udon because the legend has it that foxes like to eat deep fried tofu and since foxes are regarded as messengers at Inari shrines, kitsune udon is widespread around the Fushimi Inari Shrine (also known as Fox Shrine) in Kyoto. There are a countless number of kitsune udon restaurants all the way from the station to the shrine itself. The key to finding some of the best spots is by not taking the main road. We visited a great place, Udon Zenzai (うどんぜんざい), which was off the main street and somewhat between the residents’ houses.
I ordered kitsune udon and my friend ordered kyoto-style udon. They were amazingly delicious! The broth was flavourful. The tofu skin was sweet and the fish cake and the soft-boiled egg added a nice hint of protein to the dish.
The broth was really light. A combination of pork and various had been boiled in the broth for a decent amount of time to bring out their flavors even more. The pork pieces were also tender and sweet.
We also ordered kinako mochi for dessert which is basically soybean powder with the famous chewy glutinous rice cake, mochi.
The restaurant is run by two lovely aged ladies, where one cooks while the other serves customers. Both ladies are very friendly and heart-warming where they greeted everyone warmly when they arrived and as they departed. The food is cooked from scratch so it may take longer than usual but, I can guarantee that it is definitely worth the wait.
If you get a chance to visit the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, be sure to try Kyoto’s delicious kitsune udon specialty at any of the delicious local eateries nearby!
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