Anniversary Sale

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Now, I've always considered myself quite the noodle connoisseur, but I had never heard of the houtou noodle before. Originating in Yamanashi prefecture, Japan, the noodles are like thicker versions of udon, but flat, ribbon-like and looooong. It is served in a miso broth with many vegetables and meats, in a heavy steel pot. Nabeyaki style.

Naoko and her mom took me to a place in Yamanashi that specializes in houtou, called Kosaku.

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There are many varieties of houtou, including venison. Game is widely served in this part of the country.

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Plastic displays not for eating.

The interior of the restaurant was very homey, old-Japan style. Many people can sit around this table and admire the steel fish.

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I didn't really know what to expect, but one thing was certain: I better be hungry.

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I ordered the oyster houtou, as it was proudly hand-written as a seasonal special on the wall.

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However, as Yamanashi is a landlocked part of the country, I really should have gone for the meat variety. But the kabocha pumpkin was sweet and delicious.

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Here is the actual noodle. So thick! So long!

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The contents of this soup included sansai ("greens of the forest"), kabocha, shiitake, carrots, and even potatoes. Yamanashi's winters are harsh, so I imagine that this is the ultimate heart-warming, comfort food in this region. Especially with such a hearty miso broth, this was certainly a meal for lumberjacks and burly hunters. Ha. I kid. Actually, according to the Wiki page, houtou was considered the poor-man's food until restaurants such as Kosaku started popping up around town. I guess adding ingredients like oysters and gochujang is considered a montrosity to locals. Ain't modern life grand??

I bet houtou would be great first thing in the morning, before heading out for school or work, getting ready for the icy cold day ahead.

Burrrrrr. I love California. Time for some ice cold somen!

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2 comments

  • I’ve never had houtou although it reminds me a little of Nagoya’s misonikomi udon. But the houtou noodles are much thicker. And it looks very hearty!

    sakura on

  • I am a huge fan of houtou! You are bombarded by houtou if you take a trip to Yamanashi Prefecture.

    yoko on

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