Translated by Allie
Eat Udon Noodles From A Kettle? Zubora Udon At Hakata Akachokobe
Hakata Akachokobe in Hakata, Fukuoka is an udon noodle restaurant that has a completely unique method of serving their amazing homemade "zubora" udon noodles.
Written by Norihisa Hasegawa
Do you know any famous foods from Hakata in Fukuoka prefecture? Most of the people might think of tonkotsu rāmen as there is a well-known restaurant, Ichiran that serves this dish. There are a lot of delicious rāmen restaurants in Fukuoka but this time we would like to introduce to you another famous dish in Hakata: udon noodles. It is said that the first place where udon noodles were brought to Japan from China was Hakata.
Out of the many udon noodle restaurants in Hakata, we will introduce one outstanding and unique local dish called kamaage zubora udon served at Hakata Akachokobe.
*1 Kamaage udon: udon noodles that have been boiled then are served in the boiling water or kettle that they were prepared in. Kamaage zubora udon is an arranged dish of kamaage udon.
You can eat kamaage zubora udon at Hakata Akachokobe located close to Kushida Shrine dedicated to Hakata's protective god.
The name of the store, Akachokobe is the Hakata dialect verison of Akanbē (*2) in standard Japanese. At Kushida shrine there is a relief carving of the wind god Fūjin making this expression (right side of above photo), which inspired the name of this shop. If you visit Kushida shrine, please try to spot it.
*2 Akanbē: a Japanese facial gesture used to tease others where one lower eyelid is pulled down while the tongue is stuck out.
Once you enter the store, you will see a lot of kettles hanging up. If you have been to other traditional shops in Japan, you might have spotted this type of kettle at restaurants, as it is usually used to serve tea.
As is the case elsewhere in the world, kettles are usually used to boil water in Japan. But here at Akachokobe, they use these kettles in a slightly different way.
Recommended Dishes with Fastidiously Homemade Noodles
Hakata Akachokobe has their own recipe for preparing udon noodles; wheat germ is added to the udon dough, giving them a light brown color compared to standard udon noodles. These noodles are also thinner and have a soft, sticky texture rather than the typical chewiness of Sanuki udon.
Out of many unique dishes they offer, we will introduce two popular dishes among people who visit Akachokobe for the first time.
1. Kamaage Zubora Udon
Kamaage zubora udon (660 yen) is served in a kettle like in the picture above.
Zubora when translated is used to describe an action that is slovenly or lazily done. Serving a dish in a kettle without moving it onto a proper plate is lazy, isn't it? So this serving style brought about the name of this dish.
You scoop the noodles directly out of the kettle with your chopsticks then dip them into the soup that comes with the noodles.
This method of serving the udon noodles is already quite outstanding. But the soup is also unique: it has dried bonito flakes, sliced green onions as well as nattō (fermented soybeans) in it.
The sticky nattō really helps the thin noodles capture the soup. Because of green onions, the aftertaste is refreshing. So even if you don't like the taste and smell of nattō, we still recommend giving this dish a try.
2. Ganso Keema Curry Udon
The picture above is the Ganso keema curry udon (720 yen). There are three ways of enjoying this dish at once.
First, you should mix the udon noodles with the thick curry which has a lot of minced meat in it. The smell of the dried bonito flakes and curry will definitely boost your appetite. Its spices and the delicious taste of the meat will linger on your tongue.
After trying it the standard way, next try adding some of their homemade sakura shrimp tempura crumbs, known as age-dama to these noodles. The crunchy texture and richness of the shrimp and tempura batter completely change the taste of these curry noodles.
The last way to enjoy this curry udon is to pour hot soup over the noodles. The well-flavored soup makes the curry milder and changes the overall flavor of the dish to a more Japanese one. With three different ways to enjoy these noodles, you won't find yourself getting bored by the meal at all.
Particular and Passionate about their food
Akachokobe is also found in a Korean guide book, "Fukuoka e ikō (Let's go to Fukuoka)"
Hakata Akachokobe is loved by not only Japanese people but also people from other countries. It is advertised as a unique udon store in travel guides in both South Korea and Taiwan. Their unique dishes have really caught the hearts' of many people around the world.
We think that their most attractive point is their attention to detail and passion for making the best udon noodles possible. Through a lot of trial and error they came up with their own formula for completely unique udon noodles and even went so far as to order their dashi (soup stock) from Kyotoin order to have the best tasting dishes around.
Why don't you try these passionately made udon noodles at Hakata Akachokobe when you visit Hakata?
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Reisenmachi 7-10
Hours:【Udon noodle】11:00-15:00,【Izakaya】18:00-24:00(Last entry 23:00 Last order 23:30) Sunday 11:30-18:00
Credit cards: Accepted
Other Languages: English
Menu in Other Languages: Available
Most accessible station: Gion Station (祇園駅) Fukuoka city Subway
Access: 6 minute walk from Gion Station
Price Range: Ganzo keema curry udon noodle (720 yen) Kamaage zubora udon noodle (660 yen)
Phone number: +81-92-271-0102
Official Website: Hakata Akachokobe (Japanese only)