Summit Venue 01 Perfect dashi broth—the heart and soul of “Naniwa udon”
Udon is the perfect combination of a delicious dashi (made from kelp and tiny fish) and soft, chewy noodles which slide easily down. Each region in Japan has its own variation on udon, but Osaka’s quintessential version achieves an exquisite balance of dashi, noodles, and toppings. Among the trio of components, though, it is dashi which enjoys center stage.
The Kanto region relies on katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings) to create dashi. In Kansai, however, the key combination is konbu (dried kelp) plus niboshi (small dried fish such as mackerel and sardine). The finishing touch to a fragrant Kansai dashi is achieved by adding usukuchi (light) soy sauce. A variety of toppings may be chosen to accentuate the dashi to perfection. Perhaps the most popular is kitsune udon, said to be Osaka’s very own creation. The noodles are topped by a thin block of deep-fried age tofu which has been simmered in a sweet and salty sauce.
Osaka has long prospered through trade and distribution, and its delicious udon food culture enjoys a similar history tracing back over 400 years. Today, the region preserves this treasured cuisine, even as artisans express fresh interpretations through creative originality.