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Friday, April 04, 2008
CLOSED/japanese: i strongly recommend TENPURA SANUKI UDON
TENPURA SANUKI UDON
16, Song Shou Rd, B1
hours:11:30 am- 9:30 pm
Kid friendliness: no high chairs, only booths/tables.
Visit reviewed: 2/29/2008 and 3/16/2008
In a city full of noodles everywhere, why would you choose to eat a bowl of udon? One of my favorite things to eat is a pile of cold udon noodles alongside hot crispy tempura shrimp and vegetables (or on a cold day, a bowl of udon with tempura) - sounds basic, but it can be made extremely well or disappointingly average- sort of like the barometer of the dishes overall at a Japanese restaurant.
I had seen signs for Tenpura Sanuki Udon at the Vieshow (aka formerly Warner Village) for awhile, but didn't make the effort to try it out until recently. Luckily, I did because it offers freshly made udon, served in an array of ways, that is wayyyy better than the average bowl you'd find in most food courts or even Japanese restaurants. It's on the side of the Vieshow Village building, in the alley between Neo 19 and Vieshow.
The menu is only in Chinese and Japanese, but there are plenty of pictures. They have cold and hot udons (NT$220-290) with various broths and options. If you can't make up your mind, you can try a sampler set with three small bowls of udon (NT$330) that features a cold noodle w/ egg, a udon soup with tempura shrimp and another udon soup with different broth. There's also various rice bowls and appetizers, salads and hot pot available.
The result of the freshly made udon is that the noodle is chewier or more QQ than your average noodle. I think there is even a viewing window upstairs (though I haven't seen them make it.) I personally like QQ, but the cold udon in the tenzaru could be too chewy for some.
The setting is stark and modern with lots of booths and tables in the basement floor. It's moderately busy during lunch and dinner and empties out during non-rush hours.
They serve a cold winter melon cube as a starter while your udon is "made to order" as the server explains.
The crab salad (NT$140) is quite refreshing too, with lots of corn, tomatoes and a japanese dressing.
The agedashi fried tofu (NT$100) is another option as a starter.
You can choose to order the tempura with a side of udon or get the udon pot. I personally like my tempura crispy and not soggy, like the tempura shrimp that comes in the soup in the pot. You also get fried vegetables like pumpkin, eggplant and shiitake mushroom with the non-pot option. The broth is also really flavorful yet light.
The meal ends with a small bowl of hot red bean soup- it's very sweet, so I can only have a few bites.
Tenpura Sanuki Udon is a great spot when you feel like a bowl of hot (or cold) noodles, or an alternative to the Western eateries in the Vieshow/Neo 19 area or foodcourt before you catch a movie. Before trying out this place, I actually trekked across town to find a good bowl of udon (based off a review my friend read) to be sorely disappointed by a soggy and sad bowl of udon that I couldn't even finish (to be reviewed).
BTW- if you ever want to learn more about udon making or see an amusing movie, you can look for a Japanese movie called UDON which I saw on a plane last year. It made me appreciate a good bowl of udon that much more and learn a little bit about Sanuki udon craze.