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Image Source : Agricultural Management Division, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Kagawa Prefecture
- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Udon noodles, daikon radish, carrots, tofu, deep-fried tofu, green onions
- History/origin/related events
In Kagawa Prefecture, "shiko-udon" is a dish made by simmering several kinds of vegetables and abura-age (fried bean curd), which are harvested in the fall and winter, in a soup stock made from simmered dried fish, and pouring it over boiled udon noodles with other ingredients. It is a typical winter dish that takes advantage of local seasonal vegetables in addition to the firmness and smooth texture characteristic of Sanuki udon.
Udon production flourished in Kagawa Prefecture because of its mild climate with little rainfall, which was ideal for growing high-quality wheat suitable for udon. The Seto Inland Sea, centering on Ibukijima Island, famous for its "Ibuki Iriko" (dried sardines), is rich in anchovies, which are used to make dried sardines. The area has shallow waters and many sandy beaches, making salt production flourish, and soy sauce made from the salt is produced on Shodoshima and other islands. Udon restaurants are depicted in "Kinpira Matsuri Zu Byobu" painted in the Edo period, which suggests that udon was already widespread during this period.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
From fall to winter, when winter vegetables are available, udon is served at home as a cold winter meal or for meals for guests. In restaurants, it is often served as a seasonal menu item. At the end of the year, it is sometimes eaten in place of New Year's Eve soba.
- How to eat
Seasonal vegetables such as daikon radish and carrots are simmered at once with dried soup stock, and the soup is poured over the top of boiled udon noodles with all the ingredients and served. There are so many ingredients that this alone constitutes a meal. It is even tastier if you add thinly sliced spring onions and grated ginger as condiments. Dashi broth is often made from niboshi (dried sardines), but it can also be made from bonito or kelp, or from other ingredients of your choice such as taro or shiitake mushrooms, depending on the household or restaurant. Chicken and pork are also often added to give the soup a strong flavor.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In Kagawa Prefecture, it used to be customary to make udon by hand on "Hare (special) occasions" such as New Year's Day, festivals, and when entertaining guests. Today, there are many restaurants throughout the prefecture that serve udon, and tourists from outside the prefecture visit the prefecture in search of the famous "Sanuki Udon".
In the past, there was a time when the quality of wheat produced in the prefecture tended to decline due to the increase in wheat imports, but the prefecture is working to improve its own "Sanuki no Yume" wheat variety in order to ensure a stable supply of wheat and to pass on its flavor. In addition, efforts are being made to pass on the art of making handmade udon noodles to elementary school students and other community groups from udon making experts.