Waking up to the light of the morning sun and the aroma of dashi broth, and having breakfast in front of you just as you wash your face… I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this is the ideal way to start the day. Unfortunately, the earlier you get up, the less ideal your mornings are… and you end up stopping at a convenience store on the way to work to fill up quickly.
If your workplace is in Kyoto, however, you can break out of this morning routine. There is an udon shop in Kyoto that is open as early as 4 a.m….
Hayaokitei｜The secret is the high quality underground water flowing from Higashiyama, Kyoto… Mochimochi Udon noodles directly connected to the noodle factory and available early in the morning every day.
Hayaokitei Udon is located on the first floor of an apartment building along Reisen Dori. Originally a noodle factory called Taniguchi Mensho, they wholesale their noodles to nearby udon shops while also serving udon noodles made from them from early in the morning. Especially after 7:00 a.m., when the kama-age process ends each morning, you can enjoy Hayaokitei’s unique “ginjo udon,” made with a special process using only the core of the wheat.
Hayaokitei uses limpid underground water pumped up from 70 meters below the ground for their udon noodles and broth. This underground water is said to be suitable for making udon…Indeed, if you say so, there are many famous udon restaurants nearby, such as Yamamoto Menzou, Okakita, and Niomon Uneno, all of which are representative of Kyoto. One of the secrets was this underground water…
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the menu. The basic menu item at Hayaokitei Udon is “Oka-chan no Udon (udon with egg),” which is udon with beaten egg added. This is a memorable food that her mother, who was busy with work, made for her when her husband was preparing for the junior high school entrance exam. It is the most popular item at Hayaokitei, and the price is a surprising 400 yen per bowl! The other dishes on the menu are also quite reasonable compared to other restaurants in the area, and the pricing fully takes advantage of the strength of being directly operated by a noodle factory. This is what we mean when we say, “Early bird gets the worm.
Examples of the menu at Hayaokitei Udon (some cold dishes are available)
- Kitsune Udon: 500 yen
- Tempura Udon: 500 yen
- Shippo Udon: 500 yen
- Chinese Soba Noodle 500 yen
- Curry Udon (with a small bowl of rice) 600 yen
- Oke udon (up to 3 balls) 700 yen
- Nishin soba: 700 yen
Okachan’s Udon (with egg): Sweet broth and the aroma of freshly made wheat…a dish you will want to eat during the cold winter months!
First, I ordered “Okachan’s Udon” from the basic menu. There is no waiter on the floor, so you order by calling out at the small serving counter in the back of the restaurant. The system is such that both receipt of food and payment are done through this delivery entrance….
And when the udon is ready, it is served like this…
The udon noodles with tamago (egg) from Hayaokitei looks like it has a gentle flavor. As the image fully conveys, it had a very gentle dashi broth taste with a hint of sweetness. The udon broth is elegant and warm, as if it will slowly wake you up from your morning slumber… The addition of the beaten egg doubles the tenderness of the broth.
The noodles, on the other hand, are not as firm as Sanuki udon, but soft and tender. Although the noodles are thin, they have a strong wheat aroma, and you can enjoy the flavor that only freshly made noodles can provide.
I would love to try this udon on a winter morning when it is still dark outside…. The setting of the restaurant will surely make you feel as if you are eating warm and comforting udon at a food stand.
Cold Curry Udon｜Don’t underestimate it…mild at first, then gradually followed by spiciness!
You can order cold udon as well, although it is not available on all menus at this restaurant. The last time I had udon with egg, I saw a sign for “Cold Curry Udon (500 yen),” and this caught my attention, so I revisited Hayaki-tei a week later. I decided to have “Morning Curry Udon” instead of morning curry on a hot summer morning…
When I went to pick up my udon at the serving counter, I was a little surprised. Tomatoes, lettuce, chashu pork, and a tube of mayonnaise (hot spicy mayonnaise) were spread all over the bowl… As you can see in the picture, it is not “curry udon” but more like “salad udon”. Of course, there is curry udon underneath…
After shoveling out these ingredients, we first take a sip of the udon broth. It looks slightly whitish and is mildly flavored rather than spicy. I thought it was a curry udon that could be eaten gently…but the spiciness slowly followed. You can never be too careful. The broth is quite spicy. If you don’t like spicy food, please be careful.
And the ginjo udon noodles are fully covered with curry broth. The noodles are made cold, which makes them stickier by several degrees. The texture is different from that of Sanuki udon…you can fully enjoy the charm of Kyoto udon.
Cold Oke udon｜For those who want to start the morning with a hearty bowl of ginjo udon…
My third visit to Hayaokitei came about 10 days after I had the cold curry udon. Let’s start an exciting morning with a bowl of cold curry udon! Unfortunately, however, we were told that the soup was no longer available for the cold curry udon. Maybe it was a seasonal menu item…
So instead, I ordered the “chilled Oke Udon,” which allows you to have up to 3 balls of udon for the same price. I was quite hungry and decided to start my work with a good meal…
Three balls of udon noodles in a towering vat, with shrimp tempura, fish cake, deep-fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and other garnishes for 700 yen. It is a very good value in terms of cost.
The broth is a thick, sweet soy sauce broth. The water in the vat dilutes it to just the right thickness. Part of the broth is frozen so that the udon can stay cold for a long time.
The stickiness of the ginjo udon is as good as ever, and eating three balls of udon in the morning will surely satisfy both your stomach and your mind. Anyway, this menu is recommended for those who want to eat with gusto in the morning.
No matter how early in the morning you wake up, you can eat whenever you like… To get to Hayaokitei Udon, a 9-minute walk from the nearest station, Jingu-Marutamachi Station on the Keihan Electric Railway line.
Now, here are the details of the restaurant. Here is the restaurant data…
Address: 9 Rengezo-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: 050-5593-6848
Business hours: 4:00-13:00
Closed: Open every day
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (cash only)
The restaurant closes at lunch time for opening early in the morning. Please be careful when visiting Hayaokitei…
P.S. If you are looking for delicious udon in Kyoto, please stop by this article…