In Shinsaibashi, Osaka, there is a restaurant called Kawafuku Honten, which claims to be the “birthplace of Zaru Udon,” or handmade udon in the Kawafuku style. Founded in 1968, it has a history of more than 50 years, and along with the Chitose Head Shop in Namba, it would be no exaggeration to say that this store has been preserving Osaka’s udon culture since before the Sanuki udon boom began in Osaka.
What does the original colander udon at such a restaurant taste like? I had been curious about it for a long time, and one afternoon when I had a chance to drop by Shinsaibashi, I visited the restaurant. But what I didn’t know at the time was that I was actually mistaken…
Although it calls itself “Honten,” the real Honten is actually located in Takamatsu… Kawafuku Teuchi Udon Kawafuku Honten is like this.
Actually, this Kawafuku-style Teuchi Udon Kawafuku Honten calls itself “Honten,” but it is not the first store. The history of this store can be traced back to 1950, when Futatadao Takekawa, who was considered one of the best udon makers in Takamatsu, founded Kawafuku on “Lion Street” in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. His son became independent and opened Kawafuku Udon Kawafuku Honten in Shinsaibashi, which is the Kawafuku-style handmade udon restaurant introduced in this article.
I noticed this fact while surfing the Internet when I started writing this article. So Kawafuku’s udon is Sanuki udon… No, I don’t have a problem with Sanuki udon per se, but I was a little disappointed that it was not “Osaka’s udon.
The kitchen and 8 counter seats are located on the first floor, but it does not look like there are 100 seats on the third floor. When I was leaving the restaurant, a customer with a small child came in with a baby stroller. I was under the impression that there was no place to put the stroller. However, the customer seemed to accept the stroller easily, so I think it can be said that the restaurant is OK for customers with children.
By the way, if you look up from the counter on the first floor, you can see autographs of many famous people, including one of the former prime ministers. I was a little surprised to know that such a person also visited the restaurant.
Kawafuku-style Teuchi Udon: The Original Zaru Udon at Kawafuku’s Udon Restaurant…How does it taste?
Let me introduce you to the original Zaru Udon (Zaru Udon) at Kawafuku’s main branch (price: 840 yen (tax included)). After about 5 minutes of waiting, the zaru udon appeared in front of you…
It’s as simple as it gets. You can feel a kind of innocence that you don’t find in udon noodles these days, which are decorated with toppings. It is a kind of “udon taste alone is all that matters! That’s what it’s all about. But that is how they have been able to survive for more than 50 years in Osaka, where competition is fierce, and that alone is a testament to the greatness of this restaurant.
Now, let’s try the udon… Surprisingly, this udon is more of a flat noodle type. It has a certain thickness, but it does not have the “extra-thick!, but rather, in shape alone, it is similar to the noodles of “Odoru Udon“. If this is the prototype of Sanuki udon, how did Sanuki udon change to the extra-thick noodles we have today? The shape is so different between Kawafuku’s udon and the recent Sanuki udon that it makes you wonder in this way.
When you dip the udon halfway into the broth and slurp it up… the thickness and shape of the udon is uneven, giving it a perfect handmade feel. The noodles are both moderately firm and chunky, and when you bite into them, the aroma of wheat wafts into your nose. The broth, on the other hand, is Kanto style with a very dark soy sauce color to the eye. It was quite sweet in flavor, and to be honest, I could hardly feel the soup stock… However, I was very happy that the soup stock was perfectly chilled during the still hot season.
And compared to typical Sanuki Udon, the noodles are cut thinner, which makes them feel very pleasant to slurp through. The slipperiness of the udon is a world apart from the recent Sanuki Udon. It is so smooth and silky.
I will remember this Kawafuku’s Zaru Udon again in summer… It will be one of my summer favorites to replace Soumen. Soumen is fine when you are feeling a bit of a summer fatigue, but it doesn’t fill you up very well. In that sense, Kawafuku’s zaru udon is better suited for me because it fills me up. However, to be honest, I would like the soup stock to be a little stronger. I would be happier if I could feel the aroma of dashi broth wafting into my nose after the udon goes down my throat…
Examples of other menu items at Kawafuku’s main branch of Kawafuku-style hand-rolled udon (prices include tax)
- Kitsune (fried vegetables): 770 yen
- Ankake (fried bean curd) 920 yen
- Mochi-tamago (glutinous rice cake) 950 yen
- Careru – 1170 yen
- Nabeyaki: 1,690 yen
- Tempura 1490 yen
- Tempura zaru 1690 yen
There are also branches in Minoh, Nakayama-dera, and Sendai… To get to Kawafuku’s main branch, a 4-minute walk from Shinsaibashi Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line, the nearest station.
In addition to the Shinsaibashi store, Kawafuku-style Teuchi Udon Kawafuku Honten is currently operating four other branches: Minoh, Nakayamadera, and Sendai. In these areas, customers can enjoy the taste of udon handed down from the masters of Sanuki udon. It is said that Kawafuku is also the root of “Udonbou“, which has also become a popular restaurant in Takamatsu and Osaka. If you want to experience the taste of such a legendary Sanuki udon store, please visit a nearby store.
Now, here are the details of the store. Check here for store data…
Address: 1-14-17 Higashi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 542-0083
Phone number: 06-6241-9125
Business hours: 11:30-14:30, 18:00-22:00 LO (open from 17:30 on Saturday and Sunday evenings)
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays (irregular holidays)
Parking: No parking space
Credit card payment: Accepted
t is a 6-minute walk from Nagahoribashi Station on the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji Line.
P.S. If you are looking for delicious udon in Osaka, please stop by this article…