When I visited Toyonaka Mentetsu, a popular ramen restaurant in Toyonaka, I found a line of people waiting in line at the restaurant next door. That restaurant is the Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya, the Sanuki udon specialty restaurant I will introduce here. I was not in the mood to eat ramen and consecutive meals that day, so I decided to visit again at a later date, had some ramen, and left…
I was quite surprised to know that there was a Sanuki Udon specialty restaurant in Toyonaka with a long line of customers. Unfortunately, I had no plans to go to Toyonaka for a while after that, but when I had to go to Toyonaka for the first time in a while the other day, the existence of this restaurant came to my mind first, and I decided to visit the restaurant around the opening time in the evening after finishing my business. Well…
Awarded twice as one of the 100 best Udon restaurants in the “Udon West” section of the “Tabelog”… Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya is such a restaurant!
I visited the Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya Restaurant at around 5:55 p.m., just before the restaurant opened for the evening. I had seen the line before, and I thought, “Oh no, I’m too late…”! I got off the Hankyu Toyonaka station a little impatiently, but when I actually went to the front of the store, there was no one in the store, and I got the pole position.
Maybe it was just a coincidence, or maybe it was because it was still early for dinner, but it didn’t seem that crowded until I finished my udon and left the restaurant. This is a popular restaurant that has won the “100 Best Udon Restaurants in the west” award twice (as of July 2023)…perhaps early evening is a good time to visit.
The space inside the restaurant is about the size of a typical ramen shop, with nine L-shaped counters surrounding the kitchen. The owner and a young part-timer were running such a cozy store. The owner and a young part-timer were running the restaurant. The owner had trained at popular restaurants such as “Sanukiya Masajiro” in Yatsuo and “Handmade Sanuki Udon Sanzu” in Kawanishi. Although he seemed a bit kowamote, I can say without a doubt that he is a skilled udon chef.
Pork Belly in Grain Juice Tsukemen: Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya’s most popular menu item, how was it when I actually tried it?
This time, I ordered the most popular menu item at Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya: Pork Belly in Grain Juice Tsukemen (price: 830 yen including tax). The tsukemen menu offers a choice of hot or cold udon noodles, but this time I ordered it cold.
After about 10 minutes of waiting after ordering, the udon noodles arrived in front of me. Udon noodles neatly folded in a basket and soy sauce-colored dipping sauce with meat fat floating in it…it looks like it would be a very rich eating experience, doesn’t it? However, I actually ordered the dipping sauce expecting it to be cold, but it came out warm. It is what is called “hiyaatsu”, meaning cold noodle and hot soup. It’s OK, but I wish they would have indicated this on the menu so that there would be no misunderstanding…
Aside from that, let’s first try the noodles without dipping them in the dipping sauce… Compared to ordinary Sanuki udon, the noodles are slightly thinner and the surface is lightly coarse. When you bite into it, the surface is soft and chewy, but the core is firm, like pasta al dente. I was a bit surprised to learn that fresh noodles can be cooked to such a degree of doneness! I was a little surprised.
The dipping sauce is made from Ibuki Iriko (dried sardines), like Sanuki Udon, but the taste is much thicker than I imagined, and the soy sauce far exceeds the broth. Even with the pork juices and ground sesame sprinkled on the surface of the broth, the soy sauce was still dominant, giving the impression that it was similar to the broth used in udon noodles served in the Kanto region.
I dipped the noodles in the broth and slurped it up… the soy sauce flavor still prevailed even with the addition of wheat. The rough surface of the noodle may have the opposite effect, as it absorbs the dipping sauce well. Personally, I found the soy sauce flavor of the dipping sauce to be a bit salty. I wonder if this is a blurring of flavors? If I were to interpret it positively, it could be that the taste is daringly strong like the thick tsukemen that is popular in the ramen world…well, I don’t know the truth of the matter.
In such a dipping sauce, there is quite a large amount of pork, chopped green onions, and fried tofu, as shown here. This is quite a bargain. I think it could be a side dish by itself, or if you put a poached egg in it, it would be like a meat sucking dish from Chitose... There is a topping of hot egg (price 120 yen including tax), so I might try it next time I have a chance to eat it…
By the way, the only seasoning on the table is shichimi (seven spice). It would be nice if you could add tenkasu or ground sesame seeds to dilute the flavor of the dipping sauce… So, this pork belly gravy tsukemen has a strong overall flavor, so be careful before ordering there. Like the thick tsukemen of the ramen world, we recommend that you adjust the flavor to your liking without dousing the noodles in the dipping sauce.
Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya’s other menu items (prices include tax)
- Kake udon: 530 yen
- Chikuten kake udon 680 yen
- Chokuten kake udon 750 yen
- Udon noodles with meat over rice 830 yen
- Udon with hot egg curry and dipping sauce 900 yen
- Chikuten udon with hot chikuten and egg curry (with small bowl of rice) 990 yen
- Curry udon with chikuten and hot chikoten (with small bowl of rice) 990 yen
The perfect place to lightly fill your stomach on your way home from work… Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya is a 6-minute walk from the nearest station, Toyonaka Station on the Hankyu Railway Takarazuka Line.
Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya is a little bit difficult to visit with small children…but I think it is a great place for businessmen to fill their stomachs on their way home. It is a little pricier than the udon restaurants at the station, but it is about the same price as Udon Kyutaro in the business district of Honmachi, and if you consider that the noodles are upgraded to Sanuki Udon, it is perfectly acceptable.
Udon is not too hard on the stomach, so you can have a good dinner with your family when you get home. Also, if you decide to finish dinner here, you can add toppings and sides to complete your meal here… When you think about it, a Sanuki udon specialty restaurant near a station is quite convenient. I hope that more Sanuki Udon restaurants in front of train stations will spread in the Kansai region, just as Onyanma is expanding its branches in Tokyo… Aside from that, if you use Toyonaka Station for commuting, please stop by the restaurant if you haven’t used it yet.
Now, here are the details of the store. Restaurant data is here…
Soratobu Udon Yamabukiya Out of 5.
Address: 2-2-5 Okagami-cho, Toyonaka-shi, Osaka 560-0023
Phone number: 06-7164-2974
Business hours: 11:30-14:30, 18:00-21:00
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (cash only)
P.S. If you are looking for delicious udon in Osaka, please stop by this article…