Nabeyaki-udon is a type of dish which is made by using udon (Japanese wheat noodles). It is also called "nabeyaki."
Although it is called 'yaki' (stir-frying), it is completely different from the so-called yaki udon noodles (stir-fried udon noodles) and is actually in the category of hot pot. Broth flavored with soy sauce and udon noodles is cooked in an individual-sized, small earthenware pot or iron pan, with shiitake mushroom, kamaboko (fish minced and steamed), vegetables such as carrots and onions, shrimp tempura, raw egg, fu (breadlike pieces of wheat gluten), and other ingredients are placed on top. It is served while still simmering, and people eat it directly from the pot. Various ingredients are used; egg may be replaced with datemaki (a rolled omelet mixed with fish paste), and minced fish and kamaboko may be added in some restaurants.
A product consisting of a set of noodles, broth, and ingredients packed together in a disposable aluminum pan is also available. In recent years, products that can be cooked on electromagnetic cookers have also appeared.
While it is a regular item on menus at soba noodle restaurants and udon noodle restaurants, it is rarely served at stand-up stalls because cooking it takes time and effort. Furthermore, most restaurants serve it only during the winter season.
Nabeyaki-udon in Matsuyama
In Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, nabeyaki-udon is served in many restaurants. In addition to the two long-established restaurants located downtown, restaurants in various locations of the city serve nabeyaki-udon. Characteristics that are common to these restaurants include an aluminum pan (not the disposable types available as commercial products, but a small pan for cooking), soft noodles, and rather sweet broth. According to a survey conducted by a local magazine in the autumn of 2006, nabeyaki-udon was listed on menus at over 120 restaurants that serve udon noodles. Another characteristic is that many such restaurants serve nabeyaki-udon throughout the year.