Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tokyo Mentsu-dan

Atsukake Udon (small), originally uploaded by Camemberu.

OMG I'm in Shinjuku! OK, I won't go into great details about my gruelling trip (it's not easy travelling with a baby!) and how wonderful the Japanese have been. Straight to food! Ah now I can add a label that says ~Japan!

We had no energy to wander too far, so we hit up Mentsu-dan, which is just down the street from our hotel. This charming and casual eatery calls itself the Sanuki Udon ambassador, and truly deserves that title. We already knew this place from a previous visit. This shop has made me a convert - I previously hated udon (I mean, what could be more uninteresting than fat threads of bland wheat flour noodles?) but here, udon is an epiphany. Springy, chewy and unusually umami, it has character and carries well whatever soup it's in.

They have so many types to choose from. I went for the regular hot broth udon - atsukake (small bowl, 290 yen) - and gave it an ebi tempura and a kakiage that seems to comprise spinach and small anchovies. Oh my god, the udon was so delicious, I was telling myself I could eat this every day!!

Hubby went for their new promotion - cheese-egg udon! I was a little skeptical but once I tasted it, oh my the Japanese can take something so simple and make it so tasty! The richness of this contrasted with my soup udon but both were incredibly delicious in their own way. "Work of art!" proclaims hubby.

Here's a shot of part of the items you can add to your udon. From all kinds of tempura to rice balls to kakuni (stewed pork), beancurd products and oden. All really cheap from 100 yen onwards.

Fried Goodies and A Rice Ball, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

I couldn't resist going for a second round of the toppings and side dishes. I had a piece of chicken tempura (very well marinated), pumpkin tempura (delicious when piping hot), chikuwa tempura (a long, hollow circular fishcake). Plus a pork croquette and shrimp rice ball. All 100 yen each.

P.S. Nadine ate the udon and pumpkin - she who normally spits everything out, ate every piece I gave her and wanted more! Stamp of approval from super-fussy eater - that's gotta say something (at least in my books!). Ah sigh, I so want to go back and eat more...never mind all the other "to-eat" targets on my list!

UPDATE: OK, someone asked for directions, so here's a Google map. Basically, from Shinjuku station, exit on the West side and head north. Keep going after the huge crossing and you will soon see a 7-Eleven, Pepper Lunch and Sukiya on the left side of the road. Turn left there - the road forks into two though, so take the upper one - and Mentsu-dan is just a few shops down from there. Check out the official website too (link below) for a location map, if you'd like.

View Larger Map

Nishi-Shinjuku, 7-9-15 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5389-1077



  1. it looks great?

    can you kindly give me some kind of direction to this place. I will be going next month!

  2. Hi anon, I've put a map and some directions on the post itself now. Hope this helps!

  3. thanks for the trouble!
    so sweet of you!


  4. All your pictures look so delicious, now slowly reading through all the post. High tech man, blog while travelling. hahaha

    The trip was very fun i guess? Hope next time can go Japan too : )

  5. Hey, I'll be going Japan next mth with a baby in tow too...

    checking out your blog on good food places to try out there.

    Really like your food blog! :)

  6. Hi Mexxgal! Oh you will love the food in Tokyo, I'm sure! But it is tiring with baby, I must say. But the food, oh the food will make up for it!


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