Viet Nam News
Tamoya Udon serves homemade udon and soup dishes that originate from Sanuki in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture. Phương Mai samples the fare in downtown HCM City.
To lovers of Japanese cuisine, like my brother and me, Oedo Alley Japanese Food Village, located on the fifth floor of the sparkling new Takashimaya Centre, was a veritable paradise.
We were spoiled for choice and didn’t want to leave.
The “village” is home to six restaurants offering different specialities: udon, ramen, sushi, sashimi and more.
Stepping inside under the Japanese-style entrance, I was pleasantly surprised. The interior reminded me of traditional restaurants with wooden counters, curtains and lanterns which I had seen in Japanese movies.
My brother and I were warmly welcomed by receptionists in kimonos who introduced us to the restaurants and their different offerings.
After a brief discussion, we chose Tamoya Udon, which was first established in Kagawa in 1996 by Sanuki udon champion Tamotsu. It has outlets across Japan and in other Asian countries.
The restaurant serves udon with or without broth in normal or big bowls, priced from VNĐ29,000 – 89,000 (US$1.3-4).
There are 12 kinds of udon with seafood, beef or pork, as well as rice dishes with beef or pork from VNĐ55,000 – 69,000 ($2.5-3) and tempura starting from VNĐ8,000.
I wanted something spicy so I chose udon with pork and chili sauce at VNĐ65,000 ($3). My brother, who prefers fatty tastes, ordered curry udon at VNĐ59,000 (nearly $3).
We hurried and picked up our trays at the counter and told the chefs which udon dish we wanted. They recommended the big portions, which only cost an additional VNĐ14,000 ($0.6).
When the dishes arrived, we were a bit starstruck. The colours were dazzling and the fragrance had us licking our lips. And the bowls were so big! With lots of meat and noodles.
My spicy pork udon was a colourful medley of white fresh udon, light brown stir-fried pork and red chili sauce.
Satisfying: Curry udon with Japanese curry sauce and shredded beef. VNS Photo Phương Mai
The secret of my dish was homemade dashi broth, a class of soup and cooking stock used in Japanese cuisine. The broth was sweet and moreish, while the udon and pork were tender. And the chili sauce was not too spicy.
However, the bowl was too big for me. I asked for help from my brother, who gladly obliged.
My brother’s bowl had the distinctive brown colour of Japanese curry. White noodles and shredded beef were submerged in the sauce made with vegetables and meat.
After all of that, we were so full we couldn’t even sample the tempura. So we skipped it for next time.
I ordered two glasses of peach tea (VNĐ39,000 ($1.75) each), a favourite drink among young Vietnamese, to end our big meal.
On our next trip to Takashimaya, now one of the most popular shopping centres in downtown HCM City, we will head back to the Oedo Alley Japanese Food Village and try ramen or sushi. Something tells me we will not be disappointed. VNS
Restaurant: Tamoya Udon
Address: L5-09, Oedo Alley Japanese Food Village, 65 Lê Lợi St, District 1, HCM City.
Tel: (08) 38218869
Hours: 10 am – 10:45 pm
Comment: Affordable prices, delicious soup broth, big portions