Known for its superior, handmade udon noodles, this eatery takes its name both from the Akita prefecture village (Inaniwa) where the noodle recipe comes from and the local family (Yosuke) that preserved the recipe for centuries. It is said to have been developed back in 1665 and for a long time was for the exclusive use of the imperial family. In 1860 it became available to the public, and since 2016, Singaporeans can enjoy it at Japan Food Town. Every part of the process is handmade, and it takes four days to finish a batch. The flagship store in Singapore imports its udon directly from the Inaniwa factory, and the clientele here is a mix of Japanese expats and Singaporeans, fans of the restaurant’s thinner and smoother variation.
Takahashi, also known as Taka, started his first job in the kitchen as a part-timer when he was in high school. He assisted the chef in a Tokyo restaurant, helping prepare Western dishes such as pasta, burgers and steaks. His mother encouraged him to pursue cooking further by taking classes. Though initially keen on learning Italian cooking, he studied French culinary techniques in Tokyo for a year. He went on to work at various restaurants for a decade until a friend recommended him for the job at Inaniwa Udon. He jumped at the opportunity, and underwent training in Tokyo for a year before moving to Singapore.
This dish is part of an exclusive collaboration with Japan Food Town’s popular ramen restaurant Machida Shoten. The Inaniwa noodles are accompanied by a hot tonkotsu dipping sauce, which also has a hint of fresh yuzu. The dish is served with a side of tender stewed Hokkaido beef and shoyu tamago.
This layered omelet is a classic, presented without many frills in order to retain its simple authenticity. Influenced by the Kanto region, the tamago is made a little sweeter, with a dash of sugar and dashi. The eggs used are local, and fresh enough to eat raw.
In this hearty set, the udon is served two ways—chilled and in a hot dashi—and is served with a side of tempura, two dipping sauces—soy sauce with wasabi, and sesame tare with ginger—and dessert. It may appear simple, but has been meticulously executed: in-house sauces, a secret-recipe dashi, vegetables imported from the Ibaraki prefecture. The set is technically for one, but can easily be shared by two.