The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat udon. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What udon etiquette is

Udon etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat udon. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve udon to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat udon at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat udon

What you should know about udon

Udon is a type of thick, chewy Japanese noodle made from wheat flour, salt, and water.

Udon noodles are usually white, thick, and cylindrical, with a slightly bouncy texture when cooked. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with a variety of sauces and seasonings.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat udon

1) How to store udon

Store udon noodles in a cool and dry place. You can keep them in the pantry for several months if you seal them in an airtight container. However, you should keep them in the fridge after opening or if the weather is warm. In the fridge, they can last for up to a week. Udon noodles can also be frozen for up to three months.

Store cooked udon noodles in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.

2) How to clean udon

Udon noodles do not require cleaning. However, you might rinse them under cold water after cooking to remove excess starch. There are no significant risks associated with cleaning udon.

You can tell if udon noodles have turned bad if they have a sour or unpleasant smell, or if they have become slimy or discolored.

3) How to prepare & cook udon

Udon noodles should always be cooked before eating, either by boiling or stir-frying. They can be prepared using a pot and a colander, or a wok. Some popular ways to cook udon include stir-frying with vegetables and meat, serving in a hot broth with toppings like green onions and tempura, or serving cold with dipping sauce.

Udon noodles are vegan. However, they are not suitable for a keto or paleo diet. They do not typically cause allergies or food intolerances, but people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities should avoid udon noodles made with wheat flour. There are no religious dietary restrictions on eating udon noodles.

4) How to serve & present udon

Udon noodles can be appropriate for a variety of occasions, depending on how the preparation. You can serve them as a main course for lunch or dinner, as a side dish with a larger meal, or as an appetizer. They are not typical food for breakfast or as a snack.

Traditionally, it is best to serve udon noodles are served hot. Present them in a large bowl with a flavorful broth or sauce. You can serve them in a ceramic or porcelain bowl, and eat them with chopsticks or a fork and soup spoon.

Popular accompaniments include green onions, mushrooms, tofu, shrimp, and soy sauce.

5) Food and wine to pair udon with

Udon noodles pair well with a variety of flavors, including savory, salty, and slightly sweet. They often come with soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar. Some good vegetables to pair with udon noodles include spinach, bok choy, and bean sprouts. Fruits are not a typical pairing with udon noodles.

Udon noodles do not typically pair well with cheese or dairy, as the flavors and textures are quite different. They pair well with a variety of meats, including beef, chicken, and pork. They are also common with fish, such as shrimp or salmon.

The best wine or beverage pairing depends on the toppings and ingredients served with udon. In general, udon pairs well with light-bodied and aromatic white wines, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. For red wine, a light-bodied and fruity red like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais can complement udon. Avoid heavy and tannic red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah as they may overpower the delicate flavors of udon. Udon goes well also with Rosé wine, sparkling wine, beer, or sake.

6) How to eat udon

The most polite way to eat udon is to use chopsticks and a soup spoon. It is not polite to eat udon with your fingers. When eating udon, you should slurp the noodles to show appreciation and enjoy the flavors. It is polite to eat the whole udon, including the broth and any toppings served with it.

Udon etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common udon etiquette mistakes:

  • 7/10. Using your fingers to eat udon.
  • 7/10. Not using chopsticks and a soup spoon.
  • 6/10. Leaving food on your plate.
  • 5/10. Not slurping the noodles.

Additional information for properly serving udon

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

The number of calories in udon can vary depending on the serving size and toppings. A single serving of plain udon noodles (100g) contains around 138 calories.

How to buy the best udon

A crucial factor in udon etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Udon is available all year round. You can find them in most Asian grocery stores and some general supermarkets. However, some varieties may be more readily available during certain seasons.

Choose the best

Udon can be found in various forms in commerce, including fresh, frozen, dried, and canned. Fresh udon is usually found in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores, while dried and frozen udon can be found in the noodle or frozen food section. Canned udon is also available in some specialty stores.

Some popular varieties of udon in commerce include Sanuki Udon, Inaniwa Udon, and Kishimen. Sanuki Udon from Kagawa prefecture is considered the most prized and is known for its firm and chewy texture.

When buying udon, look for noodles that are firm, smooth, and uniform in shape and size. Avoid noodles that are discolored, have a strong odor, or are sticky. Fresh udon should have a shiny appearance and a springy texture, while dried udon should be brittle and have a smooth surface.

Alternatives to udon

Some common alternatives to udon include soba, ramen, somen, and rice noodles. These noodles have different textures and flavors, but can be used in similar dishes to udon.


  • What Matters to Japanese Udon Noodle Tourists? A Phenomenological Approach: