Yoshida no Udon, “Firm” food culture created from the natural environment, climate and history
So far we have talked about many of Yoshida no Udon cultures. Why did this special food culture come about? Why did this culture start in Fujiyoshida City?
According to the story we heard from a person who is running the weaving business;
Since the temperature of this area was low and the soil was not suitable for farming, weaving business had developed as a local industry since the end of the Edo period, and many families made their living by silkworm-raising, spinning yarn, or weaving fabrics.
In the weaving industry, women were the biggest earners. Therefore, mainly women worked, instead, men did chores such as cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, and so on, not to damage the delicate silk with their wives’ rough hands. I was surprised by the fact that it was very different from the traditional image of Japan, which is that normally men work and women do chores. However, men did work to bring woven fabrics and hawk them. This is called Gyosho (peddling).
Why is Yoshida no Udon so firm and chewy anyway?
Men, who had commonly more physical strength than women, kneaded Udon noodles with all their strength to fill the hungry stomach well for their wives who were busy to weave fabrics. Thus Yoshida no Udon, the firmest of firmest, outstandingly firm and chewy soul food was born.
Yoshida no Udon became soul food because of linked to food with the natural environment, climate, history, and lifestyles rather than created food. In that sense, isn’t it similar to Taiwanese lo bah png (minced pork rice) or Hong Kong soup?
The power of youths in local. High school students run the Udon club
Here is an interesting activity of young people about Udon.
The students at Hibarigaoka High School have formed the Udon club to develop the local regions.
There is also support from companies, and every Sunday, the students sell their own Udon at a local supermarket, which is the main store of Selva.
This time, Mr. Kuwahara of Selva guided the sales floor. Unfortunately, though it wasn’t the day that they sold the Udon because it wasn’t Sunday, I will never fail to visit on Sunday to eat their Udon next time for sure.
To let more people know about the deliciousness of Yoshida no Udon, the members of students have also published the free magazine with information and comments collected by the members who tried various Yoshida no Udon using their holidays.
It seems that the recipes developed by the members were too innovative that it took some time for local people to accept them, but as a result of their efforts, they were able to put their own Udon into the world. By the way, they developed their Udon with the desire to have you experience Yoshida no Udon, which is way too firm enough to break your jaw! You can buy it at the local shops.
After reading up to this point about the special feature of 地気食(CHIKISHOKU), have you been interested in Yoshida no Udon and would you like to try it if you have a chance?
The nearest station to Fujishoshida City is “Mt. Fuji station” just before Kawaguchiko Station. You may have had the opportunity to pass through to go on a trip to see the beautiful scenery of Mt. Fuji or Lake Kawaguchi, but by all means, stop by and enjoy the food culture at the northern foot of Mt. Fuji.
In addition to the food culture of Yoshida no Udon, we will introduce the experience we had of weaving that flourished around this area to you in detail the next time. Don’t miss it.