Oodles of Noodles

From Honolulu Magazine

Honolulu’s Freshest Noodles

For a city that loves noodles as much as Honolulu does,  it’s surprising that more eateries don’t offer the genuine, fresh, made-from-scratch variety. But there are a handful of places where such a noodle is the norm, and HONOLULU went behind the scenes with the noodle makers to see how it’s done.

The dough has just two ingredients: salt water and wheat flour. The flour has a high gluten content, but if it’s not prepared just so, the udon won’t have its characteristic chewiness. The stomping process is, pardon the pun, a key step. Skip the stomp and the noodle won’t hold up to the bite. Stomp too much and you might be chewing it forever. So after the dough is mixed and left to rest, but before it’s rolled and cut into actual noodles, the cook slides a five-pound blob of it into a plastic bag, drops it on the floor, and gives it a stomping.

Udon noodles are typically fat, but Jimbo makes a skinny variety, too, called hoso. Fried udon is made by tossing hoso in a wok.

“For him, five times step,” says Jimbo proprietor Naoki “Jim” Motojima, referring to his 200-pound Micronesian cook, Martine, who gives his dough precisely five good stomps. Smaller cooks have to stomp a little more.

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