This Japanese fusion dog dares to go where most fear to tread.
One of the first weird fusion foods that tends to raise an eyebrow among foreign visitors to Japan is the yakisoba dogwhich looks like a hot dog, only with yakisoba (fried udon noodles) packed inside the roll, and no sausage anywhere to be seen.
Our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato is always on the lookout for fusion foods that dare to go one step further than most, though, so when he heard whispers of a Tempura Udon Dog in the city, he knew he had to get his jaws around one.
He headed off to find it at the Ikebukuro Bread Festivalcurrently being held at the Tobu Department store in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro until 5 April.
Mr Sato scoured the stalls at the event until he found this sign, which read:
▼ Tempura Udon Dog 648 yen (US$5.29) each
According to the small print on the sign, the dog comes from the Ikemasu izakaya tavern in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi, and only 60 of them are available on each day of the bread festival. In case anyone was confused about what a Tempura Udon Dog was, there was this sign hanging from the ceiling above the stall with a message that read:
▼ “Tempura prawn on udon!! Anyway, please eat it!”
“Ah, I see”, thought Mr Sato as he deciphered the message from this fellow food hunter, “what he means is you have to eat it to understand it.”This was a man after his own heart, and Mr Sato needed no further prompting to hand over his hard-earned cash for the unusual hot dog.
▼ Adding further confusion to the fusion meal was the fact that it came in a container with a “Nihonbashi Sandwich” sticker on it.
Sandwich, dog, monstrosity…whatever you’d classify this as, Mr Sato was keen to try it, especially after he lifted off the lid and found this glorious, plump tempura prawn lying there ready to seduce his lips.
The prawn was reclining on a bed of thick, succulent, saucy udon, with a clump of tempura spring onions on the side, propping it up like a pillow.
▼ The bun looked fresh and unadorned, in order to allow the other ingredients to take center stage.
It certainly was an excellent-looking dog, with everything perfectly placed for the customer’s eating enjoyment. Mr Sato is no ordinary customer, though, so how would he rate the Tempura Udon Dog?
It was delicious! First of all, the prawn was pure heaven — the batter was light and crispy, as it was made by an izakaya chef, and the crunch of the tempura gave Mr Sato a yearning for rice. That desire for rice was immediately satisfied with the thick chewiness of the udon noodles, which perfectly balanced the tempura prawn, while the buns rounded off each mouthful with a softness that brought all the ingredients together beautifully.
It was definitely a high-class dog, and one that Mr Sato highly recommends everyone try if they have the chance. It’s amazing how far fusion hot dogs have come since 2016.
Event Information Ikebukuro Bread Festival / 池袋パン祭 Address: Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Nishiikebukuro 1-1-25 Tobu Department Store Ikebukuro 8th Floor Exhibition Hall 東京都豊島区西池袋1-1-25 東武百貨店池袋店 8階催事場 Hours: 10:30 am – 7:30 pm, March 31 – April 5