That loud slurping sound you heard all day yesterday? That was a satisfied symphony of noodle lovers everywhere siphoning strands of spaghetti, soba, Shanghai-style noodles, and countless more styles from bowls and plates alike in honor of that grand day ― National Noodle Day. It might be a poor excuse for a holiday, but we're not picky. Any opportunity to get our noodle on, we'll take.
Instead of waxing poetic over another sensational bowl of ramen, I opted to direct the spotlight to udon, that chubby, squishy, Japanese wheat flour noodle. The generous girth of the udon noodle is perhaps its most appealing feature: thick, slick, and supremely slurpable.
Kotohira in Gardena is a traditional Japanese noodle house specializing in udon and soba. The udon that comes with the combination platters is just about as fundamental as you can get. The bulky noodles swirl in a light-brown dashi broth, as is favored in western Japan. The spare toppings floating atop are tenkasu or tempura bits, a slice of pink kamaboko fish cake, and freshly chopped scallions.
Sanma, also known as Pacific saury, is a popular seasonal fish served during the fall and accompanies the sanma udon platter. Grated daikon oroshi and a lemon wedge are traditional condiments for mellowing the flavors of the oily fish.
Noodle Day or not, this udon is worth a slurp.
Kotohira, 1747 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena, 310-323-3966.