Location: Bunza (二階堂製麺所BUNZAブンザ), Ichibancho 4-10-19, Downtown Sendai, Aoba Ward, Miyagi Prefecture...
Delicious, 100% Miyagi-Made Hand-Pulled Udon in the Heart of Sendai
If you’re a noodle lover, the Tohoku region is filled to the brim with abundant flavors, textures, and experiences to discover. Ramen and soba are ubiquitous with many diverse and delicious regional varieties in every corner from Fukuhshima to Aomori and back. Not to mention Miyagi’s own unique noodle, the comforting and delicious umen from Shiroishi (a must try for any foodie in the area).
But what about udon, that light but chewy, silky-smooth wheat noodle loved all over Japan?
Look no further than Bunza: the place for delicious and authentic, 100% made-in-Miyagi, hand-pulled udon, located in the heart of Sendai. Bunza is owned and operated by udon maker Nikaido which has been making hand-pulled udon in Tome, Miyagi for almost 140 years. Here, you’ll find a variety of udon in different shapes and sizes, seasonal dishes, and a sophisticated dining ambience as savory as the food itself.
There are many kinds of udon across Japan, but when talking about the process of making noodles by hand, we can split udon into two broad categories: cut udon and hand-pulled udon. The hand-pulling process is extremely precise, requiring 18 steps or more.
Of these, the most impressive is perhaps the hatakake process where the udon noodles are looped around pegs on a wooden structure, stretched downward vertically by pulling, and then stretched further horizontally with the help of long chopsticks. Because the quality of the dough can change depending on the season, temperature and weather, it takes skilled workers with expert intuition to make high-quality noodles every time, no matter the conditions.
At Bunza, these noodles are expertly prepared with attention to local specialties and seasonal ingredients to enjoy year-round.
For dinner, choose from a wide selection of udon dishes, Tome specialties (like duck nanban) and sides such as sashimi, tempura, and salads. If you’re feeling extravagant, the Sendai Beef Sukiyaki made with succulently marbled local beef (that gives Kobe beef a run for its money!) is a must-try dish. Or treat yourself on a special occasion with the omakase menu that includes 6 dishes specially selected and prepared by chef Sasaki (reservation required).
We also recommend taking advantage of their superb lunch menu with Tome specialties (check out the hatto nabe for lunch), or lunch sets that include sides, dessert and tea. You can also savor the Sendai Beef Sukiyaki for half the price, or treat yourself to an extended lunchtime with the special lunch course (last order at 1:30).
In the spirit of the season, we tried Bunza’s special fall udon tasting set featuring Nikaido’s classic, silky-smooth mugitsururi udon and a brand new udon developed for Fall 2022, mugikaoru - a flavorful whole wheat udon noodle (which is rarely heard of!), paired with three different dipping sauces and salad.
Bunza’s refined ambience is contemporary with a warm and inviting accent counter overlooking a spotless stainless steel kitchen where chefs prepare the carefully crafted udon amongst clouds of rising steam. Rustic wooden table seating adds to the warmth, and subtle elements of washitsu tie the whole decor together, providing the perfect atmosphere to appreciate the art of hand-pulled udon and savor every bite.
Bunza also sells the same Nikaido hand-pulled noodles if you want to take them home! The small shop at the restaurant entrance sells a variety of dry hand-pulled udon, sauces and more. These make a great, authentic Miyagi gift for any foodie friend – or yourself!
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Kotodai Park Subway Station, along Sendai’s popular Ichibancho shopping arcade, Bunza is easy to get to which makes it a must-try for authentic, made in Miyagi hand-pulled udon and a dining experience to savor!
・Lunch: 11:30 – 15:00 (last order 14:30)
・Dinner: 17:00 – 20:00 (last order 19:30)
・Shop: 11:00 – 18:00
Location: Bunza (二階堂製麺所BUNZAブンザ), Ichibancho 4-10-19, Aoba Ward, Sendai
Written by Hayley Gauvin