Udon, soba, ramen, vermicelli — to the uninformed, there’s not much difference between these noodles. But to true noodle lovers, there’s nothing like thick udon noodles. The Japanese-style noodle is made from buckwheat flour and can be served hot or cold. On cold days in Las Vegas, which, despite what people from further north may think, do exist in southern Nevada, udon noodles make for the perfect base of a flavorful soup, stir-fry, or curry dish.
Cheap udon in Chinatown
Cafe Sanuki debuted in Chinatown in late 2017 with an udon-centric menu featuring ingredients from Japan and a price point that just might inspire diners to try multiple udon dishes. The menu includes more than 15 udon specialties, such as beef curry udon, clam udon, a cheesy, creamy carbonara udon, and a vegetarian udon dish smothered with tomato basil sauce. All dishes are priced at under $10.
Cafe Sanuki, 4821 Spring Mountain Road; 702-331-9860
Udon and tapas
The delightfully named Oodle Noodle lives up to its title with an expansive menu that includes shrimp tempura udon, uni cream udon, and kimchi hot pot udon. Located next to a sake bar with shared ownership, Oodle Noodle also serves shareable, tapas-style fare including creamed crab croquettes, corn tempura, and marinated saber fish.
Oodle Noodle, 4449 W. Flamingo Road; 702-538-9556
Udon and foie gras
James Beard nominated Raku in Chinatown is heralded for its robata dishes, which are prepared on a charcoal grill, and its omakase, which offers diners fresh ingredients that come from the legendary Tsukiji fish market in Toyko. In addition to sampling butter sautéed scallops and Kurobuta pork cheek, diners should save room for Raku’s udon noodle with foie gras egg custard soup. Featuring cold udon, this dish is an especially rich and flavorful way to enjoy the Japanese noodles.
Raku, 5030 Spring Mountain Road; 702-367-3511
Udon after midnight
Featuring a handwritten menu posted along the walls of the restaurant, Ichiza is a no-frills destination for udon in Chinatown. Diners will find udon noodle soup with mushrooms, stir-fried pork udon plus cold beer and sake to wash it down. The restaurant stays open until 2:30 a.m. for late-night noodle cravings.
Ichiza, 4355 Spring Mountain Road; 702-367-3151
It’s impossible to find a restaurant in Chinatown’s Seoul Plaza that isn’t great. One such option is Japanese Curry Zen, which is known for its customizable curry dishes, as well as its signature curry udon. Diners can order the dish as is or add a little something extra such as Spam, chicken katsu or tofu.
Japanese Curry Zen, 5020 Spring Mountain Road, Suite 1; 702-985-1192