Historically, dedicated udon noodle houses have been hard to come by in Perth. Japan-born chef Daisuke Hiramatsu changed that in 2018 when he opened Hifumiya, an udon noodle house that’s easily spotted by the lunchtime queues spilling out onto Murray Street.

Here, the thicker, chewy wheat noodles are made in-house and served either hot (in a fragrant dashi-forward broth) or cold (dipped into a salty-sweet soy-based sauce). As at a traditional Japanese udon house, you can top your bowl with tempura-fried seafood and veg from the glistening tempura station.

Canteen-style service means queues move quickly here, reminiscent of the noodle houses in Hiramatsu’s hometown of Kurashiki, Japan. Grab a tray and the high-energy staff will greet you and take your order, while the open kitchen buzzes with activity behind them. Noodles are cut to size and pork sizzles as it’s fried over an industrial stove. As you shuffle down the line, you can watch the team prepare your meal: deft hands drop the chewy udon noodles into a bowl of brandy-hued dashi-based broth, before adding spoonfuls of pork mince, a sprinkle of spring onion, a soft-boiled egg and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, for example.

The Hifumiya original, with its clear broth and a slice of fried tofu, is a perfect place to start; the spicy pork udon is another crowd favourite, its seasoned pork mince flavouring the broth with each mouthful. For those after a textural sensation, try the curry udon, which sees the sturdy noodles served in a thicker, Japanese curry base; or order the tororo okra udon, which comes cold with okra and yam. If you’re not tempted by the display of tempura at the end of the counter, add crunch with spoonfuls of fried udon off-cuts onto your bowl instead – a free and welcome addition to any order.

The sake bottles that line the shelves nod to Hifumiya’s night-time sibling, the izakaya Jigoro. In the evenings, the space transforms and offers up many Tokyo backstreet bar favourites, from gomae (Japanese spinach salad) and karaage chicken to a healthy selection of sake.

Hifumiya is a testament to how unpretentious, honest food brings people together – it’s one of the rare places you’ll find the suits of office workers, the crumpled scrubs of medical staff, and the colourful uniforms of school students sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, each slurping a spicy pork udon during winter or dipping a bed of iced zaru udon into broth in summer.

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Updated: August 14th, 2023

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