A Japanese restaurant in the city of Ota, Gunma Prefecture, has gone popular for selling a unique type of noodles with a complete Buddhist Sutra printed on them.
Nittanosho Kanzantei, the small eatery in Ota, has been getting a lot of attention for a product that is not even on the menu.
Its so-called “sacred noodles” are only available as a souvenir, for cooking at home or giving away as a gift. Cut into thick, rectangular sheets, these unique noodles feature large, caligraphy-like characters printed on them with edible ingredients that remain visible even after cooking.
So you can actually pray with your food as you’re eating it!
A whole pack of sacred noodles actually features the complete Heart Sutra, one of Buddhism’s most sacred texts, that deals with the concept of emptiness and is often chanted by monks at funerals or memorial services, or as a meditative practice at temples.
That’s the main reason why Nittanosho Kanzantei doesn’t serve its sacred noodles to patrons, as it’s a dish that is best consumed in the privacy of one’s home.
Some key passages include: “The Insight That Brings Us to the Other Shore” and “This body is emptiness, and emptiness is this body“.
In many temples it is often given out to visitors in paper form, but Nittanosho Kanzantei decided that it works just as well on noodles.
A pack of sacred noodles contains the entire 260-character Heart Sutra, as well as a booklet that features the full text with furigana letters to help read the most difficult kanji, and a modern language translation guide for those unfamiliar with sutras.
The thick sacred noodles are printed using a mixture of bamboo charcoal and edible caramel coloring derived from wheat. Although the characters fade a little after cooking, they are still perfectly visible and readable.
Boiling is possible, but the restaurant recommends simmering them with seasonable vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onions and taro.
If you’d like to consume a Buddhist sutra and become one with it, this udon is definitely worth a try. Sacred noodles are only sold in Gunma Prefecture, a three-serving pack comes with dashi seasoning for added taste and costs 1,620 yen (about $12)….
Images from web – Google Research