Kudzukiri (noodles made from kudzu flour and sugar) (葛切り)

Kudzukiri, a noodle for eating, is made with heated kudzu flour that has been dissolved in water and then set into a board shape by cooling, after which it is cut into long, thin forms udon (Japanese wheat noodles).

Kudzukiri is enjoyed in many ways such as Japanese-style sweets in which syrup is poured over the cooled noodles, and as an ingredient in pot dishes, in which dried type is used.

Recently, foodstuff imitating Kudzukiri, which is made from cheaper materials like potato starch instead of kudzu flour, has become common as an ingredient in pot dishes.

Hon-kudzu-ko (genuine kudzu flour)

The flour made from the root of the kudzu vine is called "Hon-kudzu-ko," which has a smooth and pleasant taste with some bitterness. It is said that Hon-kudzu-ko with less bitterness has less medicinal efficacy.

Because Hon-kudzu-ko is expensive due to its small production, various goods that have come onto the market include starch extracted from wheat, potato, sweet potato and others, even if they are labeled 'Hon-kudzu-ko.'
(The starch extracted from potato cools the body.)

However, Hon-kudzu-ko is relatively easy to obtain in western Japan, especially in the Kinki and Kyushu regions, in which there are many kudzu vine-producing areas.

Current state of Hon-kudzu-ko production

The ratio of Hon-kudzu-ko made in China to that coming onto the domestic market has risen recently due to the decreases domestic production of Hon-kudzu-ko, which has been caused by the aging of the experts who dig out the root of the kudzu vine, as well as by the decreasing amount of natural kudzu vine.

The kudzu flour produced in domestic factories by using the root of kudzu vines imported from China is often labeled as "Hon-kudzu-ko made in Japan." Furthermore, various manufacturers also apply a label "Hon-kudzu-ko made in Japan" to the mixture of domestic kudzu flour and Chinese-made kudzu flour.

Recently, the toxicity of the pesticide residue remaining in the root of kudzu vine grown in China has become a problem.

Kagoshima Prefecture is currently a large producing area for domestic kudzu flour. Particularly significant are three manufacturers using the root of the kudzu vine grown in southern Kyushu.

*The kudzu vines grown in Japan, Taiwan and China each represent a separate species, botanically.

The current situation of how the details of raw materials and producing areas are displayed on packages of kudzu flour

It is not a requirement to display the details of raw materials and producing areas on the package of kudzu flour, so the kudzu flour with a label of "Hon-kudzu-ko" isn't always made from the root of kudzu vine grown in Japan. Accordingly, there is a high probability that the package of kudzu flour without the details of raw materials and producing areas contains kudzu flour that has originated in other countries.

[Original Japanese]