ABC Premium News (Australia)
While Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan was kicking up the red dust of Western Australia's Pilbara iron ore region, his wife was taste-testing noodles at a research facility in Perth.
Australia provides specialist wheat varieties from Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, for different types of noodles.
Her Excellency Mrs Akie Abe gave the official seal of approval to udon noodles made from specially bred WA wheat varieties.
Mrs Akie tasted the noodles at the AustralianExport Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) in the same 'noodle sensory test' undertaken by officials from the Japanese Flour Millers Associations twice a year.
The tests are led by national wheat specialist with AEGIC Dr Larisa Cato.
"We go through the process of making the udon noodles from every single variety that we have and we assess quality traits that are important to Japanese people," Dr Cato said.
"Things like colour, colour stability, mouth feel, noodle firmness and noodle texture."
AEGIC says WA grown noodle wheat varieties are ideal for making udon, due to their strength, protein and starch levels, creamy, bright flour colour and excellent colour stability.
Ramen noodles are made from Australian prime hard (APH) wheat which is usually sourced from Queensland and New South Wales.
Prime hard wheat is also used for wanton wrappers.
Dr Cato says she's hopeful the official visit will be of benefit to all Australian farmers, not just wheat growers.
"In addition to our long standing relationship with Japanese flour milling industry in particular, this visit by the Japanese Prime Minister and the First Lady will strengthen the relationship with Australia in general.
"But particularly the food segment, not just wheat, but food in general."