Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marukame Udon (Hawaii, US)

Our first fooding stop in Oahu was Marukame Udon. Althoug I'm not normally a fan of udon (I prefer ramen), I thought Marukame Udon was fantastic.

The restaurant is on Kuhio Avenue, just one block farther inland from Kalakaua Avenue (which pretty much IS Waikiki). It's easy to find as it gets quite busy, so just look for the Japanese noodle shop with the line-up outside. We arrived there early for dinner, so we just beat the line. You enter the restaurant and immediately line-up to order your udon. You pick the soup base and then you add items to your bowl and pay, cafeteria-style.

We ordered 2 drinks and 3 bowls of udon. It was unclear whether or not we even needed to order drinks because most people just use these clear plastic cups that are sitting by the drink machines and poured whatever they wanted, even though signs indicated that tea was $1.29. I think we paid $2 for each of our drinks even after I asked the cashier if we could just get tea with the plastic cups. Honesty may be the best policy, but it can cost you!

Ontama Udon with Chicken Karaage
Ontama Udon with Chicken Karaage. Described on the menu as "sauce" instead of soup, I thought it tasted like broth. It was flavorful and tasty, but a little too salty which was probably the result of the restaurant either making their udon with salt blended in, or cooking the udon in salt water. The chicken karaage was soft, tender and juicy.

Curry Udon with Fish Cake Tempura
Curry Udon with Fish Cake Tempura. The curry was thicker than typical Japanese curry sauce which was a nice surprise. It was very tasty and not very spicy. Again though, it was pretty salty. The fish cake tempura was nice and added some texture to the noodles. It wasn't overly battered, but the crispy bits that dropped into the soup made it taste even better.

Niku Udon with Squid Tempura. My mom really liked it and said the squid was very soft and tender. She mentioned that the udon was a little salty as well.

Niku Udon with Squid Tempura
The restaurant was bustling within 30 minutes of us sitting down, and it was clear that many of the patrons visit after their workday and such. The workers clear tables quickly to try to get customers in and out as quickly as possible. Despite this, we never felt rushed as we had to slowly feed H without the luxury of a high chair (we were in a booth and they didn't have boosters).

Food: Good. A little salty but very delicious nonetheless.

Service: Good. Orders are fulfilled quickly (since you're in a queue) and tables are cleared quickly.

Setting: Good. Parking probably sucks (we walked) but the restaurant is clean with lots of seating.

Value: Good. Tasty food and a whole meal will probably run you under $15.

Marukame Udon on Urbanspoon

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