I’m sitting at home adding to the most recent statistic of people getting sick and I’m craving a big, hot, soupy bowl of fresh noodles. I’m thinking back to one of my favourite restaurants in Honolulu, Marukame Udon whose fresh udon cures the soul.
Marukame Udon sticks out like a sore thumb on Kuhio Avenue since you can’t miss the long lineups outside the cafe. Don’t let that deter you though because the cafeteria style environment promotes a quick customer turnaround. Not to mention the action behind the counter will make the time pass by quickly.
Start by watching the udon cook flatten blocks of udon dough in a special machine, then rolling the flat dough around a thin wooden rod. Next, the cook unrolls the dough into another machine that shreds the dough into fresh udon noodles. Watch as your made-to-order bowl of noodles comes to life as the cook quickly boils the noodles while soaking your noodle bowl in hot water. Last, another cook adds the finishing touch to your noodles by adding broth and toppings .
Marukame’s udon menu ranges from the simple fresh plain udon in hot water to the more complex curry udon. Udon connoisseurs will say the plain noodles is the way to go but I prefer the Bukkake Udon, fresh noodles served with a tasty hot broth.
After receiving your noodles, you move down the line to the tempura and musubi stations where your eyes and mouth will scream “I want one of each!” My personal favourites are the shrimp tempura, the soft egg tempura, the fried chicken and the salmon and tuna musubi (no I can’t finish it all of that!)
With Marukame’s cafeteria environment, you find your own seats after paying for your meals. Utensils, conidiments and soft drinks are all located in a central station. After finishing your meals, make sure to bring your empty bowls and trays to the cleaning station near the exit.
I have yet to meet anyone who isn’t a fan of Marukame Udon. Their concept is simple but its the simplicity and freshness of the food that brings people back for more. That and the fun quirky cooks behind the counter!
2310 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu