Marukame Udon and Tempura is the staple and go to spot for fresh, authentic Udon noodles in Hawaii! They specialize in perfecting Sanuki Udon, which originated from the Sanuki region of the Kagawa prefecture in Japan. The noodles are hand made in shop every day, through a strenuous process of hand pressing water, wheat flour and salt. The dough is then allowed to rest overnight, and sliced into thick noodles, made cooked to order.
The Niku Udon is served with a Kake Dashi broth, made from a fish stock of dried mackerel, bonito, and round herring, combined with Japanese kelp. It is then mixed with another stock of sugar, soy sauce, and mirin to balance the flavor into a bold flavored soup perfect for udon. The Niku Udon is served with sweet beef slices and caramelized onions to round out the textures. Tempura flakes, grated ginger, and sliced green onions are added on top to balance out the heaviness of the dish. For good measure, I added a runny egg, because all noodles are better with a runny egg!
These noodles, I must say, are at a close to perfect texture. Moist, succulent, and chewy, each bite soaks up the dashi broth and delivers a blend of sweet and savory to your mouth. Along with the fatty beef slices, and the caramelized onions, this is a great bowl of udon, with diverse flavors in each mouthful. And to add just an extra element, crack open the runny egg and release the yolky saucy goodness over the whole bowl.
Marukame's udon is comparable to the udon bowls I've had in Japan, and is a great alternative for those seeking an authentic bowl of udon outside of Japan. This bowl of noodles comes in two sizes, with the regular bowl coming in at $5.75 and a large bowl at $6.75. Add a runny egg for $ 0.75. Honestly, you cannot find a better deal than that for the quality you are getting. In addition to the Niku Udon, Marukame also serves other types of udon bowls including their Curry Udon and Tan Tan Udon. They also serve many side items, such as tempura, gyoza, and many more. Ordering works as an assembly/cafeteria line set up, and you pay for your meal at the end of the line after you pick up all the items you want.
There are two locations in Hawaii, and I had this bowl at its Waikiki location downtown. Its a busy place, not gonna lie, and lines are usually out the door. I suggest hitting up the place early in the morning, before lunch, or try to go mid afternoon before the dinner and late night crowds. Regardless, this place is worth the wait!