Dine Around Oahu: Marukame Udon
Having just opened a few months ago, Marukame Udon has quickly become one of Waikiki's most popular dining spots. Regardless of the time of day (but especially in the evening), expect a long line of hungry tourists, locals and Japanese nationals (so you know it's good!) patiently waiting to get their noodle fix from the first Hawaii outpost of this beloved Japanese chain.
After entering the casual and quick, self-serve eatery, your eyes will widen while watching cooks expertly prepare the fresh, chewy udon noodles, and your tummy will be tempted as you hungrily anticipate the delicious meal that is soon to come.
Slurping a bowl of hot noodle soup may not sound ideal on a balmy Oahu summer day, but it's impossible to resist Marukame Udon's homemade noodles and savory broths. The udon is offered in two sizes, regular and large, and a variety of styles, including Ontama with a soft boiled egg (see photo below), Curry, Zaru (cold), and more. Ranging in price from $3.75 for a regular Kake Udon to $6.75 for a large Niku Udon (topped with seasoned beef), Marukame is also one of Waikiki's more affordable dining options.
In addition to udon, Marukame serves an assortment of fresh and crispy tempura and soft and flavorful musubi, priced between around $1.25 and $1.75 per piece. Picking a few pieces of tempura, and perhaps a musubi or two (hey, you can always save it for later!), is a must do, even if you opt for the large size udon. Be warned, however, that it is easy to go overboard as I learned from my first visit. I needed a nap after devouring my large Ontama Udon, shrimp and vegetable tempura and salmon musubi -- talk about a kanak attack!
For Japanese comfort food at its finest, Marukame Udon is hard to beat.