MARUGAME UDON IN WAIKIKI
You might remember we went to the famous udon chain while we were in Japan and stuffed our faces. This time, we found ourselves in Waikiki and yearning for something cheap and filling and most importantly, TASTY. Enter Marugame Udon in Waikiki.
First things first, if you see a lineup outside the door, don’t panic! We came here at 2:30pm and there were 5 people lined up out the door and we nearly groaned. However, like the store in Shibuya the line moved very quickly and we were inside within minutes. We did walk by around 8:00pm again and saw a line deep of about 30 people snaked along the sidewalk so it does get fairly busy during peak hours.
CHOOSE THE TEMPURA WISELY
The setup is similar in all their stores – it’s a cafeteria style restaurant. Grab your tray and move down the line. There’s a place to choose an assortment of tempura. We saw there were 4 prawn tempura left and thought surely it would be ice cold however, we added it to our plate. We also saw them add a fresh load of chicken tempura and grabbed a piece.
What’s different about this Marugame Udon in Waikiki unlike the one in Japan is there’s also spam musbi to get! We came back a different day for it and it was very tasty and reasonably priced. They open at 7am so don’t be shy about grabbing one for breakfast (and maybe a piece of tempura too!)
If you’re worried about finding seating because the restaurant looks very busy, note that people eat fairly fast and there’s always people getting up to leave so you’ll get a seat quickly. You can also get takeout – just grab the right containers at the start of the line.
We hope you like thick noodles because this place is all about the udon. The noodles are made fresh and you can feel it in the texture of the noodle when you bite down. That perfect bouncy chew with each bite. We love it!
I got the Egg Drop Soup (regular size) for $7.50. If you like a thin broth, this bowl is not for you. It is a very thick, rich soup. The beef is slightly sweet and so is the broth. The portion size was too big for me to finish and I had to give half to Howie. I don’t think this is my favorite bowl because the sweetness threw me for a loop. I would have preferred a fully savory broth but the egg added that extra kick of sweetness I didn’t like.
However, we must admit it’s still very good value. Unless you’re a big eater, there’s no need to get a large size. If you like egg and a hint of sweetness with your noodles, give it a try.
Howie got the Beef Udon (regular size) for $6.10. Even cheaper than mine! What a deal. He added a bunch of toppings at their self-serve table on his. These toppings are free and Howie loves that he can customize to his heart’s desire. Howie thought the quality of the beef was good considering how cheap his bowl was. He felt his broth was sweeter than an ideal bowl of udon but he still enjoyed this.
Here’s what we chose from the deep fried section: prawn tempura, potato croquette, pumpkin tempura and chicken tempura. We crossed our fingers and hoped that everything would still be hot.
Our gamble paid off because everything was piping hot! The chicken was almost too hot to eat. We were so pleased that we didn’t have to eat cold tempura this time. Try to keep an eye on when they refill the tempura and swoop in for freshest stuff!
Marugame Udon in Waikiki has these handy sandwich boards outside their restaurant which features their menu. Good for when you’re waiting in line! If you didn’t get a chance to read these, don’t worry. There’s a huge menu inside the restaurant.
Our GoAheadFoodies tip is to eat your udon here and grab a spam musubi before you leave and bring it to you with the beach! All the vendors at the beach or close the beach are fairly pricey so it’s great to have a cheap snack for when you get hungry after all the swimming. Bonus points if you remember to pick up drinks before you head to the beach! Waikiki can get pricey if you buy everything when it’s convenient so be sure to plan ahead a bit to save some extra dollars.
We think this is a great place to pop by if you’re eating on a budget as Waikiki can get pricey. Fast, tasty and easy on the wallet. Is there anything else you would want in an udon place?