Udon is one of the most popular noodle varieties in Japan and beyond. And by far, the leading restaurant chain serving these chewy, tasty noodles isMarugame Udon.
Opened in the year 2000 in Kakogawa City, Hyogo Prefecture, the restaurant chain soon spread to other parts of Japan. By mid-decade, you could find Marugame Udon restaurants all over Japanand in 2011 the restaurant chain had restaurants in all 47 prefectures. Today, you’ll find Marukame Udon in locations around the world, including Hawaii.
So why the popularity? First and foremost is quality. The restaurant chain only uses the finest ingredients in its noodle recipe. And this consistent quality is governed by a single noodle expert that goes to each restaurant, teaching the exact recipe and technique to the chefs.
Secondly, Marukame Udon operates an open kitchen system. This way, customers can see their orders being prepared and enjoy the theater of the kitchen at the same time.
Chewy and fresh handmade noodles
For those unaware of udon noodles, here’s a quick roundup. Udon is much thicker and chewier than other popular noodles like ramen or soba. A mixture of wheat flour, water and salt, the ingredients are simple, but the preparation of the noodles makes them so special.
You can enjoy udon noodles in various ways, but the most common is kake udon. The dish includes a portion of noodles bathed in kakejiru, or broth soup, with extra toppings. At Marukame Udon, the skilled noodle chefs prepare their noodles to perfection, with just the right texture and seasoning.
Customers love the quality and consistency of the noodles, knowing that wherever they visit a Marukame Udon restaurant, the dining experience will be the same.
Tempura tengoku! Crunchy tempura to enjoy with your noodles
Topping your udon with tempura or enjoying it alongside is a delight. The combination of soft chewy noodles and light crispy batter is a match made in heaven.
At Marukame Udon, there is a wide range of tempura dishes to enjoy. From shrimp, to vegetables, to chicken, to crab, no visit to Marukame Udon is complete without indulging in this crunchy side.
Tempura is a popular Japanese dish in its own right. Brought to the shores of the islands by the Portuguese, the technique of battering and deep frying fish, meat, and vegetables has been present in Japan since the 16th Century. Yet, there is no better way to enjoy this historic dish than with a steaming bowl of udon.
Recreating Marugame Udon at home
Can’t find a Marugame Udon restaurant near you? Fear not. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to recreate the distinct textures and flavors of udon noodle soup at home.
First, the broth. It’s incredibly important that you have a strong-flavored broth as the base of the dish. Start with around a liter of dashi, either purchased from a shop or homemade, and mix with a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon each of mirin and soy sauce. Simmer for a minute or two.
Next, the noodles. There’s no need to try and perfect your own noodles. Instead, buy prepared noodles, but aim for the higher-priced alternative. Boil for around three minutes, strain and add to your noodle bowl along with some of the broth.
When it comes to toppings, go wild! Some of the classics include chopped green onions, soft poached egg, and thinly sliced beef.