These udon are the newest to appear on Highway 58. With their generous seating, tasty noodles and tempura, and great value, we think they’ll last a while.
It’d be hard to find noodles thicker than udon–any larger, and you’d have a hard time fitting them in your mouth! Udon noodles are made of wheat, like ramen, but are about the diameter of pencils. At Marugame Seimen, a chain restaurant with ties to Japanese prefecture Sanuki (famous for udon), they’re also soft and doughy, with a nice chew.
What to eat
If you’re new to udon, try the basic kake bowl—hot noodles in a light, savory broth, made from soy and dashi (a soup base made from fish, which also flavors miso soup and other Japanese dishes). The broth for kake udon is in a dispenser after you pay at the register. Scallions and tempura flakes, located at the self-service water station, complete this dish. On a hot day, you might want to try the noodles cold, called zaru, with a side of hot broth–the staff will ask if you want them hot or cold. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are other flavors to try, including curry udon, with a thicker, slightly spicy Japanese curry broth and small chunks of pork. We liked the curry udon a lot; the broth was a little thicker, but not nearly as much as the gravy you’d find at Coco’s Curry. We weren’t brave enough for the kamatama udon, which includes a raw egg that is just slightly cooked in the broth, or the mentai kamatama udon, with raw egg and fish eggs.
Marugame Seimen is set up cafeteria style: first order the type of udon you want, then slide your tray along and choose different á la carte tempura items or rice balls to eat with the noodles. We recommend the mound of fried onions, a Japanese take on the onion loaf at American chain restaurants. The shrimp and pumpkin tempura were tasty, especially dipped in broth. As with most fried food, the longer it sits, the soggier it gets, so keep an eye out for when the staff put out freshly cooked choices.
The prices at Marugame Seimen are exceptionally good; two people can eat for about ¥1200, depending on appetite. It’s no wonder the restaurants stay pretty busy. We recommend getting the medium sized udon bowl if you plan on eating tempura–the large is too much. In fact, while it may not seem like a lot of food at first, the noodles and tempura are quite filling.
MONDAY – SUNDAY 7:30 am – 11:00 pm
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Marugame Seimen Udon Restaurant