Honolulu, HI

Honolulu Eats: Marukame Udon and Tempura

Vee Eats

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Marukame udon and tempura is arguably one of the most popular restaurants to go to in Waikiki. If you see a long line any time of the day outside of a Japanese restaurant near the International Market Place, it would have to be Marukame Udon. Located in downtown Waikiki on Kuhio Avenue, Marukame makes their udon in-house every day and you can see them make it in front of you. With close to 10,000 reviews on Yelp and an average of 4.5 stars, this is one restaurant you have to carve out time for during your time on the island. They don’t accept any reservations so you can either wait in the long line or order takeout and delivery from third-party delivery apps. The restaurant is open every day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Make sure to come early before 9 pm since there are times where they run out of items and will cut off the line early.

Known for their classic udon bowls and tempura, all the items are under $10 which is a steal for how delicious the food is. The way you order at Marukame is cafeteria-style where you grab a tray and tell the employee which bowl you would like. You can order either regular or large and hot or cold on selective bowls. The bowl of udon is prepared in front of you and they place it on your tray once it is ready. The toppings are usually a scoop of their tempura flakes which provides a great kick to the noodles and green onions to add more umami to the soup. I usually go for the beef udon which is served with their signature sweet-flavored beef and onions in their kake soup. If you prefer having an egg with your udon for additional protein, go for the Nikutama which is their best seller and comes with a hot spring egg. At this Hawaii location, you can also get teriyaki beef or chicken bowls. They also have a chicken katsu sando which I have been trying to get but it is currently unavailable. Marukame also has vegetarian options so there is something for everyone.

Once you receive your bowl, there is an assortment of tempura you can choose from. If you’re unfamiliar with tempura, it is a Japanese dish where the item is battered and deep-fried to perfection. Their tempura ranging from shrimp, fishcake, sweet potato, chicken, calamari, and even tamagoyaki which is a Japanese omelet and I have never seen this option at other locations in the mainland. They also have harumaki which is a Japanese spring roll filled with scrambled egg, cheese, spam, and scallions. Talk about the perfect and balanced spring roll for breakfast. You can find it at the end of the tempura selection and is served all day. At the end of the tempura line, you can grab spam musubis or onigiris which are triangle rice rolls stuffed with filling. There are no must-have options at Marukame since everything is delicious but if I would have to choose: go for the Nikutama, pair it with their popular shrimp tempura, and end it with a spam musubi to take for the road.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to visit Marukame, I would highly suggest you add it to your list. With everything less than $10 for a bowl of delicious noodles even at its largest size, this is a great spot if you are on a budget while feeling satisfied and filled. Have you tried Marukame before and if so, what was your order and thoughts on their udon? Leave them in the comments below!

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