EATS: Marugame Udon
Japan’s foremost maker of the noodle, Marugame Udon, has opened its first Orange County location at South Coast Plaza. The interactive experience draws in newbies while still pleasing udon veterans. Chefs hand-pull noodles at the front of the restaurant, to better draw in customers. Once in line, guests are handed a tray and begin the selection process. At different stations, cheerful workers prepare 11 types of udons (silky nikutama, savory kitsune, umami-rich bukkake, among others) and explain each. Grab some of the freshly fried tempura or musubi (rice wrapped in seaweed along with meat), top your udon with minced garlic or green onions, find a seat, and enjoy the J-pop blasting through the speakers along with your soup.
Marugame Udon’s Nikutama Udon
It’s a fun, delicious experience, and a popular one: Marugame was getting so many O.C. fans at its Los Angeles locations that “we wanted to expand farther south to offer our food to the Orange County community,” according to Makoto Smith, spokesperson for Marugame in the United States.
Marugame Udon’s Japanese sanuki udon served with mentai cod roe, soft boiled egg and dashed soy sauce.
But Marugame doesn’t rest on its laurels. They create seasonal specials and import a unique flour from Japan for the right springiness of its noodles. So drop into Marugame, and slurp up what the rest of America will discover in a couple of years.