Disclaimer: I visited Marukame udon on my third visit to Ho Chi Minh. I tend to stay away from non-local food when I travel, but I simply could not resist. I did resist to try the Yoshinoya at the new HCM Aeon mall.
If you throw a rock in Japan, there is a good chance you will hit a Marugame udon shop. Just a few km from my house there are 2 or 3 shops, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw one in the center of Ho Chi Minh. Marugame became Marukame, but don’t be fool by the spelling, this is the foreign branding of the popular chain of udon restaurants.
Ishiharu udon is a small shop located between Kojima and Tamano city. It’s technically on the Kojima side on a very narrow side road so small that you will miss it if you blink, but rest assured, it’s worth the u-turn.
Toushinden Yakiniku is located on route 30 not too far from route 2, if you are familiar with Okayama, this is the road that goes to Tamano. It most definitely not centrally located, but it is worth the bike ride, the bus ride, the walk or anything that will get you there. It was so good, I would probably go on a pogo stick if I had to.
On my second day of walking around Kyoto, I was ready to give up and pass out in my hotel room when my wife suggested we go out and eat udon. UDON!!! Udon in Kyoto! Really? While udon might not be Kyoto’s specialty,?yet my visit to Okakita udon shop was worth crossing half the city.
We got to Matsuura at 10h30, a full 30 min before opening time and we were shocked to see people already waiting. The restaurant looks like a private house lost in the parking lot of a drab factory, but yeah, appearance is often misleading.
I don’t know why, but Tsuyama in Northern Okayama Prefecture is the capital of horumon fried udon. It’s quite common for Japanese cities to build their reputation on a particular specialty, but it takes some gusto to build this fame cooking offals or as some might call it the “discarded bits”.