This isn’t a secret, Marugame Udon is a good place to get Japanese Food in a hurry. Admit it, this is quality Fast Food. You get your order within minutes, you pay upfront, and you cart it away in a tray. Fine, if you’re uncomfortable calling a place “Fast Food” because it sound negative, let’s call Marugame Udon a Fast Casual or Quick Service Restaurant then (we won’t, still Fast Food).

#foodmetromanila likes marugame udon specifically in SM Megamall
Beef Ontaman Bukkake Udon or Chicken Paitan Udon, what you got?

You’re expected to know what you’re going to order, noodles or rice dish, before you enter the restaurant. During peak hours, you are going to line up and their menu is everywhere in the storefront. It’s in a board, it’s in ‘frames’ strategically placed where you’re lined up, and in case you still can’t see any of the choices while lining up, the restaurant people will hand you a copy of the menu while you’re waiting.

You need to know what you’re going to order because the whole process is fast. You order your noodles (or rice dish) as soon as you enter, it gets handed to you and you move down the line. You then get to choose your side dishes which are all displayed for your choosing. Right before getting to the cashier, you can pick up any drinks that are again displayed for your convenience. You pay for everything and then you’re escorted to a table specifically reserved for you (they ask for how many heads you have in your party outside). You can already start eating, but they also have a little bar where you can get condiments and extra toppings (tempura bits and chopped chives) to spruce up your meal more. If all these still don’t mean ‘Fast Food’ for you, then I don’t know what will.

marugame udon chicken paitan udon #foodmetromanila

marugame udon sm megamall vegetable kakiage #foodmetromanila
The “Tempura Ball” is the Kakiage, that’s Chicken Karaage on the stick (cold and slightly dry), those three in the back are Ebi Tempura (of course), and the black flat thing is my wife’s phone

The Chicken Paitan Udon is a personal favorite. The thick Udon noodles, perfectly sopping up the broth like a sponge, are springy and never soggy. The Paitan broth is savory, creamy, and fatty. It’s rounded up by perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg and succulent braised chicken. It’s your macronutrients in one bowl, and it’s already good as it is. I recommend just adding some chives for color and an extra layer of flavor, but seriously it’s an amazing dish.

Chicken Paitan by Marugame Udon toppings by #foodmetromanila
Added some toppings and more importantly color

Another best seller is the Beef Ontama Bukkake Udon. The same Udon noodles are immersed in a clear Kake broth, topped with a generous helping of tender Beef Strips, and Ontama. You know when you try to make a soft-boiled egg but stop it too early? When you crack the shell open you get creamy egg white but a formed yolk? That’s kind of like what Ontama is. Still a pretty solid bowl, but I still prefer the Chicken Paitan Udon. They have plenty more Noodles dishes, including the brothless Yaki Udon, and some Rice Dishes like Katsu Curry and Katsudon.

#foodmetromanila #marugameph

But don’t ever forget about the sides. They are essential for the whole experience and work perfectly together with the noodles (or extra ulam for the the rice dishes). There are the Spam Musubis and the Fried Gyoza, but for me the bangers are the Ebi Tempura and the Vegetable Kakiage. The shrimp taste fresh and the batter is light, it’s solid Ebi Tempura. That’s already a given. That Vegetable Kakiage though. I guess the easiest way to describe it is that it looks like a Tempura Ball composed of thin strips of vegetables. It’s so light that you can easily break it apart with just your chopsticks. Just lightly dip it into soy sauce and you’re pretty much all set.


 It is quality Japanese Food, so it really is supposed to be ordered and consumed quickly. Noodles aren’t supposed to be made to sit in broth for an hour (or even half an hour, or 15 minutes for that matter). You can’t make Tempura sit for a long time either. You’re supposed to eat all of it fast. The restaurant needs you to do everything quickly because they need a fast turnover of diners to earn. It’s not a particularly big space, a lot of people want to eat here, and they have relatively low prices for Japanese Food.

Marugame Udon and #foodmetromanila lifts weights
Consider this bowl after a weight lifting session. Chock full of macros!

I don’t want to judge people outright, but I do want to change most people’s attitude in Fast Food restaurants (oh come on, it’s Food you get Fast). One of my pet peeves is people in Fast Food Restaurants (Marugame Udon is Fast Food, fight me) not knowing what they’ll order when they get to the counter. Especially if they had to line up, figure out what you’ll buy while standing there! Me, I’ll even have an alternative ready in case my original choice is not available. If you don’t what you’re getting at the Noodle Station, everyone (including the staff) might stare at you exasperatingly. If you take your time picking a side dish, you’ll get figuratively pushed to go faster.

If you’re jonesing for Japanese Food, and have a limited budget, then the nearest Marugame Udon is perfect for you. Don’t compare it to Ramen because it’s not. Don’t blast it for not having a pretty presentation because the main focus is giving you good flavor the fastest way possible.

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