Life is full of little rays of sunshine; one of my favourite things is taking a chance on a restaurant you know nothing about it and it not disappointing. I hope somewhere there is someone else who gets this feeling because I think some people believe it to be quite strange.
We visited Marugame Udon while hiding out at a shopping mall in Semarang, Indonesia, I say hiding out because quite literally we were. We had a day in Semarang as it was our only possible route to Borneo, little did we know that the tourist industry had not quite reached there yet and we became the main attraction to the people that lived there. Do not get me wrong, I understand as a tourist that you adapt to the place you are in, but when you are sitting in a restaurant and people walk up to your table to simply stare are you but not say a word, it becomes a little unnerving, and that pretty much happened most places we went, until we found sanctuary in a westernised shopping mall.
Marugame Udon is a la carte chain restaurant throughout Indonesia serving authentic Japanese food, I would liken it to Wagamamas but with a more authentic variety, and with being South-East Asia a much better price.
There is no table service but all food is freshly prepared by order from the various meal choices, and you are also able to choose from Udon noodles or rice as an accompaniment. I obviously went for the Katsu with Udon noodles, because Katsu is life, but the spicy Tori Baitan Udon looked pretty great as well.
After choosing your main, you can then go on to choose from the ‘tempura section’, which is all nicely displayed and heated up as required. There such as wide selection of sides to choose from, Ebi tempura, skewered tofu rolls, kakiage, you could probably create a full meal out of sides alone. I decided on the sweet potato tempura as well as the egg tempura, sadly I did not enjoy the egg too much however I am not a massive fan of runny egg in general, so it was an odd choice to make.
In total, we paid 154 000 IDR (Roughly £9.50) for two mains, four tempura dishes and two drinks, which I do not really think you can argue with. It seems there are quite a few Marugame Udons located throughout Indonesia, and I would very much recommend going in for a meal if you happen to stumble upon one on your visit.