Hana Maru Udon + Curry
It is often said that traveling in Japan is expensive. You can get better value with your money by going to places such as Thailand. But yet, we are comparing two countries on different scales of development and in addition, they are culturally distinct.
Moreover, Japan can be affordable as well if you know where to look. Thus, here I am presenting to all you budget travelers another restaurant of choice where you can explore the culinary delights of Japan at a fraction of the cost.
Hana-Maru Udon + Curry is a huge franchise Udon franchise chain in Japan. Just keep your eyes peeled and you can find one of these outlets around the neighborhood where you´re staying. I just happen to have mine on the main street of Takadanobaba. Hana Maru used to offer only Japanese Udon but recently, they have diversified and included Japanese Curry into the mix.
For just 290 Yen, you can get a bowl of Kitsune (Slightly sweet tofu) Udon or 500 Yen for a plateful of flavorful curry rice topped with fried pork. If that´s not enough, you can select from an array of fried dishes that ranges from lady fingers to chicken that you add in to complement your main course.
As with all things affordable, customers are then expected to perform some work, like you do at MacDonalds. But that might not a bad thing after all. This is because you can choose the amount and type of condiments that you may like to have in your food. They range from spring onions, to tiny fried onion bits to tangy pickles. In the end, if you do it correctly, your Udon can be as colorful as mine.
I went to this restaurant with my friend and he tried the curry rice. It was fantastic and with generous amounts of fried pork, it is great value at 500 yen. However, you can find curry rice cheaper than 500 Yen along the streets, but often they do not include anything other than rice and curry, with no fried pork.
So the next time you´re on a budget but still would like to have some Japanese cuisine in your tummy, go down to any of the Hana Maru outlets scattered around Tokyo. But if you can´t find one, well there´s the one at Takadanobaba just waiting for you (or in one of their overseas branches in China). With all the spare change left over, pop by to Mikado Vintage Video Game store for a cool collection of classic video games.
How to order guide (If you don´t speak Japanese)
- Enter the restaurant and look out for the menu (in pictures)
- Choose the dish you want. Take a photo of it and walk towards the service counter.
- Grab a tray and let the customer service representative know of your choice of food
- Walk further down the aisle and choose from an assortment of tempuras to complement your dish
- If you ordered Udon, walk towards the dispenser and pour in the amount of soup that you want
- Head to the cashier and make payment
- Lastly, take your utensils from the self-service counter and choose the condiments you may like to have in your dish