Saturday, 10 January 2009

Hanamaru, Shibuya

As far as fast, simple and cheap meals go, the most impressive place we found was Hanamaru. We would have liked to have had more udon or ramen noodles in Japan, but it's difficult to find anywhere that doesn't cook them in meat/fish broth of some kind. A bit of digging around the internet revealed that this nationwide udon chain offers an option of dry udon that didn't come with broth, and the particular branch we went to was at basement level in Shibuya (near a McDonalds).

The explanation on the way in!

As the above instructs, you take a tray, pick from some pre-prepared sides and order your noodles from a counter, which are then freshly prepared. You can choose from quite a few types in three different sizes and warm or cold. There were some more elaborate options such as bukkake (ぶっかけ) with lemon and egg but we went for the shoyu (しょうゆ) option warm, with just soy sauce and some green onions and radish. Really, that was enough as the noodles were delicious, firm and fresh.

Our Hanamaru dinner with noodles, tempura, sushi and tofu

We got the above with (from back to front) cold tofu, inari sushi and a couple of pieces of vegetable tempura. None of those disappointed either, but the most amazing thing was that everything in the picture came to less than ¥1000! Also you could also get unlimited free tea (and water) from the machine! We definitely don't have anything that cheap and delicious (and healthy!) in the UK. The clientele were mostly young people - definitely a good place for those on a limited budget!

Tel: 03-5784-3633

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