Of all the High Speed Rail stations, Zuoying 左營 must be one of most convenient one, if not simply the most. Just off on the northern edge of Kaohsiung city, the subway stops there, and should you need to venture onto more remote horizons, do know that there’s also a platform to jump on a regular train, direct shuttle buses to Kenting, rental cars, scooter rentals and public City Bike share right outside of the station.
In the departure/arrival concourse, a few food options are available with the quintessential 7-11 and TRA lunchbox stand, Starbucks, Mövenpick, Mo’s Burger, Coco Curry, Pasadena Bakery, etc… For more options, head to the exit towards the subway, instead of taking the escalators down, stay on your left, and you’ll arrive at the food court of the Rainbow Bazaar Mall 彩虹市場. If nothing entices you, then keep walk some more and take the connecting bridge to the Mitsukoshi mall, and make your way to the B2 level. The basement level is host to a Jason’s market, many food gift stalls, some bakeries, and more dining options to satisfy your hunger. The food court area is actually quite nice with its dim lighting, wood tables and chairs, green plants on the walls separating tables, giving it a bit more flair than the usual food court mall.
After countless times through the Zuoying station, it will have taken a craving of udon and the opening of Marukame for me to finally venture into the basement of the Mitsukoshi, and concurrently extend my food hunting territory in this little corner of Kaohsiung.
If you follow @hungryintaipei, then Marukame Udon should sound familiar, the Japanese chain store opened last year in Taipei, and Kaohsiung is now graced with an outlet of its own.
I went on a weekday, a little past lunch time, there was no line, so I right away got down to business, got in line and ordered food, leaving no idle time to observe the udon hand-making or tempura frying process, but anyway, I was too hungry to care for it :twisted:.
With the scorching heat outside, I originally fancied the idea of eating some cold udon, but the gyuniku (beef) udon starting talking to me, so I changed my mind for it. My lunch date opted for the ontama bukkake, green onions and a “hot-spring” egg, with a side of vegetable tempura. We both got small bowls which turned out to be the right portion to leave us satiated, instead of saturated.
I gotta say that almost everything one the menu looked good, so even without having tasted the food, I was already mentally making plans to come back.
Needless to say, I loved my gyuniku udon, the meat was tender and well-seasoned, the broth was flavorful, and I loved that I could load my bowl with however much green onions I liked, muhaha. Were it not for a temporary dietary ban on fried food, I’d probably would have helped myself to spoonfuls of tenkasu (tempura crunchy bits), because yes, I did transgress and had a small tasting of it 😳 and thought that it added a nice crunchy texture to the udon soup. The vegetable tempura looked legitimate, my lunch date enjoyed it, and I despised her for it :evil:.
All in all, this was a satisfying first visit at Marukame Udon. I like the no-fuss cafetaria style where we get a tray, order our food, get our food, pay, then help ourselves at the condiment station. It’s a place sans chichi, and so, if they can keep the quality of the food consistent, I don’t see any reasons to not come back (providing there’s no crazy line 😉 ).
Name: Marukame Udon 丸龜製麵
Location in Kaohsiung: B2 level of the Mitsukoshi near the Zuoying HSR station
Website: fb/MarukameTW and Marukame’s corporate website
Additional Reviews+Photos: blogspot/hungryintaipei (Taipei branch), pixnet/yao55
Menu: Chinese and English
Business hours (in Kaohsiung): 11:00-21:30 (Monday-Thurday), 11:00-22:00 (Friday-Sunday)