The most popular udon restaurant chain in Japan has come to town. Marugame Udon & Tempura store at Ion Orchard opened on March 16 and is the 1,001th outlet in the world. China has close to 50 stores and Japan more than 900. The Ion outlet, a collaboration between the people behind the China and Japan stores, is the first of five to open this year. The rest should be placed in the heartlands.

This self-service joint imports slabs of raw dough from its production plant in China, which uses ingredients from Japan. The udon is then prepared on-site using three Japan-imported machines that cost a whopping $700,000. These machines mimic traditional techniques to knead, shape and cut the dough into noodles. The udon served here is the fat sanuki variety, which originated from Kagawa Prefecture and is the most popular type of udon in the world. It has a squarish cross-section and a bouncy texture. The noodles also come in two portion sizes: a regular bowl has 260g of udon and the large one has 120g more.

The local cooks at this outlet spent almost a month in the China branches learning how to prepare the noodles and stock. While the offerings here follow the same recipe as the ones in Japan, some items, like an odd sounding soursop udon, was removed to cater to local tastes.

View photo gallery above for our review. 

Marugame Udon & Tempura Singapore is at #B4-67/68 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, S238801. Tel: 6732-0687. Open daily 11am-10pm. Last orders at 9.30pm.