So you think McDonald’s is fast?  Well, they’re not compared to Sanuki Udon Hanamaru.  To watch the staff of Hanamaru is to see a marvel of Japanese service process design. The kitchen moves like a super efficient production line with commands passed along the chain so that your bowl of noodles is assembled in about 10 seconds flat.

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A variety of tempura and staff too busy to notice someone taking photographs | Photo by Gregory Lane

In the interests of research I went for what I thought was the cheapest bowl of noodles on the menu – a ‘small’ size ‘Oroshi Shoyu Udon’ for 189yen (I later discovered there is a simpler bowl for 105yen!) Oroshi Shuyu is daikon radish grated to a mush with a dollop of soy sauce in it – that looks and tastes better than it sounds.  After you’ve given over about the same amount of money as you’d pay for a small can of beer at the supermarket, there is a self service area where you can pile on as much ‘tenkasuu’ (fried bubbles of leftover tempura batter) as you like and help yourself to water.

I don’t have a big appetite and I’ve been holding back on carbs recently so the small size was actually plenty big enough for me.  However, most (but not all) people in line were ordering the medium size.



My Oroshi Shoyu Udon for 189yen | Photo by Gregory Lane

As you may have noticed from the picture of the kitchen above, they also offer a variety of tempura for 100 to 200yen each depending on the ingredients. At 189yen, the Oroshi Shoyu Udon is the second cheapest thing on the menu with the next costing 299yen for a small size.

Here is a sampling of the menu.

Item:SmallMediumLarge
Kake105yen210yen315yen
Oroshi Shoyu189yen294yen399yen
Kitsune Udon299yen399yen504yen
Beef Gobo Udon399yen504yen609yen

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