The Popular Japanese Fast Food Chain You Can Experience In The US

Udon noodles, the thick and chewy noodles served in bowls of hot dashi-broth (per MasterClass), are one of Japan's most widely enjoyed foods. While they were traditionally made at home, udon noodle stalls began to appear in the 1600s as the Sengoku Period — a roughly 100-year stretch of almost constant civil war and social unrest — came to an end (via MATCHA). As Japan entered the 17th century, people were better able to introduce, enjoy, and popularize commercial foods. Today, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says that udon is Japanese society's equivalent of fast food i.e., quick, tasty, and inexpensive.

In 2009, however, one restaurant chain officially took the lead in the udon market, having opened the most udon shops across Japan. Marugame Udon, or as it's known there, Marugame Seimen (via Japan Wireless) has 800 locations in Japan alone and serves the noodle dish out of open-style kitchens. If you're not in Japan, though, don't worry; with 200 more locations outside of the country — 12 in the United States — you won't have to travel across the world to enjoy it for yourself.

You can enjoy Marugame Udon in Texas, California, and Hawaii

With locations in cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu, Marugame Udon has brought its noodles all the way across the world. According to Japan Wireless, the restaurant chain's noodle expert, or Mensho, visits every branch to show the cooks how the noodles are prepared to ensure the consistency of the udon's quality, texture, and flavor across each Marugame Udon location.

Not only can you count on getting the same quality food as you would in Japan, but you can also look forward to the same entertaining experience. Each Marugame Udon location, both in Japan and not, follows an open kitchen system. As such, the experience is both entertaining and interactive. One Instagram user shows how guests are served cafeteria style, moving down the line as they watch chefs speedily prepare their noodles by hand and top their bowls with soft-boiled eggs and other fixings, before making their way to the self-serve tempura station.

In addition to Marugame Udon's house-made matcha and teas, you can also look forward to unique menu items at different locations. While many of their classic offerings like Nikutama, curry, Kitsune, and udon, as well as vegan-style udon, are available at every store, tempura items and sides vary by location. You'll have to visit a location for yourself to see for yourself what's available and the udon everybody's talking about.