Oodles of Noodles
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Upon entering Iyo Udon, diners are promptly treated to a wave of greetings from the friendly staff behind the service counter and surrounding dining area.
The traditional Japanese greeting and welcoming statement meant to honor and show respect to an entering guest sets the table perfectly for the delicious meal that awaits patrons at one of Honolulu’s newest eateries. The restaurant opened its doors in June, and since has emphasized a commitment to customer service and stellar Japanese-style cuisine headlined by an array of udon selections under the leadership of a new management team.
Located conveniently in Ala Moana Center, Iyo Udon offers plenty of free parking and also complimentary Wi-Fi internet access for guests. While placing their order at a cafeteria-style counter, diner will notice the restaurant’s open kitchen featuring a host of cooks whirring around with precision. After ordering a desired udon, customers may add a la carte items to their tray, including tempura and musubi selections, before paying for the meal at the self-serve counter’s end.
“Our goal is to serve the freshest boiled udon — tasty and hot,” says Takuya Ishigaki, general manager of Iyo Udon. “We have a friendly, energetic staff that is ready to help customers enjoy a great meal. Also, our prices are some of the lowest in Ala Moana Center, so diners receive excellent value.”
Ishigaki explains that the restaurant is named after the Iyo region of Japan’s Ehime Prefecture, in which udon is extremely popular — it’s eaten more often than rice — along with the area’s main exports including fruits, vegetables and nuts. Kamaage Udon ($3.75 regular, $4.75 large) is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and remains true to its Japanese roots by utilizing a precise cooking process that ensures the noodles are served at the perfect temperature and consistency — like mochi — along with a delicious dipping sauce.
Ishigaki also recommends Ontama Niku Bukkake Udon ($6.25 regular, $7.25 large), which features udon mixed with soft-boiled egg and topped with mentaiko (marinated cod) and pollock eggs commonly used in Japanese cooking to enhance flavor. Kitsune Udon ($4.25 regular, $5.25 large) also is a customer favorite, as the thick noodles are presented in a hot broth topped with kitsune-age.
Niku Udon ($5.75 regular, $6.75 large) is a hearty offering featuring udon swimming in hot broth topped with seasoned beef, as is Curry Udon ($5.25 regular, $6.25 large) with noodles in a tasty curry sauce.
Some of the tantalizing tempura selections available are Shrimp, Vegetable Croquette, Squid and Mixed Vegetable.
Iyo Udon specializes in popular pupus, such as Fried Chicken and Tonkatsu ($1.75 apiece), as well as Fishcake ($1.50 each), Sweet Potato, Fried Oyster and Pumpkin ($1.25 apiece). Sumptuous musubi is made fresh; diners can select from Tuna Mayo, Plum, Salmon, Salmon Furikake, Jumbo Inari ($1.50 each) and Spam ($1.75 apiece).
“We serve delicious food quickly and efficiently,” says supervisor Jasmine Stevens. “I call it ‘soul food.’ Customers always come first.”
Diners also are treated to incredible late-night specials, including 50 percent off musubi after 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Sundays) and half-priced tempura selections after 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Sundays) — the perfect remedies for satisfying one’s holiday shopping appetite!
Ala Moana Center, Level 2 Ewa Wing
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.