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Cafeteria-style eating may sometimes be thought of as lacking in quality and freshness, but at Ala Moana’s Iyo Udon, the establishment is all about bringing the freshest and most tasty foods to diners daily. Choose from a handful of made-to-order udon options, and travel down the line picking out Japanese-inspired a la carte goodies, like Shrimp Tempura ($1.79 each), Fried Chicken ($1.99 each) and Sweet Potato Tempura ($1.29 each). Customize your freshly prepared bowl of noodles at the condiment station, with green onions, shredded red ginger, tempura flakes and shichimi (chili pepper). But if you’re hungering for something that’s both fresh and tasty, look no further than the always-popular Ontama Niku Bukkake Udon.
The bukkake broth is a more concentrated version of the original kake soup base, but packs a stronger flavor. “I prefer bukkake (broth) because it soaks up into the noodles,” shares business assistant manager Jasmine Stevens.
Diners are looking for that extra slurp in their noodles. The eatery’s udon is made in-house, cut before your eyes and always cooked to perfection — it’s thick and chewy enough to mop up all the delicious flavors.
The niku is thinly sliced seasoned beef, unique for its marinade, which includes onions, sugar, soy sauce and some of the establishment’s bukkake broth.
The shining feature is the ontama, a soft-boiled egg that when poked, allows its creamy yolk to run through the soup.
Stevens describes the house special as “a blissful mosh pit of flavor in your mouth.” She also mentions that the eatery is special because of how simple everything is, from the ingredients to even the restaurant’s interior, which dons a cozy handful of tables and benches situated under cloud-like light fixtures.
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.;
Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.