We were there earlier today for the pre-launch, for a preview of some of their offerings. Both outlets operate a self-service system, whereby diners order, collect and pay for their order at the counter.
Yoshinoya is the oldest and largest restaurant chain for beef bowl, with over 1800 outlets over the world. The famous beef bowl (gyudon) is prepared with its secret recipe broth seasoned with savoury herbs and spices together with large sweet onions, served on a bed of fluffy premium Japanese rice. The beef used is imported Australian beef. For the preview, only the beef bowl was available - I chose the regular one (RM9.80) with a side of miso soup (RM2.80).
The Japanese gentleman before me added some of the pickled ginger (beni shoga) on his gyudon, so did I. The beef was tender and well-flavoured, we enjoyed it. Portion is good, and prices are reasonable.
Yoshinoya Malaysia does not serve pork, however you can also get chicken rice bowls. They also do curry rice and sukiyaki nabe.
Hanamaru was founded in 2001 in Takamatsu, the capital city of Kagawa Prefecture, where Japan's famous home of Udon. They specialise in sanuki udon here, which is our favorite type of udon. According to the staff, the noodles are made fresh in-house at the restaurant daily. You can actually watch the noodle making process at the front. The noodles are made from high quality first-grade flour and in order to serve the best to the customer, the cooked noodles are kept for no longer than 30 minutes.
They have 13 types of udon available at this outlet, at the time of writing. Price start from RM7 for a basic udon (zaru udon, kamaage udon and kake udon). They also have standard udon (RM8 - bukkake, ontama bukkake, kamatama, kitsune, wakame), chef's specialty (salad udon, curry udon, and beef udon) and chicken soup udon.
Firstly, we tried the chicken soup-based udon - tori dashi udon (RM10) and spicy miso udon (RM12). I would say portions are pretty generous here. I liked the texture of the noodles here a lot. They serve the chicken soup udon with eggs we usually get with ramen, ajitama (think runny yolks... mmmm!). The soup is smooth and light, though I prefer the spicy miso as it has a little more body.
Spicy Miso Udon
Tori Dashi Udon
Round 2 - when I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to try it. The onsen egg looked so enticing on the menu, and it certainly did not disappoint. Perfection! The ontama bukkake is light, served with a broth made from dried kelp and sardines.
I forgot to ask if they serve just the onsen eggs, I would so go back for that!
Hubby prefers the more flavorful curry udon, one of the chef's specialty here at Hanamaru Udon.
You can also find some tasty tempura over here. They are priced at RM3 per piece, with the exception of RM5 for the ebi (prawn) tempura. Our favorites are the prawn tempura and karaage (chicken). However, we found the batter for the kakiage to be slightly too heavy for our liking.
Verdict: Nice Japanese fast food!
Opening times: 11am-10pm daily.
Location: Lot T-015B, Level 3, Mid Valley Megamall, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur. (Opposite exhibition hall)
Tel: 03-2201 8789
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