I have been waiting for an Udon specialist to invade Penang and my wish has finally been answered recently with the opening of Hinode Udon at Automall. This is the Taiwanese brand's first branch in Penang, the operating style is simple- canteen style. Order your preferred noodles and soup bases; proceed with the selection of tempura and various condiments. However, the absence of Zaru Udon upset me, I thought it would be a great joy to savor a bowl of refreshing-cold Zaru Udon but my crave was not granted. Hinode Udon serves soup based- Udon/ Ramen only (sorry to Onigiri fans too). Albeit some hits and misses around, Hinode Udon is definitely one of the few places that you would love to drop by to ease your Udon cravings without putting a dent on your wallet. Hinode Udon is occupying one of the most prominent spots of Automall, right next to Pie Harbor and Coffee Smith.
Udon with Miso Soup (Rm 4.90)
Pumpkin Ramen with Miso Soup (Rm 4.90)
Ramen with Kombu Dashi/ Kelp-Bonito Soup (Rm 4.90)
Diners can opt for Udon or Ramen and to choose between Miso Soup or Kombu Dashi Soup. Every order of Udon or Ramen comes with two slices of Aburaage/ Japanese Sweet Beancurd. The Udon was disappointing to my dismay, at least not the texture that I was anticipating. The ones I had back in Japan were way better than these. They were not slouchy but not the bouncy type that I would love to have. The Ramen, on the other hand, was unexpectedly better. The al-dente texture stayed there albeit being soaked in the soup for quite some time, probably a better option for those who prefer chewier, bouncier noodles. The classic Miso Soup was well-cooked with an agreeable amount of seasoning. The Miso aroma was present and goes well with the noodles. Kombu Dashi was not shabby either, it possesses a more apparent sweetness as compared to Miso and probably unique in its own way. Definitely no complaints for that hearty portion with a mere Rm 4.90. Complimentary condiments include chopped Spring Onions, Shichimi Togarashi/ Seven Flavor Chili Flakes, Tempura Bits, Chili Sauce and Shoyu. I feel a need of grated Ginger here.
Onsen Tamago/ Hot Spring Egg (Rm 2)
Tempura Prawn (Rm 3.50)
Aubergine Tempura (2 for Rm 1)
Chicken Karaage (Rm 3.50) and Soft Shell Crab (Rm 4)
Ajitsuke Tamago/ Japanese Soft-Boiled Egg (Rm 2)
To go with the noodles, one may opt for their assorted Tempura and extras. The Karaage was nicely executed- tenderly juicy with crispy crust but I thought it works better with some Japanese sweet sauce. Soft Shell Crab was mediocre, not good enough to wow me. The Ajitsuke Tamago was a huge disappointment. The Egg Yolk was overcooked, I was expecting some Yolk to ooze out but it did not. The flavor was there but it was a pity that the texture was not right. Onsen Tamago was nothing better but a soft-boiled egg without Dashi stock (or did they actually forget to add in Dashi stock?) and the texture was not even appropriately done. Not all extras are good but the option of selecting them makes the meal more customisable to your own liking.
Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 6.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Ambiance: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: No. 29C-01-10, Maritime Piazza, Lebuh Sungai Pinang 5/ Pesiaran Karpal Singh, 11600, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 3 pm; 6 pm to 11 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: N/A