Jaya One is increasingly awash with watering holes anxious for attention, but on a recent rainy evening, we were attracted instead to the inconspicuous corner that houses Marufuku Udon, a soothing sanctuary that supplies simple soul food.
Slippery, slurp-worthy noodles form Marufuku's raison d'etre, with a full page of varieties on the menu. We blew hot and cold before deciding on one cold choice and another hot one. The Salada Udon _ served with fragrant sesame sauce _ tasted encouragingly healthy, with a hearty helping of raw carrots, cucumber, tofu and other veggies, but with minimal oil and salt.
Alas, we proceeded to burn our tongues on the Nabeyaki Udon, a flavorsome hot-pot version cooked in 'nabe,' or a metal container, simmering with prawn tempura, egg & mushrooms. If the food is starting to sound strangely familiar, that might be because Marufuku is a spin-off from Taman Desa's Sanuki Udon (though this outlet seems to offer a wider range).
Don't skip the yakitori _ a smoky, succulent steal at RM2-3 per skewer, with all the innards we could eat (along with other chicken parts & meat, of course). We weren't fans of the bland chicken leg, but the speared skin was sinfully crisp and the heart was heart-stoppingly addictive.
Gizzard (marvelously crunchy and chewy), alongside lightly salted onion & okra.
Chicken liver & bishop nose. You can choose to have your yakitori _ available only after 5pm, by the way _ grilled in either a soy-based sauce or salt. The chicken seems to go better with the pleasantly sweet sauce.
Lotsa side dishes too, including chicken 'karaage.' Crusty on the outside, tender within.
Kakiage pumpkin. Greasy enough to generate gallons of guilt.
Edamame. Only because someone HAD to have it (hint: it wasn't me!).
Booze makes everything better. Umeshu shots with iced water (which we left alone).
Asahi Super Dry. Crisp and clean-tasting. Are we acquiring a taste for beer? Hmmm.
Cold house-pouring sake. Surprisingly strong stuff.
Plenty of food and drinks, but the bill only totaled 80 ringgit, thanks to bowls of udon that mostly cost below 10 ringgit. The service charge seems to be waived, but we were truly thankful for the staff's thoughtfulness: Instead of bringing out all our orders in a rush, they spaced everything out nicely, enabling us to enjoy one or two dishes at a time before efficiently coming out with more. What makes it more impressive is that we never even requested it that way.