A Favorite Destination
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The lines that regularly streamout the door — particularly on Saturdays — from the crack of dawn to right after the lunch rush, leave little doubt that Fukuya Deli and Catering remains a preferred eatery for Honolulu’s hungry.
Credit the variety of food selection available, says owner Arrison Iwahiro.
“We’re trying to keep a traditional style of local Japanese food, which refers to the term okazuya,” he explains. “That means you can choose the items that go into your bento or your lunch. We’re trying to keep that tradition; it’s an older style. If you come to an okazuya or any other type of deli, every place has a few items that others don’t have, and that’s what makes you different. We put out a fair amount of items, selection-wise.”
While Iwahiro has been the restaurant owner for a little more than a decade, Fukuya Deli and Catering has been his family’s business since 1939. From a small business that once served quarry workers at the University of Hawaii, Fukuya Deli and Catering has since expanded its menu and services.
“We started going into catering, and during the early ‘60s to maybe the mid-’70s, we got very popular with weddings,” Iwahiro says. “Every weekend almost, we would do weddings.”
Iwahiro acknowledges that, with the transition in choice of many wedding venues — from churches to more hotels — weddings are no longer the business’s prime event, in terms of catering. But the restaurant remains a popular choice for many on other occasions.
“Funeral catering is the biggest part of our business right now, as far as the catering side is concerned,” Iwahiro confirms.
Some of Fukuya’s most requested menu items for both catering and walk-ins include the different varieties of chicken, among other sushi and a la carte items, according to Iwahiro.
“Our chickens are really popular — mochiko chicken, fried chicken, nori chicken,” he says. “The shrimp tempura goes out a lot; the potato hash and our fish selection are pretty popular. We don’t have a real ‘signature dish,’ but we’re known for our sushi and mochi.”
Because of Fukuya’s reputable mochi, special events like Girls’ Day, Boys’ Day and New Year’s Day are especially important to the eatery.
“Boys’ Day and Girls’ Day are tied to mochi, so that’s why we do this (special snacks),” Iwahiro explains. “New Year’s is another big mochi day. For Christmas, we basically have our regular items — the snacks and cookies — and try to dress them up a bit.”
For walk-ins at Fukuya Deli, the average price range is $6-12, according to Iwahiro. With the delicatessen’s custom-order bento style, consumers determine the price of their meals. Deli selections range from chow funn noodles ($1.50) and potato hash ($0.95) to fish patties ($1.65) and egg maki ($4.90).
“It depends on what you get; it’s a wide range,” Iwahiro says. “Certain items, like the miso butterfish, are expensive, and some people will get two, so that plate lunch (price) goes real high already.”
Iwahiro is looking to add a few more items to the eatery’s menu. The most recently added items on the catering menu include the nori chicken and the furikake mahimahi. Regardless of possible menu changes, however, Iwahiro continues to emphasize the quality of his products’ appearance.
“We take a lot of time and effort to make things as presentable and as nice as possible,” Iwahiro states. “We try to do a good job, presentation-wise and service-wise. It’s not just quantity (that’s important) … it’s the quality.”
Fukuya Deli and Catering
- 2710 South King Street
- Honolulu, HI 96826
- (808) 946-2073
- 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Wednesday – Sunday