On Mother’s Day, Donburi – Be Happy
In honor of Mother’s Day (which is exactly a week away), I think it’s only appropriate that we start early and pay tribute to the many super women who gave us life. I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my wonderful mother, who’s not only amazing but, if I may add, an absolutely wwesome cook! Wanna know the real reason why I love food so much? It’s because I’ve been spoiled by my mom’s cooking!
With that, I bring to you oyakodon, which literally translates to “parent-and-child donburi,” and other donburi variations of the sort. The traditional oyako donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish, in which chicken, egg, green onions and other ingredients are all simmered together in a sauce and then served over the hot rice. The name of the dish, “parent-and-child donburi,” is believed to be a poetic reflection of the fact that both chicken and egg are usually used in the dish.
So, if you’re wondering what’s the perfect meal for Mother’s Day, look no further than donburi — which you’ll find on the menu at some of the best “Ono, You Know” establishments.
Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen
On a quest for authentic donburi, I found exactly what I hoped for at Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen in Kaimuki. Owner Joy Morihara takes pride in this family-owned restaurant, which has been serving up local favorites since small-kid time. Whenever I want to temporarily rid myself of life’s burdens, I escape to Sekiya’s where, for a moment, I can enjoy its signature Oyako Donburi and Orange Freeze treats that always made me smile as a child.
For $9.75, customers can marvel in the Oyako Donburi, Yakitori Donburi, Beef Tanin Donburi or Pork Tanin Donburi. The Shrimp Tempura Donburi or Tendon ($10.75) and Katsudon ($10.75) also are top sellers at Sekiya’s. For something a bit different, engage your senses in Unagi (eel) Donburi ($13.55).
“Our Oyako Donburi is our house special and probably our most popular,” Morihara says. “It’s a bowl of rice topped with an omelette mixture of long rice, onions and chicken. What makes it special is the light shoyu sauce that we use — it’s very tasty,” she says.
The Oyako Udon is another item worth raving about if you’re searching for oodles of noodles. Imagine the same fantastic oyako donburi topping placed atop a piping hot bowl of udon in a savory broth. Trust me, it’s the epitome of all things onolicious!
2746 Kaimuki Avenue
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There comes a time when you have to thank your lucky stars for the simple blessings and pleasures in life, and for me that time is now. I am ever so fortunate that Hanaki Restaurant is in close proximity to my home sweet home, giving me the opportunity to indulge in shabu shabu goodness as well as my other Japanese favorites whenever I pine for food. And the donburi simply doesn’t get any better than at Hanaki Restaurant.
The establishment serves its patrons good-size portions of this glorious dish, resulting in many diners leaving the restaurant with doggy bags in hand. Yet, I can’t say the same for myself, as you can find me devouring every last grain of rice — ultimate proof of just how delicious the donburi is — or rather, how big of an eater I am!
General manager Mark Mitsuyoshi says Hanaki has many types of donburi to choose from (priced at $11.95 each), including Beef Donburi, Chicken Donburi, Shrimp Tempura Donburi and Fish Katsu Donburi. All donburi is served with miso soup.
“Our donburi is prepared fresh with tender sweet onions in our donburi sauce with steamed eggs, topped with your choice of sliced chicken, sliced prime rib beef or our specialty shrimp tempura served over steamed white rice,” Mitsuyoshi explains. “Chicken kara age or the fried fish katsu also are popular options, and you can opt for udon noodles instead of rice. It’s a very refreshing change from the ordinary,” he says.
2752 Woodlawn Drive
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Kochi Restaurant & Lounge
Every now and then I think it’s nice to steer away from the traditional and go for something a bit more contemporary, but classic nonetheless. That, of course, is exactly what Kochi Restaurant & Lounge presents to diners on a nightly basis. What I love most about this restaurant, lounge and bar is the ono local Japanese grinds served full-force within a sleek and modern atmosphere.
And on my most recent visit to the restaurant, general manager Reid Mochizuki, along with sushi chef Aaron Kumura, were more than happy to share with me their creative approach to the traditional donburi concept.
“Our take on donburi is in sushi form,” Mochizuki says. “It’s called the Salmon Ikura Donburi ($12.95) and it goes along the same lines of the parent/child, chicken and the egg concept of the oyako donburi, but with a salmon and ikura twist. Aaron came up with this and it’s really unique.
Kumura has extensive experience as a sushi chef and his techniques are exquisite. The Salmon Ikura Donburi features sushi rice topped with ikura sitting among fresh slices of salmon. Kumura then finishes the dish off by garnishing it with diced cucumber and sprinkles of nori.
“Customers also can ask to have their salmon smoked,” Kumura says, adding, “the salmon already has such a nice flavor, we didn’t want to mask it with sauces or anything — we want to keep it simple.”
1936 South King Street
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