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‘Dare to Create’ at Hanaki

Features Inside Feature

May 28, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which can only mean beach-side barbecues, backyard cookouts and potlucks at the park — in other words, three days filled with foods like greasy burgers, creamy salads and gooey desserts that leave most folks dreading the impending approach of swimsuit season.

  • Spicy soup and miso soup with a variety of items to include in the hot pot. Price varies.
  • Hakutsuru Iced Sake ($9.95)
  • Beef Udon ($11.95)
  • Vegetable Udon ($10.95)
  • Customers can choose desserts and other edible items already placed in colorful bowls.
  • Customers can choose desserts and other edible items already placed in colorful bowls.
  • General manager Mark Mitsuyoshi
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Not to worry. There is still a way to fill up without filling out, and that’s with a delicious and nutritious meal from Hanaki Restaurant.

The locally owned restaurant first opened in Manoa Marketplace in 1996 as a Japanese all-you-can-eat buffet but switched to shabu shabu last year in order to accommodate customers’ changing tastes.

“We decided over a year ago to change over our Japanese buffet to a more healthy style of restaurant, yet still maintain great quality in food selections and especially in the taste,” explains general manager Mark Mitsuyoshi. “With our new menu style, anybody can enjoy a great tasting and affordable meal.”

In shabu shabu, diners cook their meals in table-top hot pots filled with a bubbling broth or soup base. Not only does the boiling liquid cook the raw vegetables, meats and other ingredients to perfection, it also injects a healthy dose of flavor to the dish without adding a ton of calories or fat (depending on the soup).

“I believe we are the only shabu shabu restaurant using traditional soup base such as konbu dashi, miso and curry, but with a blend of local-style favorite flavors as well,” says Mitsuyoshi of the house-made broths that also include a light hanaki, medium sukiyaki and special spicy recipe.

All soups cost $5 each, which also includes access to a sauce station and shave ice bar in the dining room.

“We also have a healthy herb soup for $9,” he says of the refreshing blend of goji berries, dried dates, ginseng and special herbs recently added to the menu.

Once a soup is selected, customers pick out which vegetables and meats they’d like to add to the mix. Vegetable plates cost $2.50 to $3.50 each and include a variety of fresh produce — enough to fill an entire 6-by-6-foot refrigerator! — while meat and seafood plates start at $4.50 for items such as pork loin, prime rib, lamb, tsukune meat-ball, arabiki, hot dogs, chicken, fish balls, crab legs, shrimp, clams, oysters, squid, salmon, miso butterfish and baby octopus.

Rice, noodles, hot tea and desserts also are available, as is a long list of soft drinks, beer, wine and sake.

“For those who don’t want shabu shabu, we also have an a la carte menu with udon ($10.95-$12.95), donburi ($11.95) and combo plates,” Mitsuyoshi says.

The freshly prepared combination plates ($9.95-$12.95) are a true favorite at Hanaki, according to Mitsuyoshi, because customers get the chance to add even more items like fried fish katsu, tako yaki, homemade gyoza, deep-fried oysters, shoyu chicken and shoyu tofu to their meals.

“Most tables do the shabu shabu with side orders of shrimp tempura or chicken karaage,” he says.

And it is exactly this freedom to order what they want, how they want it that keeps customers satisfied, not overly stuffed.

“With our shabu shabu, guest can customize their whole meal to satisfy their own unique tastes,” Mitsuyoshi says. “‘Dare to Create’ may be our slogan, but it’s true; with our many selections of soups bases, meats, vegetables, seafood and noodles, it’s your own imagination that will create the best shabu shabu pot ever … if you let it.”

Hanaki Restaurant

  • Where
    • Manoa Marketplace
    • 2756 Woodlawn Drive
    • Honolulu, HI 96822
  • Call
    • (808) 988-1551
  • Hours
    • 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    • 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Wednesday – Monday
    • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Notes
    • To continue offering only the freshest in ingredients, menu items and prices are subject to change without prior notice.