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Foodie Fare
Foodie Fare

Hifumi hits the spot

Story By Christina O'Connor Photos By Leah Friel
May 27 - June 2, 2012

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Although it may seem odd that a Japanese restaurant is located in the Chinese Cultural Plaza in the heart of Chinatown, one taste of the food at Hifumi Restaurant will rid customers of any misconceptions they may have. Hifumi offers up a wide array of Japanese favorites like donburi, mendon, a variety of bentos and more. With its casual, welcoming atmosphere, Hifumi Restaurant is the perfect place to stop for lunch or to enjoy a leisurely dinner for a special occasion.

And Hifumi’s reasonable prices are among the best in town.

“Compared with other places, our portions are really big and our prices are really good,” says Elise Ching, a longtime waitress who has been with the restaurant for more than 20 years. “This is a really good deal.”

Ching describes the food as local-style Japanese cuisine.

Some of Hifumi’s most popular dishes include Steamed Opakapaka with ginger onion ($16.95) and the Sashimi Special ($15.95). And right now, diners can take advantage of a special deal – Miso Butterfish with salad ($13.95). Topping the list of customer favorites, Ching says, is Giant Jumbo Shrimp Tempura ($13.95), which includes two pieces of shrimp tempura and four pieces of vegetable tempura, and also comes with miso soup, tsukemono and rice.

“We serve the biggest size shrimp tempura,” Ching says.

Hifumi’s bentos are also among the most popular menu items. Bentos meals are served with rice, miso soup and tsukemono. Bento offerings include Chicken Teriyaki ($11.45 a la carte; $17.45 with sashimi; and $22.95 with sashimi and tempura) and Tonkatsu ($12.95 a la carte; $18.95 with sashimi; and $24.95 with sashimi and tempura).

Other popular offerings are the wafu options. Ching explains that creating a wafu dish entails grilling a piece of meat or fish, and then seasoning it with fresh garlic, sake and ground onions. The wafu entrees have been so popular that Hifumi has been steadily expanding its wafu items over the years.

“We have added more to the menu,” Ching says. “Now we have Wafu Salmon ($13.95), Wafu Chicken ($11.95) and Wafu Pork ($12.95).” In addition, Ching notes that customers can request a variety of other menu items to be served wafu-style.

Despite volatile market prices, Ching boasts that Hifumi has managed to keep its prices relatively constant throughout the years – and the good prices are one thing that has kept customers coming back.

“We try to get the best value, the best deal for the customers, so that they are happy,” Ching says.

On the Side

Hifumi Restaurant has been wowing customers with its reasonable prices and tasty local-style Japanese cuisine for more than 40 years. Longtime waitress Elise Ching reveals how the restaurant has managed to continue to keep its customers happy after all those years – by keeping its food fresh and healthy.

“We use really quality ingredients,” Ching says, adding that Hifumi does not add MSG to any of its dishes. “We want the people to enjoy our food.

“We get fresh fish, not the frozen ones, and they’re a good size,” Ching says.

Ching also credits the creative, meticulous chefs at Hifumi for the restaurant’s flavorful dishes.

“The chefs find out which sauces really match (the dish),” Ching says.

If you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, Hifumi could be the answer.

“A lot of people come here for special events, like birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers – anything,” Ching says.

“You just let us know, and we will try to help you get what you want.”

Hifumi Restaurant

  • Where
    • Chinese Cultural Plaza
    • 100 North Beretania Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96817
  • Call
    • (808) 536-3035
  • Hours
    • Lunch
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • Dinner
    • 5 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
    • Tuesday – Sunday
  • Notes
    • Covered parking available.