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Ethnic Faves
Ethnic Faves

Saimin and Beyond

By Chris Fleck
July 1, 2012

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Pineapple Braised Pork Belly ($8.80). Photo by Chris Fleck

Shiro’s Saimin Haven has given what used to be a simple noodle dish personality. Franz “Shiro” Matsuo or Mistah Saimin, who died recently at age 93, glamorized saimin, making it artful and personalized. Shiro’s Saimin is consistent in its use of ingredients, making sure freshness is key. Even with dozens of affordable and unique saimin options on the menu, Shiro’s chefs reach out to customize various dishes outside of saimin. Chef Warlie’s latest creation is Pineapple Braised Pork Belly. Priced at $8.80, it comes with two scoops of rice and vegetables.

“A lot of places have an Okinawan pork. This is our version with a Hawaiian twist with the pineapple braise,” says Bryce Fujimoto, manager and grandson of Shiro Matsuo.

Shiro’s Saimin was built from the ground up by Mistah Saimin who always had a desire to work for himself. Although Shiro may be gone, his delightful and comical personality can be seen throughout all three restaurants (Waipahu, Waimalu and Ewa Beach), from his poems on the walls to his quirky messages within the menu. One warming poem Shiro created for his guests reads, “The place with a song in its heart and dedicated to the proposition that the hard working people must be taken care of with invigorating, nourishing, soulsifying food that is not too skimpy, plenty tasty and geared to the pocketbook.”

Well said, Mistah Saimin!

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

WAIMALU
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
488.8824
Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

EWA BEACH
91-0919 Fort Weaver Road, Ewa Beach
689.0999
Sunday-Thursday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.

WAIPAHU
94-256 Waipahu Depot Road, Waipahu
676.2088
Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.