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Vegetarians Go Green at Genki

By Rasa Fournier Photos By Nathalie Walker
July 15, 2012

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Mention sushi in a conversation and invariably people see it as synonymous with raw fish. The good news for vegetarians is that, accompanying the customary offering of rice and seaweed, are a variety of options that suit a plant-based palate.

Enter Genki Sushi-Kapolei, and district manager Amato Garlitos has you covered. We have Kappa Maki (cucumber), Oshinko Maki (daikon) and Ocean Salad, which has no fish oil — it’s just seaweed and sesame oil,” says Garlitos. “We also have Edamame, which is simply steamed soy beans and salt. Of these, the most popular with our customers are the cucumber maki and edamame.”

With all four dishes priced at $1.50 each, Genki Sushi might be the final outpost for affordable dining in Hawaii. Beyond the fabulous price, the first thing you’ll notice when you sit down is that the Japanese attention to aesthetics is prominent even when it comes to fast food. In fact, it’s such a delicate and refined experience that, even though sushi offers a quick and satisfying meal, “fast food” seems too crass a term.

Each booth beside the kaiten sushi — sushi served on a conveyor belt — comes with everything you need. Pick up one of the tea cups, and servers will quickly fill it with piping hot green tea. There are tiny saucers you can fill with shoyu for dipping your sushi, and mix a dab of wasabi into the shoyu if you relish an intense zing of heat with each mouthful. Fill another saucer with a heap of pink pickled ginger from a box at the table, and use it to garnish each bite for even more gastronomical enjoyment.

A few veggie selections drift by on the conveyor belt, but to get just what you want, order from one of the servers. If you’re not already a chopstick expert, this is the time to try it, as each piece of Kappa or Oshinko Maki is the perfect size to lift and pop right into your waiting mouth. Each piece really is its own perfect little package, something to feast the eyes on as well as the taste buds.

Genki Sushi

Kapolei Commons
4450 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei (and various locations)
674.4227
10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday