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Inside Feature

A Culinary Journey in the Heart of Waikiki

By Nicole Kato Photos By Nathalie Walker
August 19, 2012

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Buffets are the perfect places to try new foods without spending tons of money on an entree, and Five Star International Buffet, founded in Japan in 2003 by Noriyuki Kato, is the perfect place for anyone who wants five-star Japanese, Hawaiian and Western food in a comfortable atmosphere in the heart of Waikiki.

Conveniently located in Royal Hawaiian Center on the third level of Building C, Five Star International Buffet also has friendly service and reasonable prices. The lunch buffet for adults is priced at $19 and $12 for children 5-12 years old. Dinner costs $48 for adults and $24 for children 5-12. (Lunch and dinner are free for children 4 and under.)

There’s no doubt that happy hour specials are a favorite on Oahu, and a la carte items are available here during happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. Some of the stand-out drinks available at the establishment are Mojito and Blue Hawaii — both priced at $8.

Japanese cuisine ranges from Tempura to Braised Pork Soybean and Steamed Pumpkin, while Western influences are evident in Smoked Salmon, Pizza and Steak.

For those wishing to experience the Hawaiian cuisine of the Islands, Five Star International Buffet also offers Grilled Fish, Seafood Salad and Poke. And it wouldn’t reflect Hawaii’s melting-pot reputation without dishes from India, Korea and Vietnam.

Chef Yasushi Kawai and staff prepare excellent dishes for all to enjoy — about 30 dishes during lunch and 50 to 60 items during dinner.

With all these choices, it can be hard to decide what you want on your plate, but that’s where we come in, Dining Out readers.

No good buffet is complete without Prime Rib, and Five Star International Buffet does it right. The meat is tender and juicy, and sliced up for individual servings.

There also is a great selection of seafood dishes such as Baked Oysters served with a creamy mushroom sauce; Miso Butterfish marinated for one day in a mirin and soy sauce mixture before baking (the top sauce is tamamiso made with miso paste and egg); Seared Ahi with a spicy homemade gochujang (Korean-style hot sauce); and Seafood Dynamite that houses scallops inside of a crab, imitation crab and cheese mixture.

Lucky we live Hawaii! And that means fresh fruit is in abundance. The establishment capitalizes on this good fortune by offering fresh, sweet fruit for all to enjoy. It’s a great ending to a special dinner and a fresh pick-me-up during the warm lunch hours.

Often at buffet establishments, desserts are overlooked because of the abundance of great main dish options, but the dessert selection at Five Star International Buffet is not only delicious, it’s pleasing to the eyes as well. Customers can choose from Fruit Tart, Chocolate Mousse Cake, French-style Vanilla Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake and Coconut Cream Cake. And each dessert is the perfect size, so you can try them all!

The restaurant in Hawaii is the first location outside of Hokkaido, Japan, for Five Star International Buffet, which has acclaimed success at four locations in the Land of the Rising Sun.

According to the staff, the Hawaii eatery differs from those in Japan by featuring as much locally grown and raised meats, produce and seafood as possible every day.

It’s rare to find gourmet items in a buffet, but here customers are treated to an international gourmet assortment of good eats.

Five Star International Buffet

Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg. C, Third Level
2201 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
380.9300
Open Daily
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (Lunch)
2-5 p.m. (Happy Hour)
5:30-10:30 p.m. (Dinner)