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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Raving About Ramen

By Ali Resich Photos By Nathalie Walker
January 13, 2013

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For nearly five years, Chinpei Ramen has delighted customers with its deeply nourishing bowls of ramen as well as its ever-growing menu of Japanese-inspired dishes. Even though Hawaii diners have only been exposed to owner Yoshi Hashigami’s flavor-packed recipes since 2008, many of his dishes are more than half a century old, spanning back to his father’s restaurant in Osaka, Japan, which remained open for 55 years.

After taking over the operation and moving to Oahu 11 years ago, Hashigami continues to serve his father’s traditional recipes today, proving that they have stood the test of time.

Known for its ramen, Chinpei offers a variety of soup bases that are all-natural and MSG-free. In addition to Miso Ramen, Spicy Ramen ($9.60, small; $10.40, large) is among the most popular items. Prepared with a hearty miso-base, this soup packs a punch of richness to match its thick broth. A heap of noodles, ground pork, char siu, green onion, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots kick up the savory factor, while a sweet hint of Mirin (a Japanese rice wine) distinguishes this comforting dish from other bowls of ramen.

When ordering any soup, patrons may choose from thick or thin noodles. For $1 more, select from udon or organic flour thin noodles as well. Vegetarian and gluten-free diners especially love the restaurant’s Vegetable-Yasai Ramen, which can be prepared with yam noodles ($1 more).

A vast array of a la carte items allows the eatery to offer its loyal customers a slew of choices they’ll never tire of. Lamb and Onion ($9.50), for example, features a shoyu-based Japanese sauce that the cooked meat and vegetables soak right up.

“It’s my father’s recipe,” explains Hashigami when describing this old-favorite.

Newer items also spice up the menu such as Chicken Tofu Salad ($10, regular; $9, small), which consists of a revitalizing blend of baby greens, chicken thigh, tofu, onion, corn, cucumber and tomato on a bed of spring greens. A creamy shoyu dressing tops it off, making it the perfect get-healthy dish for the new year.

Hashigami also suggests trying his take on Sweet and Sour Chicken ($9.95, side order). “The dish is Chinese, but the taste is Japanese,” he explains. “The sauce is more Japanese-style because it’s made with sake.”

When it comes to good eats, Hashigami has had a lifetime of practice to ensure you’ll enjoy these tasty dishes. “They are the most popular items with our returning customers,” he says. “And they taste so good!”

Chinpei Ramen

2080 S. King St., Honolulu
947.5919
Monday, 5-10 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.