Local Japanese Fare That’s Unbeatable
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Story by Michelle Lee
After the success of Mamaya’s first location at Ala Moana Center’s Shirokiya food court, it was only a matter of time before owners of the tasty Japanese eatery would expand the business. The time finally came last December when Mamaya launched its second location at Pearl Kai Shopping Center. Loyal customers quickly expressed their appreciation.
“Many of our customers would commute to Shirokiya from the west side of the island to eat lunch at Mamaya,” says Kayo Noguchi, Mamaya’s store manager. “Now they can experience the same great meal without traveling far.”
The new Mamaya offers the same delicious, local Japanese dishes as the original location with a few particularly inviting enhancements. Now located within the walls of its own store, the Pearl Kai Mamaya establishment offers significantly more dining space for patrons to sit and enjoy their meal.
One of the main features of the new restaurant is its full-blown deli station, which allows customers to create custom bentos. “Our deli items are freshly made each day from the highest quality ingredients,” says division manager Monette Guevarra-Lastino.
Side dishes available on the deli line include local favorites such as Fried Noodles, Mochiko Chicken, Tofu Steak and Eggplant with Teriyaki Glaze ($7.75 per pound).
Past the deli line, Mamaya also boasts an impressive poke station where consumers can pick from freshly made Spicy Ahi poke, Oyster Sauce Ahi poke, Shoyu Ahi poke and others. Prices are reasonable with the mini Poke Bowl at $5.75 and a regular Poke Bowl at $7.50.
For those who may not have the time to visit the deli or poke stations, Mamaya also offers a variety of pre-made delicious bento boxes such as Miso Butterfish ($9.95) and Mochiko Chicken ($7.50), two of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Additionally, customers may choose to try any of Mamaya’s popular Donburi bowls (starting at $5.75) or Musubis (starting at $1.30). “With so many tasty options, there is something for everyone no matter what your tastes are,” says Guevarra-Lastino.
Mamaya’s dedication to continually improving the flavor and quality of its menu items has resulted in the creation of several signature ingredients. “We offer a special multi-grain rice chock-full of ingredients such as whole oats, red rice, rye berries for customers who want a healthier rice option without compromising on taste,” says Guevarra-Lastino.
Other Mamaya-exclusive foods include a special miso sauce and honey mustard dressing, which the chefs use to marinate many deli and bento items. “Rather than use store-bought sauces, we prefer to use our own,” says Noguchi. “People always ask where they can buy them, but they are specially made for Mamaya.”
Equally as important as flavor and quality, cleanliness is also a top priority at Mamaya. Whereas many restaurants label their bento boxes with a sell-by date, Mamaya’s bento labels indicate a sell-by time. From the moment the chef prepares any bento, its content stays on the table for only four hours before it is thrown away. “This ensures every dish is as fresh and flavorful as possible,” explains Guevarra-Lastino.
In addition to the dine-in menu, Mamaya also offers takeout and catering options as well.
Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.