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Chew On This

Grab-‘n-go delights that are dynamite

By Rachel Breit Photos by Rachel Breit
April 8, 2013

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A classic withstands the test of time. The traditional Japanese bento is one such example; it’s still relevant in our day and age with its perfect blend of flavors and convenience. Mamaya understands the value of the bento, in fact, the entire restaurant is founded on the same principals of convenience and customization.

“People don’t need to wait. They can just grab-and-go,” says operations manager Monette Lastino of the offerings at Mamaya. And, as an added bonus, customers have the option of customizing their bentos, substituting multi-grain rice for white rice or changing up sides and garnishes simply by telling the cashier. “People don’t need to buy the stuff they don’t like.”

Fans of seafood will explode with joy for Salmon Dynamite ($8.50). Dashimarinated, broiled sockeye salmon is topped with a creamy blend of mayo, crab, shrimp, and garnished with hot sauce and green onions. Each bite is filled with a spicy kick that awakens your palate and segues to creamy seafood indulgence and firm, flakey salmon.

Accompanying the salmon are the typical bento offerings: a slice of sweet tamago, mochiko chicken (the breading is specially made for Ma-maya), a mouthful of Redondo’s teriyaki
hotdog, hijiki (pickled seaweed salad), pickled daikon, kiriboshi (daikon cooked with carrots) and, of course, rice (multi-grained or white).

While Mamaya stocks many fresh bentos throughout the day, it also offers hot and cold selections from the self-serve deli for $7.75 a pound. On the hot side: deep-fried ahi belly that’s sautéed with ginger and Mamaya’s own teriyaki glaze is a big hit with locals. Tofu steak topped with shiitake mushrooms is a favorite for vegetarians. On the cold side: mashed potato salad is a combination of mashed potatoes, corn, cucumbers and bacon bits, bound together with a touch of mayo. The creamy Yukon golds and the crunch of the vegetables provide the perfect balance in this spin off of the classic potato salad. Various Japanese-imported pickles, including namasu, round out the cold section.

If you need a quick fix for lunch or dinner and crave a customizable mix of Japanese and local favorites, make a pit stop at Mamaya. For added expedience, call in and place
your order in advance.

Mamaya

Pearl Kai Shopping Center 98-199 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
492-1863
Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.,
Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.