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Getting Cozy With Ageless Faves

Columns What's for Lunch?

August 18, 2013

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Comfort food has that magical ability to instantly bring you back to happy times. How is it possible? In the hippocampus of the brain where neural connections are made, the combination of ingredients make the neurons send signals back to the same part of the brain as before — the happy times. The phenomenon is known as relational memory.

At Asahi Grill, where some recipes have not changed in 20 years, you can bet you’ll get your fix of comfort food and a fill of good memories.

Take for example, Asahi’s “Famous” Oxtail Soup (regular $13.95, small $11.95). It originates from the classic recipe from Kapiolani Coffee Shop, and its comforting abilities are almost medicinal in nature. Its broth, garnished with Chinese parsley and green onions, revitalizes, and the meaty oxtails and two scoops of rice satiate. “People have asked for just the broth to take home when they get out of the hospital,” says manager Victoria Sayno, attesting to the soup’s soothing nature.

If succulent meat is your go-to for comfort, order what the regulars have been ordering for more than two decades. Baked Short Ribs ($11.25) served smothered in Spanish sauce is a Tuesday special. The tender meat practically falls off the bone and is enhanced by the tomato-based sauce made with bell peppers, celery, carrots and Portuguese sausage. The meal is complete with two scoops of white or brown rice and macaroni or tossed salad.

If Japanese-style local favorites are more your speed, then Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Don ($8.95) will hit the spot. Strips of tender chicken with the smoky flavor of the grill are served in a bowl over rice with two slices of sweet, fluffy tamago (egg). The flavor is marinated into the chicken and the touch of heat comes from a lattice of spicy mayo. A dash of furikake adds the final touch. The bowl is accompanied with tsukemono and miso soup with noodles. “You’re going to get full,” says Sayno.

So, if you need to duck out of the office for a lift of happy memories via comfort food, Asahi Grill will do the trick.

Asahi Grill

515 Ward Ave., Honolulu
593-2800
Sunday-Thursday, 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

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