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Kiwami’s Back and Better Than Ever

By Michelle Lee Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
December 8, 2013

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Almost one year ago, when Japanese noodle shop Kiwami Ramen closed the doors of its Wakiki Shopping Plaza eatery, die-hard ramen connoisseurs everywhere were left wondering if the restaurant’s celebrated dishes would ever make a comeback. After much anticipation, Kiwami returns to the culinary scene with a new storefront conveniently located on Keeaumoku Street.

The noodle shop’s name, which stems from a Japanese word meaning “the highest level of accomplishment,” aptly portrays the dedicated work ethic behind executive chef Yasuyoshi Sato and his hardworking team of cooks, who toil tirelessly to produce the best quality ramen dishes.

“Our goal is to make ramen that is not only delicious, but also good for you,” says Miho Inada, owner of Kiwami Ramen. “We are especially proud of our ramen broth, which is made from boiling whole chicken and fruits for more than five hours.”

As a result, all of Kiwami’s soup bases contain a high amount of collagen, a natural protein proven to improve skin elasticity.

Debunking the misconception that all ramen is unhealthy, one of Kiwami’s most popular dishes is Shoyu Ao ($9.25), a soy sauce-based soup topped with locally grown mizuna (mustard spinach), chicken breast, bamboo shoots and jalapeno slices. “It’s a great choice for those who want something lighter,” says Inada.

Loyal fans will also be happy to see back on the menu the famous Goma Miso Tsukemen ($10.25), a hearty ramen with noodles that come separately to be dipped into a sesame-based sauce. “It’s like the Japanese noodle version of the French dip sandwich,” says Inada. “Ten years ago we were the first ramen shop to have it in Hawaii, and to this day it’s one of our most frequently ordered dishes.”

Mindful of its surroundings, Kiwami uses every opportunity to embrace produce from local farms as well as ingredients unique to the Hawaiian Islands. The restaurant’s Shio Ramen (starting at $8.75) uses Hawaiian salt as a base for its soup, which contains many minerals and nutrients helpful for the body’s digestion. “It’s actually one of my favorite dishes,” says Inada. “Using Hawaiian salt gives the broth a very clean, light flavor.”

To complement the meal’s starch content, Chef Sato suggests diners try the Garden Salada ($7.75), a refreshing combination of Nalo Farm baby greens, avocado and Feta cheese. Another popular side dish is Homemade Gyoza ($5.99) prepared with pork and vegetable stuffing that is wrapped by hand every day.

Public parking is available below the restaurant.

Kiwami Ramen

641 Keeaumoku St. 2F, Honolulu
955-1122
Open daily, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.