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Ono, You Know

Edamame… My Endless Love

By Alana Folen Photos By Anthony Consillio
February 9, 2014

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Recently, I’ve been adoring these little Japanese animated creatures — called Mameshiba — as their dog ears and animal-like faces always bring about a smile. Mameshiba has been a hit around the world, with numerous merchandising products, including stationery, plush toys, stickers, stamps and more. Of course, my favorite Mameshiba is Edamame who, aside from his cuteness, is named after my favorite bean. Yes, the edamame bean is so, so ono!

The edamame is a preparation of immature soybeans in a pod that’s typically boiled and steamed, and served with salt. Quite simple, yes. However, I was raised on edamame that packed a punch — I mean these pods drip with sesame oil and oyster sauce, and are coated with salt, chopped garlic and chili pepper. (Thanks, Mom!) I consider this the norm as far as edamame goes. I’ll eat a pot’s worth of this stuff until all that’s left is an overflowing bowl of empty pods.

Thanks to Mameshiba Edamame, I’ve been in pursuit of endless edamame treats. So this week, my journey to the following Ono, You Know establishments was to find an eclectic array of dishes that showcase edamame in very simple and versatile ways.

Clearly, Edamame and I are like two “beans” in a pod!

Restaurant Epic

Get ready to dive into edamame in its purest form — island style — at Restaurant Epic on Nuuanu Avenue. This contemporary establishment serves up a dazzling realm of flavors integrated into exceptional cuisine.

Operations manager and executive chef James Menza captured Sweet Chili Glazed Edamame ($5) just right. As one of the most requested items on the happy hour menu, Menza based Sweet Chili Glazed Edamame on his own personal tastes.

“This is exactly how I like my edamame,” Menza says of the pile of boiled soy beans sauteed with equal parts butter and garlic, and drizzled with a sweet chili mix. The details of this sweet-and-spicy concoction are kept firmly underwraps, but all we need to know is that it’s ono to the max. That’s all that matters, right? The verdict is a harmonious marriage of creamy and zesty. These beans rock my world!

Restaurant Epic also recently revamped its lunch and dinner menus, and is in the process of sprucing up its food and drink options. Now that’s epic!

Restaurant Epic
1131 Nuuanu Ave.
587-7877

Ocean House

It’s a fantasy-like dining experience come to life at Ocean House, an open-air, plantation-style restaurant located in Outrigger Reef on the Beach Hotel. Here, patrons are invited to relish the soothing sounds of frothy waves crashing along the shore, take in the cool sea breeze and partake in stellar cuisine.

A restaurant specialty and a favorite of mine is Hawaiian Sea Salt Slow-Roasted Premium Angus Prime Rib, along with Grilled Mahi Mahi seasoned with garlic, olive oil and fresh lemon, topped with strawberry, lychee, pineapple and papaya salsa.

But true dining enthusiasts know that you can’t truly appreciate the beauty of the main course without warming up your palate with an all-star appetizer. Take Edamame Hummus, for instance. Priced at $11.50, this starter hits the ball out of the park, as seasoned soybeans are pureed and infused with a sesame oil base, served with crispy tofu cakes and a balsamic vinegar emulsion. The result? A refreshing take on the traditional chick-pea spread — 100 percent local style! It’s delicious in every sense of the word.

“Edamame Hummus is very well received by both locals and tourists,” says restaurant general manager David Nagaishi. “Vegetarians love it, and the green color of the edamame is very appealing to the eye.”

So, turn the ordinary into lavish Island creations at Ocean House, right in the heart of Waikiki.

Ocean House
Outrigger Reef Hotel
2169 Kalia Road
934-2277

Japengo

Appreciate the flavors of the Pacific Rim at Japengo within Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. Chef de cuisine Jon Matsubara is a culinary genius — with more than a decade of experience in the industry — and showcases exotic tastes from regions around the world, while adding a flair of “California freshness” into the mix. Japengo takes pride in its cuisine, and the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability comes first and foremost.

So, make it a date and jive into Japengo. Treat yourself to the freshest ingredients found in exotic dishes, such as Kim Chee Edamame Potato Mash ($8). The name alone stirs up interest, and it’s love at first bite, as this electrifying dish features Yukon Gold Potatoes and zesty kim chee edamame blended with just the right amount of butter and seasonings. Perfect garlic undertones will dance on the tip of your tongue, making this unique edamame masterpiece a must with every visit to come. Japengo’s Kim Chee Edamame Mash is truly sophistication at its best.

Japengo
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
2424 Kalakaua Ave.
923-1234