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Inside Feature

Home Cooking Just Like Mom’s

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Nathalie Walker
August 10, 2014

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Home-cooked meals often conjure up memories of mom in the kitchen preparing fragrant and flavorful dishes that her family waits anxiously to enjoy.

Mamaya, a name that means “mother’s house,” strives to offer that same freshly prepared goodness via a vast array of tasty bentos and musubi crafted from quality ingredients. Mamaya’s bento selections also are easy for customers to grab and go — thus providing added convenience for diners.

“When you eat here, you relax and enjoy, as everything tastes like Mom’s home cooking,” says manager Dan Kobayashi. “We focus on offering traditional Japanese taste and ingredients.”

Mamaya opened in December 2012, and is situated conveniently in the Diamond Head end of Pearl Kai Shopping Center. The establishment serves up delicious bentos daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kobayashi explains that all menu items are priced under $8, making Mamaya’s bentos some of the most affordable in town.

Kobayashi recommends Mamaya’s Nori Bentos, including Salmon ($5.25), Saba ($5.75) and Miso Butterfish ($6.25). The bentos are constructed with rice on the bottom, covered with a layer of nori and topped with seafood, along with vegetable croquette, mochiko chicken, Japanese pickles, kimpira gobo and seasoned broccoli. The popular miso butterfish bento features fishcake-on-a-stick.

“If you’re looking for something quick to pick up, it’s a good-sized bento and quite filling,” Kobayashi says.

Mamaya’s bentos are available all day, and while there is a vast selection presented on the bento table, Kobayashi also reminds diners that they can ask for their favorite bento combination, and it will be crafted to order in just a few minutes. This practice allows Mamaya to offer the convenience of a grab-and-go bento, while presenting its patrons with fresh dishes that haven’t been sitting out all day.

Diners have grown fond of Mamaya’s “build your own” bentos as well. These personalized bentos are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Customers may select from 11 hot and 11 cold items that are placed in a bento container (diners pay $7.75 per pound, and can mix and match their favorite choices to create the ultimate customizable meal). Available favorites include mochiko chicken, teriyaki chicken, tofu steak with vegetable glaze and eggplant with teriyaki glaze.

Customers can’t resist the eatery’s homemade musubi either, and as Kobayashi explains, diners may choose from nine different options ranging in price from $1.10 to $1.40 apiece. Customers continue to reach for these popular hand-held treats, which include Spam Musubi ($1.40) and Crunchy Ume ($1.30).

“You definitely can’t beat our prices, and you’ve got to try our bentos and musubi because the taste is outstanding,” Kobayashi says. “All of our food goes through a lot of taste testing. When we create recipes, we taste them, taste again and we will remake them until the items are perfect. The overall taste remains very consistent.”

Mamaya

Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy., A-7B, Aiea
492-1863
Daily, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.