Falling hook, line and sinker for seafood
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It seems that island diners simply can’t get enough of Mamaya. With locations in Aiea and Ala Moana Center flourishing, the prime bento venture recently opened up a cafe on Bishop Street — which has been greeted with lines that wind down the street each day for lunch.
Mamaya serves up what manager Takeshi Ouchi calls traditional, homestyle Japanese eats, mixed with some local influences.
“We have a lot of local customers, and we’ve added some Filipino dishes, too,” Ouchi explains.
One of Mamaya’s most popular bentos is Miso Butterfish ($7.99), which features luxurious sliced butterfish marinated in Ma-maya’s original miso sauce. It may be a fairly common dish, but there’s something special about Mamaya’s miso sauce that makes it the No. 1 seller. Ouchi says the restaurant’s recipe is a secret he can’t reveal, but here’s what he can share: “We marinate it for two days and nights in the sauce. It gives the fish a lot of flavor.”
For those with a slightly more adventurous palate, there’s Salmon Dynamite ($6.99), featuring broiled salmon topped with an imitation crab salad and a touch of hot sauce. “First we broil the salmon by itself, and then we add the seafood mix, and then we bake it again,” explains Ouchi.
Each bento comes with rice and various sides that may include a piece of mochiko chicken, seasoned broccoli, tamago and more.
And this dining spot has more than just bentos — including Spicy Ahi Poke Bowl ($7.50). The spicy ahi can be mixed and matched with Mamaya’s other ahi poke options. Plus, the restaurant currently is in the process of creating additional poke bowls to add to the menu.
Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea (and two additional locations)
Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.