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Step Up to the Plate

Kam Bowl Restaurant

By Lynsey Beth Futa Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
October 2, 2016

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The "Famous" Oxtail Soup $14.95

The “Famous” Oxtail Soup $14.95

Food does more than just sustain people; it brings comfort and security — which is especially true in Hawaii, and applies to many of the longtime businesses here in the Islands.

With the closing of Kenny’s Restaurant in Kamehameha Shopping Center, the surrounding community directly felt the heartbreaking loss. Having lost such a significant part of Kalihi, it only seemed appropriate to fill the void with an establishment that was equally loved by all generations; a place that was also no stranger to the area. This is where Kam Bowl Restaurant comes in, a familiar name among locals and a more-than-suitable replacement for Kenny’s.

Customers will be happy to hear that a part of Kenny’s will still be around, however, as Kam Bowl Restaurant has adopted many of its menu items — such as Chinese Chicken Salad and Egg Benedict — and even has taken on some of Kenny’s staff as well. So while patrons will find familiar, friendly faces among Kam Bowl’s employees, they also will discover that the same ideals of ohana are present.

Having opened at the end of January, Kam Bowl — whose owners are the same from its original Kalihi location, which closed in 2007 — received droves of customers who all anticipated that with the restaurant’s return, it would also mean The “Famous” Oxtail Soup would come, too. And they were right.

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Ultimately, this staple menu item exemplifies everything that Kam Bowl — and Kenny’s — strives to achieve: comfort and the “taste of aloha,” as owner Liko Higa puts it.

Free Rainbow Cake

From today until Oct. 8, Dining Out readers can bring in Kam Bowl’s coupon ad and receive a free slice of the eatery’s famous Rainbow Cake with the purchase of $12 or more at the restaurant.

Here’s The Scoop(S)

Kam Bowl also offers a mini-sized oxtail soup for $12.95 and an extra-large option for $22.95. The latter comes with four scoops of rice, instead of the normal two. It also is customary to see customers dump all their rice into the delicious soup. Still, everyone has their own method of consuming this local favorite, and there really is no right or wrong way to eat it.

Go Nuts!

A hearty helping of chopped green onions and Chinese parsley are added to the soup for an earthy and fresh taste. And don’t forget the roasted peanuts that offer a nice crunch.

Heads Or Tails?

The oxtail — which actually comes from an ox and not a cow, as seen in many other recipes — is boiled with secret seasonings for eight hours, until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and the soup sock is exploding with flavor.

The Final Touch

All oxtail soup-aficionados know that the meal cannot be complete without grated ginger, which is generously served on the side. Mix a little shoyu in with the spicy root and you’re good to go!

Kam Bowl Restaurant

Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St., Kalihi
Daily, 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (last call at 9:30 p.m.)