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A Lasting Legacy In Local Food

By Christina O Connor Photos By Anthony Consillio
November 6, 2016

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Nabeyaki Saimin ($10.10)

Nabeyaki Saimin ($10.10)

For his whole life, Franz Shiro Matsuo wanted nothing more than to open his own restaurant. He spent years working under different chefs, all with the goal of one day running his own place.

He realized that dream in 1967 when he opened Shiro’s Hula Hula Drive In, before moving to Waimalu Shopping Center in 1969 and opening Shiro’s Saimin Haven.

“It was just his dream,” says Shiro’s Saimin Haven general manager Bryce Fujimoto. “He called it his impossible dream.”

Though Matsuo has passed on, Shiro’s remains a go-to spot for local comfort food. Other than the food, Fujimoto says that it’s the service that has given Shiro’s such staying power.

“Our servers are just so warm and you walk in and they know your name, they know what you are going to order — they treat you like family,” Fujimoto says. “I think that is something that is very special.”

COME AND GET IT

For a taste of one of Shiro’s original recipes, go for Nabeyaki Saimin ($10.10). While nabeyaki is a fairly common dish, founder Franz Shiro Matsuo put his own spin on the ingredients: boneless chicken, poached egg, beef, shrimp, wonton, won bok, char siu, luncheon meat, green onions and a chopped up egg roll.

For more noodles, Country Fried Noodles (9.85) hits the spot. It features a comforting array of cabbage, onion, chicken, pork, char siu, luncheon meat, green onions and an egg roll — all accented with spices and a teriyaki beef stick.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

Waimalu Shopping Center,
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
488-8824
Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.