Authentic Ramen For The Slurping
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When Junpuu owner and chef Eiji Kato moved to Hawaii in 2000, he had a hard time finding something familiar to eat, so he started cooking his own food remembering what his mom, a cooking teacher in Japan, taught him.
“I was so picky about food and I always liked cooking,” he explains. “I wanted to start my own restaurant.”
Before launching Junpuu, Kato worked at Shokudo for about six years and then Santouka in Honolulu. He opened Junpuu in Ala Moana’s Shirokiya for a year, and then relocated to 1010 South King St. (across from Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall and Thomas Square) this past March.
“We’ve been getting a lot of regulars, including customers who remember me from Shirokiya,” shares Kato, noting that Junpuu means “tailwind” in Japanese. He says the name also translates to “smooth sailing,” which is his hope for the restaurant, while also taking part of his mom’s name Junko.
“We make everything from scratch,” Kato says. “I use my knowledge of cooking and incorporate that into the ramen, so it’s unique. It’s my own style (of) ramen. For example, we have Tomato Ramen, which is an Italian twist, so we use sun-dried tomato with our tonkotsu pork bone soup.”
From now until Jan. 31, customers can enjoy three pieces of gyoza free with the purchase of a bowl of ramen after 2 p.m.
Among newly opened Junpuu restaurant’s most popular dishes is Tantan Men Special ($13.50), which features ramen noodles in an original tonkotsu (pork bone) broth — which has been cooked for 16 hours — topped with spicy ground pork, char siu, ajitama (a perfectly cooked seven-minute egg that is soaked overnight in a special sauce), spinach and bamboo shoots.
1010 S. King St., Ste. 108
Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.;
Junpuu will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day