Savoring A Tasty TraditionCover Story Features
January 1, 2017
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
In Japan, the culture of teishoku, or meal sets, enlivens dining experiences by offering an array of small bites — and a diverse range of flavors — in one well-rounded meal. To get a taste for this classic style of Japanese dining right here in Hawaii, head to Teishoku Restaurant.
“Teishoku sets offer one main dish that comes with appetizers, miso soup and salad — it’s a complete meal,” explains vice president Jason Zhang.
“At a lot of places, you have to order a la carte, but here, you get everything you need in one whole set,” adds supervisor Sherri Lee.
At the Kamehameha Shopping Center eatery, teishoku sets come to life with everything from Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura ($14.95) to Ribeye Steak, Chicken Katsu, Teriyaki Beef and more — all with rice and other accompaniments.
Though the restaurant has become known for its affordable prices in the short time it has been open, Teishoku still pays attention to detail and quality when crafting each meal set. The miso soup, for example, is made in house with shiro, or white, miso, which offers a delicate flavor, while the side salad showcases an organic blend of romaine and spring-mix greens dressed up with house creamy sesame dressing. Rounding out the meal sets is a rotating selection of seasonal appetizers — which may include bean sprouts, edamame, takuan, shrimp cocktail or other goodies on any given day — that tantalize palates with a playground of flavors.
Undoubtedly, the eatery’s most popular teishoku set is Broiled Butterfish Misoyaki ($12.95), presenting the tender and flavorful fish prepared with that same fine shiro miso — a foundational ingredient in Japanese cooking. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this rich butterfish for a better deal anywhere else, especially when considering the generous portion size.
“We sell a lot of butterfish; that’s what we’re known for,” says Zhang, adding that he believes it is among the best presentations available on island.
Seeing as fish is a staple in teishoku dining, it’s no surprise that Broiled Saba is another best-seller. The mackerel is marinated with salt and pepper and served with nice and crisp skin for maximum enjoyment.
Those who have a hefty appetite will fall head over heals for Teishoku’s combination meals, which are similar to the standard meal sets, but offer an additional entrée choice.
The restaurant also offers a range of Japanese favorites to supplement your meal, such as sushi rolls and nigiri. There are customizable ramen and ramen combos to boot, while curry fanatics will enjoy the eatery’s vegetarian version that’s made in house. And don’t forget about the local favorites on the menu, such as poke or spicy-ahi bowls.
Whether dining with the whole family or a few friends, appetizers are a great addition to the spread. You can’t go wrong with Agedashi Tofu ($5.95), topped with bonito flakes, nori, daikon and green onion. Zhang also notes that the tofu is a great choice for keiki.
“If you want to eat Japanese food, come here and try ours,” says Zhang. “We offer a good price for good food — you will not be disappointed.”
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St., C2, Kalihi
Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.