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Fill up on the season’s favorites

A La Carte

December 10, 2017

Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

Ozoni Soup ($8.55)

Since opening in 1935, Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen has become an island tradition for its local Japanese food, especially during this time of year when customers can count on the landmark neighborhood eatery for its traditional New Year’s dishes, such as Kuromame, Ozoni Soup, Nishime, Gobo, Namasu and more.

“Kuromame ($4 single serving, or $28 per pound) is a sweet, sugary side dish that is supposed to symbolize good luck and health in the New Year,” explains general manager Faye Hara. “Kuro is black and mame is bean, but mame also means working hard like a bee, so Japanese people eat kuromame to hopefully be able to work in good health in the new year.”

Kuromame ($4 single serving, $28 per pound)

Sekiya’s has already started serving Kuromame, which it only offers during the New Year. It’s a three day-long process to make, with the first day spent soaking the hard black bean, and then the next day it’s boiled for hours.

“I think I boiled mine for about 14 hours,” shares Hara. “On average, it’s about 10 hours, depending on the bean. You have to boil it at a very low heat so not to burn the bean. After that, we rinse it, add sugar and other ingredients to make it sweet, and it also has chestnut.”

Norimaki ($4.95 roll), Inari Cone Sushi ($1.55 each), Ozoni Soup ($8.55) and Kuromame ($4 single serving, $28 per pound)

Another “good luck” dish for New Year’s is Ozoni Soup ($8.55), which is available throughout the year. “A lot of people will order for take-out, pick-up on New Year’s Eve and warm up the next day,” notes Hara. “It has small bite-size pieces of mochi, won bok and green onions, and we make our dashi from scratch. We boil it for about four hours, and it has a little bit of a seafood flavor to it because we use shrimp. It’s the same dashi we use for our saimin.”

Other regular menu/okazu items that are holiday favorites, especially for family gatherings and potlucks, include Norimaki ($4.95 for one roll), Inari Cone Sushi ($1.55 each), and assorted tempura, hash balls, noodles and more.

“Start ordering now,” Hara recommends. “This is one of our busiest times of the year.”

Take note that Sekiya’s will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but will remain open New Year’s Eve from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gift certificates also are available, and come with a complimentary origami gift card holder (while supplies last).

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