A taste of Japan in WaikikiA La Carte
June 9, 2019
Story By: Brandon Bosworth | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
Located on Waikiki Shopping Plaza’s lower level and home to more than a dozen food and beverage establishments, Waikiki Yokocho gives diners an opportunity to enjoy Japanese-style restaurants and bars all in one location.
For those in the mood for fried delights, Kaneko Hannosuke offers a variety of tempura temptations. The Regular Tempura Bowl ($10.98) features mushrooms, shrimp, eggplant, pumpkin, soft boiled local egg, seaweed and shishito pepper. The original Tokyo location is so popular customers have been known to wait for an hour just to get in.
A different take on fried food can be found at Kushikatsu Tanaka, which specializes in Osaka-style deep-fried cutlet skewers, served with a specialty dipping sauce. The Eight Piece Kushikatsu Set ($24) includes beef, pork, squid, shrimp, onion, lotus root, asparagus and mushrooms.
Local people love their noodles, and Waikiki Yokocho has an entire section called Ramen Road. The newest addition is Ramen Ono-Ya, which opened in April. One of the restaurant’s more out of the ordinary offerings is Black Garlic Paitan Ramen ($12.25). Made with braised pork belly, seaweed, seasoned egg, green onions, choy sum, bamboo shoots and thin noodles. The ingredient that sets this ramen apart from the rest is the black garlic oil. According to Waikiki Yokocho general manager Harold Watanabe, this gives the ramen “a more savory flavor than you find with more shoyu-based ramen.”
More noodles to nosh can be found at Izakaya Kai. The Zaru Soba with Tempura ($17.95) featuring cold soba tempura and inari is the perfect way to beat the heat.
Speaking of beating the heat, perhaps nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than shave ice. In addition to drinks such as Matcha Chocolate Lattes ($5.60 regular, $6.40 large), Nana’s Green Tea offers a Japanese spin on an Island treat with its Strawberry Shave Ice ($9.20). The finely shaved ice is layered with azuki bean paste, shiratama mochi and warabimochi then topped off with strawberry puree and condensed milk. It makes for a great dessert of cooling snack.
“It’s our most popular item with local customers,” says manager Machiko Sone.
Many Waikiki Yokocho restaurants offer kamaaina discounts. Be sure to ask before ordering.