Stubborn as an Ox for Oxtail

Columns Ono, You Know

October 28, 2012

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

It could be because I was born in the Year of the Ox, but I just can’t get enough of oxtail — oxtail soup, oxtail stew, oxtail saimin, you name it, I’m all over it.

As a local culinary standby, oxtail is adored by generations. Usually served in a soup or stew, oxtail is the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling under the weather or ready to welcome the cooler nights that come with the fall and winter seasons.

Oxtail soup, stew, etc., are made with beef tails, and actually the use of the word “ox” in this context is considered to be a legacy of nomenclature. To dispel the belief, no specialized stock of beef animals is used.

A beloved dish in many cultures, oxtail is a must-have ingredient found in many dishes, and warms the heart and soul no matter where you are.

So, this week we’re warming things up with meal after meal of piping hot oxtail specialties at the following Ono, You Know establishments. So, don’t be stubborn, get ready to eat!

Kit n Kitchen

Kit n Kitchen owners and husband-and-wife team Kit and May Yiu have perfected the art of blending European flair with Asian nuances into the culinary world. I have been an adamant fan of this University Avenue restaurant since it opened in 2001, and its casual atmosphere filled with vibrant hues and eclectic decor make me feel right at home.

Believe me when I say that everything on the menu will tempt your appetite, so it’s only a given that you’ll be back time and time again to try it all.

Ono for oxtail? Then you’ll love Kit n Kitchen’s Red Wine Oxtail Stew ($13.95), which presents morsels of oxtail simmered in a red wine sauce with hints of shoyu, celery, onions and carrots served with your choice of jasmine rice or spaghetti. Kit describes it as a tender yet powerful taste that you won’t soon forget.

“We soak the oxtail in Burgundy wine overnight, and then it’s slow cooked for half a day. Our oxtail stew is cooked in a French style, which I learned from a chef in Macau,” says Kit of this popular dish, which has been on the menu since the restaurant’s inception.

The beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the enthralling flavors of the stew will engulf your taste buds with every bite, resulting in an extraordinary meal that will leave you satisfied for days.

Kit n Kitchen also is encouraging late-night dining from 9 p.m. to midnight, so take your time to explore all that this renowned Eurasian eatery has to offer.

Kit n Kitchen
1010 University Ave.
Varsity Center

Asahi Grill

Serving up some of the best oxtail soup on the island, Asahi Grill is the place to be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Located on Ward Avenue, this prominent hot spot opened its doors to locals and tourists alike in February 2007. Once you step through the doors, you’ll soon see why the oxtail soup is No. 1. In fact, the servers sport T-shirts that feature an image of a license plate that reads none other than “OXTAIL.”

“Our Oxtail Soup has been our bestseller since the days of Kapiolani Coffee Shop, and then we brought it to Asahi Grill,” says restaurant manager Victoria Sayno. “Our customers love it and they keep returning for more. Even tourists seem to love it.”

Priced at $11.95 for a small bowl, $13.95 for a regular bowl and $22.95 for an extra-large bowl, Asahi Grill’s Oxtail Soup is made from an original Chinese recipe. The soup is prepared fresh daily and showcases oxtail which, according to Sayno, has been boiled for two to three hours in a clear broth with Chinese herbs. It’s garnished with Chinese parsley and green onion, and a side of rice (white/brown or fried rice) and grated ginger complete the oxtail experience.

“I also recommend adding some shoyu to the ginger or some sriracha sauce to the soup if you prefer to have your soup spicy,” Sayno adds, noting that the hole-in-the-wall establishment sells about 80 orders on a daily basis. “This is the perfect choice if you’re sick; the broth is very cleansing.”

Starting today, you’ll also receive a complimentary side of fried rice with the purchase of Oxtail Soup. This weekly special is only valid when you present the Dining Out coupon.

So, when the oxtail craving creeps up on you, you know what to do. Head on over to Asahi Grill and enjoy the savory broth, fall-off-the-bone meat and all the irresistible flavors that go along with them.

Asahi Grill
515 Ward Ave.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

Diners delight in simple, classic comfort food, making Shiro’s Saimin Haven a prime establishment among locals who long for childhood favorites, such as won ton saimin, sandwiches and more.

Since the 1960s, this Aiea eatery has expanded its menu, featuring close to 200 onolicious items, which includes more than 60 saimin options to choose from. The saimin is made from scratch at a noodle factory on Dillingham Boulevard and the saimin broth is a secret recipe.

Beef up your meal with a hearty bowl of Oxtail Saimin ($12.40), consisting of oxtail, saimin noodles, won bok, gau gee and shiitake mushrooms swimming in the one-of-a-kind saimin broth.

“Oxtail Saimin is a unique dish here,” says Shiro’s vice president Aaron Lee. “We also serve the traditional Oxtail Soup ($12.40) as well.”

Yet, Shiro’s Oxtail Soup isn’t your average oxtail soup. Yes, it’s served in a homemade broth and includes the most tender pieces of beef that you would expect, but submerge your spoon even deeper into the bowl and you’ll also find fresh won bok, shiitake mushrooms and bambucha pieces of gau gee. And it does-n’t end there: Two scoops of rice, vegetables and grated ginger finish off the meal.

“It takes several hours to cook our oxtail soup, but our patrons absolutely love it,” Lee says.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven also is located in Ewa Beach and Waipahu. Are you planning a holiday party? Keep in mind that personalized catering is available.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven
Waimalu Shopping Center
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy.

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