Expanded Menu Retains Sekiya’s RootsColumns Foodie Fare
February 17, 2013
Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
With a menu that has retained many of the same items since the 1930s, Sekiya’s Restaurant and Delicatessen is like a portal into the past.
Serving what owner Joy Morihara calls a blend of local favorites and Japanese food, the restaurant has long been a go-to locale for plate lunches and saimin.
“A lot of people say it is the same since back in the old days,” Morihara says.
Now with an extensive menu that has grown throughout the years, Sekiya’s includes tasty items such as Pork Tofu ($11.95), which features pork, tofu and onions all in a homemade broth and served over rice.
“That is kind of a traditional, everyday Japanese cooking that you might make for lunch or dinner at home,” Morihara says. “It is a light dish, but it is very full and tasty.
“We make our broth from scratch every day,” she adds. “It has shrimp and chicken and vegetables in it.”
For a simple, yet filling dish, try Oyako Donburi ($9.95).
“Aiyoko means ‘parent and child,'” Morihara explains. “So we have the chicken and egg over rice.” The dish also features mushrooms and long rice.
Another popular dish is Sekiya’s flavorful take on local favorite Oxtail Soup ($14.95). The dish, which is flavored with ginger and Chinese parsley, is made from scratch and is served with rice.
“We cook (the oxtail) for several hours until it is very tender,” she says.
One of the restaurant’s reigning items when it comes to customer favorites is Marinated Fried Chicken ($13.95), which features boneless chicken that is marinated in a light teriyaki sauce and then deep-fried.
Since Sekiya’s initially began as a small saimin stand, saimin is one thing you better try on your next visit here. One tasty noodle dish is Karai Saimin ($8.95), topped with charsui and green onion.
“We serve it with karai sauce, which is a spicy sauce. So if you like a little bit of heat in your meal, you will like it,” Morihara says.
On the Side
Sekiya’s Restaurant and Delicatessen dates back to the 1930s when current owner Joy Morihara’s grandparents, the Sekiya’s, founded the restaurant’s first location on School Street.
“They started it as just a small saimin stand,” Morihara says, “and they were just selling saimin, barbecue sticks and plate lunches.”
The restaurant then moved to Kapahulu Avenue, where it began to expand its menu to include full meals and sukiyaki. In the 1950s, Sekiya’s relocated to its current location in Kaimuki. Throughout the years, Sekiya’s has been a family-run establishment. In addition to her grandparents, Morihara’s mother and aunties also have worked in the restaurant.
Morihara, who grew up on Maui, began working in the restaurant when she moved to Oahu for college.
Sekiya’s has come a long way from its saimin-stand roots, and now features a full menu, but it hasn’t strayed too far from those days. The restaurant still features many of the same dishes and is even attracting many of the same families.
“We have generations of people coming in,” Morihara says. “We have customers where their grandparents brought them in as children, or their parents did.”
Sekiya’s Restaurant and Delicatessen
2746 Kaimuki Ave, Honolulu
Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.