Creative All-Natural Ramen

Columns Foodie Fare

March 10, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Rachel Breit

There might be plenty of ramen places around town to choose from, but Chinpei Ramen in Moiliili has managed to set itself apart with a large menu and a range of influences. According to owner and chef Yoshi Hashigami, the result is a one-of-a-kind taste that he has not encountered elsewhere in the Islands.

Hashigami says he draws on what he calls “Chinese food of Japan” as influences into his ramen dishes.

“In Japan, there are plenty of Chinese restaurants,” he explains. “This is Chinese style with Japanese taste.”

For starters, try some of Chinpei’s appetizers, including Harumaki ($4.50 for three pieces). These spring rolls are filled with cabbage, pork, shiitake mushrooms and green onion. Or start things off with Shu Mai ($9.80 for eight pieces), which features ground pork and onion.

For a light supplement to any meal, Cold Tofu ($4.50) is one option. It features three pieces of tofu, each topped with a different flavoring: dried bonito fish flakes on one, ginger and green onion for another, and ground pork with miso on the third.

Of course, while you’re at Chinpei Ramen, trying the ramen is basically mandatory. There are nearly 30 ramen options, so selecting one can be difficult. According to Hashigami, Tan Men ($10.80 for a large) is among the most popular with customers. The dish is swimming with bean sprouts, green onions, Chinese cabbage and pork.

And what better complement to ramen than fried rice? Char Siu Pork Fried Rice ($6.90) is well-stocked with char siu pork, green onions and egg.

Perhaps one of the best things about Chinpei is that all of its food can be enjoyed knowing that it does not contain any unnatural additives.

“The soup is made to be all-natural,” Hashigami explains. “The broth is made with chicken, pork and vegetable. And we never use MSG.”

The result is a base that will pair well with any of the restaurant’s many ramen offerings.

On the Side

Chinpei Ramen opened its doors just about five years ago, but owner and chef Yoshi Hashigami is a lifelong veteran of the restaurant industry. His family owned a restaurant for 55 years in Japan, where he hails from originally. As a child, Hashigami grew up helping out around the kitchen.

Hashigami worked in the restaurant for 15 years, but wanted to venture out on his own.

Chinpei is Hashigami’s first solo venture, and it’s so far so good for the Moiliili eatery.

And although Hashigami finally has his own place, he also has incorporated a number of dishes from his family’s restaurant onto the menu at Chinpei. In fact, he says, that’s where many of his influences come from.

Since opening, he has expanded the menu greatly. Initially, Chinpei started out with just 10 menu items, but has grown to an expansive, varied list that includes nearly 30 different types of ramen.

Another source of inspiration is Chinpei’s customers.

“The customers request things to me,” he says.

Chinpei Ramen

2080 S. King St., Suite 106
Monday, 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96826

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