A Haven of Heavenly Starters

Columns Pupu Picks

May 26, 2013

Story By: Steve Murray | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Who would think Shiro’s Saimin Haven would have appetizers? But, the fact they would have awesome homemade noodle dishes? Of course.

Since 1969, the family-friendly eatery has dished out more than one million bowls of steaming broth and tender noodles, and with a massive menu of local favorites, the inclusion of pupus is obvious, but hidden.

The appetizers are not segregated onto their own menu section, but rather grouped with “sides” ranging from poached eggs to tofu. So, if your pleasure is pork belly, mochiko chicken or even a large plate of noodles to share, this is the section to ponder.

Most popular, and perhaps best, is Crispy Pork Belly ($4.35). The baked and fried slices of pork began as a special, but customer demand forced its inclusion onto the main menu. No surprise there. The meat is slow roasted for three hours to remove most of the fat and to begin the crisping process. Upon order, the pork is fried, leaving the meat wonderfully crunchy, almost like a crispy pork rind, and the fat remains sweet and chewy.

Homemade ponzu sauce completes the flavor.

Country-Fried Noodles ($7.95), available eight different ways, is a dish as old as the restaurant and is often the first item requested for larger groups. Made in house, the noodles are mixed with pork, chicken, cabbage, white onion, green onion, char siu, luncheon meat and eggs to create an item that catering manager Bryce Fujimoto says will create a small riot if taken off the menu. It’s that popular.

Another large plate to share is Maki Sushi Roll ($4.15), in which rice, tuna, seasoned egg roll and fish cake are rolled in a seaweed wrap and served in a portion not usually permissible for the price. That shouldn’t be too surprising, as everything on the menu is fairly priced.

Mochiko Chicken — tender, tangy and sweet — is just $3.95 and French Fries with Gravy is $2.70 for an appetizer that begins with beef and pork drippings reduced with carrots, onion and celery and served on top of crispy fries.

Tasty, convenient and affordable, what more could you want?

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

98-020 Kamehameha Hwy. (and various locations)
Open Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Waimalu Plaza, Aiea, HI 96701

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Hawaii's Best