This Time, Think Inside the Box

Columns What's for Lunch?

June 30, 2013

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Did you know the clinical term for “funny bone” is the olecranon? Random factoids aside: make no bones about it, Mitsu-Ken Okazu & Catering’s following is anything but trivial. If the line of restaurant fanatics and their rave reviews don’t convince you, then try the food yourself.

As a one-stop box with an assortment of comforting local favorites, bentos are the way to go on a lunch break.

“Our bentos have a variety, a little of everything, and, obviously, the most important thing is the garlic chicken in there,” explains Sherri Kaneshiro, Mitsu-ken’s bookkeeper and office manager.

The most popular of the bentos is the Mitsu-Ken Bento ($6.50), which includes three pieces of garlic chicken, gingery and tender teri beef, seasoned Spam, hot dog cooked in shoyu, omelet with green onions and fish cake, and rice with a sprinkle of furikake and a pinch of ginger. All the seasonings are exclusive to Mitsu-Ken and enhance the flavors. The special sauce the Spam receives before frying, for example, adds sweetness and cuts down saltiness. The Mini Bento ($4.50), a scaled-down version of the previous bento, with garlic chicken, hot dog, omelet and rice with furikake, is perfect for those with smaller appetites.

Fried Saimin Bento ($6.25) is another hot item. It contains fried saimin, garlic chicken, omelet, Portuguese sausage and rice. Why is this combination so perfect? There is no logical explanation other than, “Portuguese sausage and fried saimin are just really, really good together,” says Kaneshiro.

In fact, it was Kaneshiro who had the idea to put saimin on the menu. “I love saimin; it’s my favorite,” she says. The saimin is fried with lunch meat, green onions, cabbage, fish cake and seasonings, which all meld together and result in a comforting mix. Kaneshiro suggests taking a bite of the sausage with the saimin for extra bento delight.

Each bento is made to order and despite the line, things move quickly at Mitsu-Ken. Service is brisk, yet friendly and the wait is usually around five to 10 minutes. Since Mitsu-Ken is a first-come, first-serve type of place, they do run out of food. Order a day, or even months, in advance if you’d like to order a round of bentos for the office, or even if you’d just like one for yourself. Call, leave a message with your order and pick up time and Kaneshiro will contact you by the end of the day to confirm.

Mitsu-Ken Okazu & Catering

2300 N. King St., Honolulu
Tuesday–Saturday, 5 a.m.–1 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96819

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best