Saimin with Heart and SoulFeatures Order of the Day
January 12, 2014
Story By: Michelle Lee | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
Winter in the Islands is nothing to complain about, but from time to time we all seek solace for a little extra warmth and comfort. Such sentiments explain why many have been flocking to Shiro’s Saimin Haven for some of the best saimin this side of the Pacific.
With a history dating back more than 40 years and three generations ago, Shiro’s is truly a place where loyal customers come every day to feast on their favorite bowl of noodles.
Founded by Franz Shiro Matsuo, also known as “Mistah Saimin,” the restaurant serves more than 60 variations of saimin.
“Our menu represents all the different ethnicities of Hawaii, so everyone can feel at home here,” says restaurant and catering manager Bryce Fujimoto.
During the past few decades, Shiro’s has won the hearts and stomachs of both kamaaina and tourists alike with its family-friendly atmosphere and local hospitality.
“We are all about quality, so we only use the freshest ingredients and try to make everything in-house, such as our noodles, which are never frozen,” explains Fujimoto.
The menu’s classic Japanese Saimin ($8.45) is a truly praiseworthy item inundated with crisp sheets of nori, pickled daikon, poached egg, won ton, vegetables and a bundle of savory garnish.
“Our won ton are homemade each morning,” says Fujimoto. “You can really taste the difference when something is made by hand.”
Another popular choice is Chinese Roast Pork Saimin ($8.30), made from a sea of Chinese cabbage and freshly roasted pork.
“The pork certainly adds a richness to the broth that just hits the spot every time.
“With any saimin selection, customers can choose from a variation of broths, including hot and spicy or miso,” adds Fujimoto.
Perhaps one of the restaurant’s most beloved items is Oxtail Soup ($12.55), which initially wasn’t included on the regular menu.
“We began to serve Oxtail Soup as a daily special, but it ended up being so popular we had to make it available all year-round,” he says.
When dining at Shiro’s Saimin Haven, one cannot help but notice the abundant Dear Hearts letters that adorn the walls, expressing Matsuo’s thoughts on everything from marriage to raising children.
“My grandfather really embraced family and positive living,” says Fujimoto. “He wanted to create a space with those values.”
Shiro’s Saimin Haven also offers takeout and catering options.
Shiro’s Saimin Haven
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Sunday–Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday–Sunday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.