Not just one direction

Columns Veg'n Out

December 28, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

If variety is the spice of life, then that explains why food from Fairwood Drive-Inn & Hi-Yip Cuisine is chock-full of vitality and flavor. Ever the picture of versatility, the Kaimuki eatery — previously known as Fairwood Drive Inn & Ramen Diner — has been attracting customers with its chameleon-like cuisine for years.

And throughout this time, owner Tiffany Ho has honed in on delicious niche markets, mastering the art of edible adaptation. Originally, the eatery’s menu offerings were focused on the pho phenomenon taking the tastes and hearts of Oahu residents by storm. Following pho came ramen — which was met with rave reviews and lines out the door.

And although Ho could have sat back and basked in her restaurant’s success, the owner and entrepreneurial heart had more in mind for her patrons’ palates. So for those who aren’t fans with tastes for just one direction (and no, I don’t mean the band!), Ho is now charging ahead in 2015, by also catering to the Cantonese-loving crowd, as “Hi Yip” is literally translated in Chinese as “Cantonese Seafood.” And see food we do — aplenty.

The eatery’s unique layout (basically two restaurants in one) offers patrons the best of both worlds, with their old favorites on the Fairwood side and new finds from Hi-Yip on the other.

“We see the same people coming in every week — sometimes twice or more,” says Ho with a smile. “Families with children, or people taking orders out — all find something here.”

What Veg’n Out found are two dishes worth doting on. From Fairwood, Mixed Vegetables with Garlic Sauce ($8.50), a just-right-spiced stir-fry selection of broccoli, zucchini, onion, celery, choy sum and carrot, will warm you heart and soul. Served with a generous side of rice or noodles, it’s more than ample to appease any appetite.

Hi-Yip satisfies the hungry with its Tofu with Sweet and Sour Cabbage ($9.50), savory slabs of grilled tofu served over a bed of marinated cabbage just bursting with flavor. Usually kissed with a coating of oyster sauce, those vegetarians averse to this adage simply need to let the server know when ordering, and a melt-in-your-mouth mushroom shoyu sauce will be substituted.

In fact, Ho says that the eatery actually enjoys accommodating vegetarians, and all others with dietary dos and don’ts. “Even if it isn’t on the menu, just ask,” Ho assures. “If we have it in the kitchen, we can make it for you.”

Fairwood Drive-Inn & Hi Yip Cuisine

Kaimuki Shopping Center
3221 Waialae Ave., Suite 21
Daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best