May Your Meals Be Merry And BrightCover Story Features
November 29, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
One of the most important parts of the holiday season is gathering with loved ones for a special meal. That’s why the family behind Shiro’s Saimin Haven is ready and willing to make your next celebration as delicious as possible via a full catering menu overflowing with homemade comfort foods.
The eatery has been making bountiful bowls of saimin and creative local favorites with love since late founder Franz Shiro Matsuo opened up shop in 1969. With his memory in their hearts, Matsuo’s family members continue to run the business, including carrying on their own unique holiday traditions — such as coming together to fill a plenitude of catering orders in the merriest of ways.
“We are the busiest of the year during the holiday season catering, but that’s also when it’s really fun to work here at Shiro’s,” says Matsuo’s grandson and general manager Bryce Fujimoto, who also oversees catering operations. “We have a whole bunch of people volunteering to work on the holiday, and it’s just like one big family in the back. We’re all making sushi and laughing and joking around with each other, and I think it’s one of the best parts of working in a family restaurant. We’re able to get closer with our newer employees and we bond with our long-term employees — that’s the holidays for us.”
Happy to extend this festive cheer to customers, the Waimalu Shopping Center eatery offers a colorful catering menu with options for any type of event, from weddings and funerals to sports potlucks and birthday parties. Patrons may select island-style classics from the a la carte menu, which are served in trays ranging from small to extra large to fit your exact needs. There also are pupu platters galore, complete with Spam musubi, Crispy Pork Belly, Mochiko Chicken and more; sushi platters; a Hawaiian and Local Selection with Kalua Pig, Tripe Stew and Crispy Gau Gee, among others; and prime bentos, including snack and breakfast options.
For those hosting larger get-togethers for 50 people or more, The Cosmopolitan Selection is more than ideal. “It’s basically a cost-per-head, so it takes a lot of the guessing game out of the equation. For people who are doing a kid’s first birthday for the first time, or if you are throwing a company party and you don’t have a lot of time to plan, I recommend Cosmopolitan Selections,” says Fujimoto.
With this option, diners may choose anywhere from two to five main dishes ranging in price from $7.25 to $12.20 per head. Garlic Chicken and Shoyu Pork remain customer favorites, though a cornucopia of scrumptious chicken, beef, pork and seafood creations fills the list.
On top of that, all Cosmopolitan Selections come with four sides: Country Fried Noodles or Pancit; Macaroni Potato Salad; steamed rice; and choice of Namasu, Sweet Potato (tempura-style or steamed) or Tossed Salad. Fujimoto adds that “you can also substitute one of the sides with Chinese Chicken Salad for an additional 50 cents per head.”
Whether chowing down on your catering order or enjoying a bowl of saimin at the dine-in restaurant, you can expect the same yummy tasting and quality-driven fare that Hawaii’s families have adored for generations.
“We (currently) have a great head chef and kitchen manager, Warlie Aguarin, and he has kept the original recipes in tact, but he has also improved the ones that needed improving and added a lot of new dishes that have really caught on,” shares Fujimoto.
Old-school favorites abound at Shiro’s Saimin Haven, from steaming-hot bowls of saimin to “burgas,” plate lunches and more. When dining at the Waimalu Shopping Center restaurant or Ewa Beach location — or making a quick trip to their takeout windows — go for an original hit: Dodonpa, The Ultimate King of Saimins ($11 restaurant; $10.50 take-out), loaded with shrimp, roast beef, char siu, Chinese roast pork, luncheon meat, mushrooms, house-made wun tun, green onions and vegetables.
Shiro’s Saimin Haven
Waimalu Shopping Center (and in Ewa Beach)
98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Restaurant and Catering: 488-8824 Takeout: 488-4834
Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Advanced notice required for catering orders