Maximizing local ingredients

A La Carte Columns

October 23, 2016

Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: CAITLIN BASILIO

Arabiki Taro Dogs ($4.95)

Arabiki Taro Dogs ($4.95)

As the sun sets earlier and the air feels a little cooler this time of year, the recent trend of hot pot and shabu shabu eateries continues to heat up the appetites of Hawaii residents and tourists alike.

Head west and you’ll find Rokaru Shabu Shabu. Located in Pearl City Gateway, the restaurant opened in July and hopes to win the hearts of Hawaii’s locals with its variety of steaming shabu shabu and specialty dishes, mouthwatering desserts and welcoming staff.

According to co-owner Reid Watanabe, rokaru translates to “local” in Japanese, and island-sourced meats and vegetables are exactly what go into each dish at the new hot spot. Watanabe and his team take pride in locally sourcing ingredients from Kulana farms, Shinsato farms, Maui Cattle Company, Kahumana Farms and Aloun Farms.

Before indulging in Rokaru’s delectable hot pot dishes, Watanabe encourages guests to try some appetizers, which all have a Japanese or local twist to them. Take Arabiki Taro Dogs ($4.95), for example. This tasty starter features arabiki (Japanese pork) sausage deep fried in taro pancake batter and served with lilikoi-mustard sauce.

Crispy Calamari Salad ($7.95)

Crispy Calamari Salad ($7.95)

Another popular starter is Crispy Calamari Salad ($7.95), which is lightly flash fried and drizzled with sweet spicy mayo, tobiko and green onions. “The greens in this salad are called OKG — Organic Kahumana Greens — and are from Kahumana Farms in Waianae, which gets delivered to us every week,” explains Watanabe.

After trying some appetizers and enjoying a meal at Rokaru Shabu Shabu, don’t miss out on some scrumptious dessert. When patrons at Rokaru order a Shabu Shabu Set or specialty dish, they’ll receive a complimentary scoop of Really Ono Sherbet ($1.50 separately; also sold by the pint for $8). “We have strawberry all the time, and we change the other flavor every month,” says

Watanabe. “This month is vanilla and next month will be pumpkin.”

Rokaru also is offering the following weekday specials throughout October: Seniors ages 55 and up receive 15 percent off their total bill on Mondays; buy one Shabu Shabu Set and get the second set for 50 percent off on Tuesdays; free Keiki Meal ($8.95 value) — including arabiki sausage, chicken karaage, fried gyoza, corn furikake rice and two scoops or Really Ono sherbet — are available with the purchase of one Shabu Shabu Set on Wednesdays; and last, but not least, guests receive one free noodle option — ramen, udon or long rice — with the purchase of one Shabu Shabu Set on Thursdays.

Rokaru Shabu Shabu

Pearl City Gateway Shopping Center
1140 Kuala St., Ste. 104, Pearl City
Monday-Friday, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Pearl City, HI 96782

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best