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The Best Bentos

Cover Story

May 10, 2020

Story By: Nicole Monton | Photos by: MARK GALACGAC

Genki Sushi assistant manager Thomas Cranford showcases the eatery’s bountiful bentos.

Sushi-lovers have been waiting patiently to satisfy their Bullet Express dining fix, but until restaurants around the state reopen, there’s a fast and easy way to get your hands on a Japanese-style bento, family platter or nigiri assortment thanks to Genki Sushi’s superb takeout options. (Just make sure you call to verify updated hours and availability of your favorite items.)

While Genki has been well-known for its, well, sushi, the restaurant has changed with the times as of late to offer locals tried-and-true specialties that suit every palate, like its mix-and-match to-go bentos.

“Our bentos were the idea of our manager at Ward to increase sales and provide something to offer the construction guys at that time,” explains David Moon, director of purchasing and operations for Genki Sushi.

Spicy Tuna Bento with Chicken Karaage ($9.49)

What started as a way to boost revenue for the company has quickly grown into a much-loved favorite among diners — and it isn’t hard to see why.

It’s easy for patrons to create a bento — one for $7.99 and the other for $9.49 — and the customizations are many.

The first step in crafting your very own $7.99 DIY bento is selecting a main choice: garlic chicken, chicken katsu, squid karaage or chicken karaage. Already, you might be having a hard time picking just one.

Then, up to two sushi items can be handpicked to complement the meal: two pieces of inari, two California roll pieces, or a grouping of kappa, ume, oshinko or kanpyo maki. You can even double up on your favorite, which means a Garlic Chicken Bento with two sides of California Roll is a possibility — and encouraged.

Mix-and-match bentos ($7.99)

“Then, the other version, you can choose between two main dishes,” Moon explains.

For $9.49, guests can first choose from spicy tuna, ahi poke, teriyaki chicken or sukiyaki. That’s accompanied by your choice of a main fried item, like chicken katsu, garlic chicken or squid karaage, for example.

“Local people love the fried items,” Moon adds.

All to-go bentos come with a small salad, ocean salad and tofu, rounding out the medley of flavor and textures.

“(There are) good combinations, and they all taste great no matter how you mix-and-match,” says Moon.

The to-go bentos have been a big hit, but fans of Genki Sushi can also get fresh fish items like the Genki Set 1 (call for price), which comes with an assortment of nigiri. The restaurant’s spicy tuna is arguably the best in the state, and it comes as a 10-piece gunkan set or as a bowl (prices vary).

For those feeding a larger family — or someone who just really loves sushi — Genki has a variety of party platters to satisfy every craving.

“Our platters and sets give a mixture of things people like,” Moon says. “We try to accommodate our customers.”

Thank you for your support,” Moon adds of Genki Sushi’s loyal diners. “I am always grateful for our customers. And Happy Mother’s Day!”

Ilima Awards 2018
Hawaii's Best 2018