Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Shingen HawaiiRestaurant Insider
September 6, 2020
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: SHINGEN HAWAII
ANNE LEE speaks with Shingen president SHOICHI NAKATANI
Where else can you get fresh homemade buckwheat soba noodles without flying to Japan? Shingen Hawaii, located on Beach Walk, has one of the best takeout and delivery options available to satisfy your noodles craving.
Its takeout menu already has a 25 percent off savings with tax included, and free delivery between Hawaii Kai and downtown. This is one of the best-kept secrets in Waikiki, and a definite must-try.
Maki Konikson joined me for lunch, where we enjoyed a great meal and learned more about this hidden jewel on Oahu.
AL: How long have you been here at this restaurant? What got you into the industry?
SN: This used to be the old Matsugen location. We already were operating a restaurant called Sushi Izakaya Shinn at the time, so the owner of Matsugen, who was a friend of my father’s, asked us to take over the space and the restaurant. We opened our doors on March 11, 2014. My father owned restaurants, and I took over the family business.
AL: What do you like best about your job?
SN: I love to talk with the customers, and serve the dishes, and seeing their smiles on the faces when they try the dishes — and they come back again because they love the food.
AL: Are there any fun facts most people wouldn’t know about the restaurant?
SN: This restaurant was a popular tourist spot, and many would come back again and again. Now, with COVID-19, we want the locals to know that we are here. They are able to order takeout and enjoy an authentic taste of Japan. We want our kamaaina guests to order takeout, and when we open for dining, we want them to come and dine with us.
AL: What type of cuisine does the restaurant specialize in?
SN:We are known for our buckwheat soba noodles. Our soba noodles are made out of the finest buckwheat flour from Shintoku, Hokkaido. We are the only restaurant that can offer this, and we make the noodles in house.
AL: What does Shingen bring to the Hawaii food scene?
SN: We bring a true taste of Japan because we import directly from Hokkaido. We also have a unique Sauvignon Blanc from a small winery called Kazumi Vineyards in Napa Valley. Being a small winery, it cannot distribute everywhere and are selective. Through the friendship from my father and the owner of the winery, they allowed us to offer this wine to our guests. For Dining Out customers, we would like to offer this bottle at 20 percent off when ordering takeout. It normally sells for $78, but is reduced to $60 with tax included.
AL: Tell me more about the popular Japanese Oxtail Curry dish?
SN: Hiroo No Curry is one of the most popular and famous curry restaurants in Japan. All of the famous stars dine there. The owner of the restaurant is a friend, and we were fortunate enough to also partner with this restaurant to serve its Original Oxtail Curry ($13). The ox tail broth is prepared on the stove for six hours, and the flavor is so unique and you can only get this here at our restaurant.
AL: What is the restaurant’s most popular dish?
SN: The Hiroo No Original Oxtail Curry ($13). Maki Konikson’s favorite dish is the Donburi Special ($13). You can choose either soba (buckwheat) or udon, and for the sides, you have the option to order a Tempura Bowl (Tem-Don) Natto Mix Bowl or Hiroo No Curry Bowl. Shrimp Tempura ($20) is another one of Maki’s favorites. She says that it’s even better here than in Japan. You get large pieces of shrimp; it’s a generous portion. Shingen Style Beef on a bowl of rice ($13) was created during COIVD-19. Sometimes the noodles tend to get soft, so we wanted to offer this option for takeout. Finally, the Beef Tongue ($9) is off of their signature menu. We use the highest quality beef tongue.
AL: Anything else you’d like to share about the restaurant?
SN: We offer curbside pick up, or we offer free delivery from downtown to Hawaii Kai. When we are open for dine-in, we offer free validated parking in the Bank of Hawaii Building. For now, to keep costs low for our guests, please request the free delivery or takeout curbside options. Ordering in advance is recommended.