Housemade HavenCover Story
September 20, 2020
Story By: Nicole Monton | Photos by: Shiro's Saimin Haven
Since 1969, locals have been flocking to Shiro’s Saimin Haven’s Waimalu eatery for a sample of Hawaii’s best saimin. Twenty years later, a location in Ewa Beach meant Westside customers could have a taste of Shiro’s whenever the craving hit.
With decades of experience whipping up quality food with excellent service under its belt, the mom-and-pop shop has been a mainstay for home-cooked meals that warm the soul.
“Whenever we have a chance, we look at how we can improve the quality of our food,” says Bryce Fujimoto, vice president and catering manager.
One such improvement can be found in the establishment’s Lumpia ($1.50 each). Previously, lumpia at the Waimalu location was store-bought, but with its Ewa location in the process of making its lumpia from scratch — “And they do it very well,” adds Fujimoto — transitioning to a homemade fried roll just made sense. The recipe comes from head kitchen manager chef Warlie, and features fresh pork and veggies.
“Now, we offer all of our items using the homemade lumpia, including the Lumpia Saimin ($9.75),” Fujimoto adds.
Oh, and don’t forget to grab some homemade Banana Lumpia ($1.50 each) as a snack, too.
With the stay-at-home order in full effect this week, Shiro’s Saimin Haven has brought back some nostalgic customer favorites like the “Dear Hearts” Vegetarian Saimin ($9.65) that comes with won bok, bean sprouts, tofu and mushrooms.
“We didn’t think we had a lot of non-meat eaters, but apparently we do,” says Fujimoto with a laugh. “We brought it back due to popular demand.”
Fans of protein need not worry, though, as there’s another returning fave that’s making a comeback.
The Chop Along Steak ($11) — Shiro’s take on a traditional chopped steak plate — showcases a hearty helping of marinated beef that’s mixed with bean sprouts, won bok, cabbage, onions and tomato.
Shiro’s classics remain on the menu, as well, including the Club House Sandwich ($11.70) and Loco Moco ($9.75).
“You can’t go wrong with the Loco Moco,” Fujimoto says. “We use 100 percent local ground beef, and we also make our gravy in-house, just like we’ve always done.”
The rich brown dressing is made the old-fashioned way with all the drippings and a special veggie medley that’s boiled down.
“It takes a whole day to make our gravy,” Fujimoto explains.
Topping it all off are two eggs any style and a helping of mac salad.
For a hands-on approach to dining, meanwhile, the Club House Sandwich — served with crinkle-cut fries, of course — is the perfect dish. The triple-decker sando features turkey that’s roasted in-house, as well as ham and bacon, and fresh lettuce and tomatoes.
While the food and ingredients are of the highest caliber, there’s no doubt that this family-owned restaurant infuses everything it makes with a lot of love — and that’s something we all need a little more of right now.
“These are trying times for everyone, and we are grateful and appreciative of all the good that’s going on, and we’re not just talking about our awesome customers and businesses who support us,” Fujimoto shares.
To give back to its loyal (and hungry) fanbase and keep everyone safe, Shiro’s Saimin Haven remains vigilant about maintaining its safety measures.
“We sanitize and clean multiple times a shift, making sure that everything is as safe as possible,” Fujimoto continues. “That’s our No. 1 concern.”
A Feast for the Family
For an easy and tasty dinner on the go, o1pt for one of Shiro’s Saimin Haven’s hot-and-ready family packs ($55). The set menu feeds four to five people and features a chicken (mochiko or katsu) and stew (hamburger stew or hamburger curry) dish as the main. Accompanying it all are rice and fried noodles, as well as your choice of macaroni or tossed salad. Call in orders ahead of time to the Shiro’s location of your choice: Ewa (689-0999) or Waimalu (488-4834).