Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Shingen HawaiiRestaurant Insider
March 14, 2021
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with Shingen Hawaii president SHOICHI NAKATANI
During the pandemic — Nov. 30, 2020, to be exact — Shoichi Nakatani moved Shingen Hawaii from Waikiki to his other restaurant, karaoke joint Heart Moon.
“When our lease expired last year, the timing was right to reintroduce our menu to the local community,” he says. “We have been operating for tourists, so we are still unknown to the locals and many of them don’t know our menu. We have been working on developing a menu for the locals since we moved here.”
This week, he invites the community to head down to the new South King Street location to find their new favorite Japanese-inspired dish, like anything containing the restaurant’s famous buckwheat soba noodles.
AL: What differences are there now in this new location?
SN: Due to the coronavirus, we had to shorten our operating hours. But, we were able to try new things like takeout, delivery and curbside pickup. Now that we have shifted to Tier 3, we will be extending our hours, and making every effort to make everyone’s experience at the restaurant more comfortable.
AL: You have a new menu item, moringa soba. What is unique about this noodle?
SN: Moringa soba is made by kneading high-quality Philippine moringa powder into our homemade noodles (made with buckwheat flour directly from Shintoku in Hokkaido, Japan). Moringa is the next generation of superfoods. We recommend this buckwheat noodle to health-conscious customers because it provides nutrients that are often lacking in buckwheat noodles alone.
The aroma is similar to that of mugwort, and the appearance is a refreshing green that can be enjoyed by both tongue and eyes. You can opt to upgrade to moringa soba for an additional $1.
AL: What are some of the other new menu items?
SN: We have added Potato Croquettes ($4.80). It’s a delicious mashed potato smothered in panko flakes.
There is also Grilled Shishamo ($6.80) made with shishamo smelt.
Assorted Oden ($9.80) is slowly simmered in our original broth. The set includes daikon, hanpen, chikuwa and egg.
Genii-Bakudan ($9.80) is served with a little soy sauce, mixed vigorously, and wrapped in nori. We named this dish Genki-Bakudan (Energy Bomb) because it is made with many sticky ingredients that will give you energy. It contains natto, okura, cucumber, green onion, takuwan, dried bonito flakes, tuna, yam and quail egg.
Assorted Kimchee ($6.80) with regular and cucumber, as well as Pork Kimchee ($10.80) that features kimchi and pork stir-fried with spicy mayonnaise on top. It is a dish that goes well with rice.
A colorful Seafood Salad ($13.80) with tuna, salmon, wakame seaweed and tobiko, served with our original wasabi dressing.
One Bite Chikuwa Tempura ($6.80) made into bite-sized pieces of tempura. Aonori (green laver) is also included in this dish, making it flavorful and tempting to eat. It’s served with curry salt.
In the Tuna & Takuwan Roll ($8.80), the pickled daikon radish gives it a nice texture and taste. Dip it in soy sauce and enjoy.
A popular dish is the Beef Tongue ($10.80). Enjoy it with a squeeze of lemon and yuzu kosho.
Sata-Andagi ($5.80) is made with our buckwheat flour, and served with vanilla ice cream and molasses.
AL: What was the inspiration behind the new menu?
SN: I try to take inspiration from all kinds of media, especially those that are popular in Japan. We are always thinking about what we can do, what our customers want and researching how we can incorporate it into our products. If you have any requests, please feel free to let us know.
AL: Tell me more about your soba.
SN: Soba has been eaten as a lucky charm in Japan since ancient times. It is believed to cut off bad things and increase money luck. Soba is also very good for health, and has antioxidant and skin-beautifying effects. Above all, it is rich in rutin, a substance that thins the blood. We hope that you will feel free to visit our restaurant, as we provide a feeling as if you were eating in Japan.
AL: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
SN: We have increased the number of pupus and lowered prices. We hope that people will give us a try, whether it’s takeout or delivery. We also offer free delivery from downtown to Hawaii Kai.