Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: STIX AsiaRestaurant Insider
May 7, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with STIX Asia CEO FRANK CLARK
In the heart of Waikiki is a unique and authentic Asian food hall called STIX Asia. This is not a food court geared toward grab-and-go diners. STIX Asia is Hawaii’s premier food hall, where various restaurants bring a unique concept of the utmost quality that cannot be found anywhere else.This is perfect for tourists and locals, as it gives them an opportunity to learn about Asian cultures and history, with many chefs using recipes that are popular in their home countries.
Frank Clark, who’s the CEO of STIX Asia, was my guide as we walked around and tried all of the delicious items from each of the restaurants.
AL: With the rebirth of this food hall space, what makes STIX Asia different?
FC: Being familiar with the space and restaurants, we were able to find out what types of dining experiences people were looking for, which was a variety of options from various countries. Ethnic/Asian cuisine is the fastest growing market in the United States, and people are fascinated with trying different flavors. The dishes that the restaurants prepare at STIX Asia cannot be duplicated at home — perhaps a rendition of it — but not the same authenticity. For example, the ramen broth from Gashoken takes three days to prepare!
We wanted to create the first-ever themed destination food hall focusing on affordable ethnic/Asian food concepts and provide some history about the cultures.
AL: What are the names of the restaurants that make up STIX Asia, and what item did they prepare for us to try?
FC: Each restaurant created their signature dishes for us to try.
Best known for its selection of rice and natural soy sauce from Tokushima and seaweed from Setouchi in Japan, this eatery offers fresh and affordably priced sushi in Waikiki. Try the Seto Lunch ($24.95 for seven pieces) and Dragon Roll ($20.75).
Udon Yama serves freshly made udon, and they give you the broth last. It’s known for its Pork Katsu (call for price) that’s made to order and the Lemon Udon ($7.95 regular) that is deliciously refreshing to have.
Bringing the taste of Hong Kong to Hawaii, this café also has a location in Chinatown on Maunakea Street. Try the Seafood Laksa ($21.99), Beef Brisket and Tendon Noodle Soup ($18.99), Chicken Steak with Spaghetti ($17.99), Stir Fry Beef Chow Fun ($18.95) and Shrimp Omelette with rice ($18.99).
Celebrating 10 years in Hawaii, Shingen is known for its homemade soba, as seen in the Soba & Mini Tempura Bowl Set ($18.80 lunch, $20.80 dinner). The restaurant also created an Ube Udon ($12.80) for locals.
K Street Food
A first of its kind in Waikiki, K Street Food brings the Korean street food craze to Hawaii and Instagram. Order the Cheese Tteokbokki ($21.99 lunch, $23.99 dinner), Rabokki ($18.99 lunch, $20.99 dinner), Chicken Curry Tteokbokki ($18.99 lunch, $20.99 dinner), Sweet Black Tteokbokki ($18.99 lunch, $20.99 dinner) and Tornado Potato ($9.99 lunch, $11.99 dinner).
Its original location opened in 1969 in Japan, and was listed in the Sapporo Michelin guide. The restaurant’s Shoyu Ramen ($19.98) put them on the map.
Niu Wagyu brings Chinese and Japanese hot pot together using the freshest local ingredients and Wagyu beef from Japan. Opt for the American Wagyu Striploin ($33.95 single pot, $49.95 shared pot).
Honolulu Noodle & Co.
Honolulu Noodle & Co. is the first Taiwanese restaurant in Waikiki and has chefs from Taiwan in the kitchen. Its broth takes 48 hours to make. Try the Beef Noodle ($21.85), Gyoza (six pieces for $8.50) and Pickled Cucumbers ($6.85).
This eatery features handmade musubi made with organic rice from Japan and adjusts the water and rice ratio based on the humidity to create the perfect musubi every time. Try the Salmon & Ikura (white rice; $4.95), Salt (black rice; $2.95), Spam (brown rice; $2.95), Pickled Leaf (white rice; $2.75), Salmon (black rice; $3.82) and Seasoned Kelp (brown rice; $2.75).
Nana’s Green Tea
Known for its matcha, Nana’s Green Tea boasts more than 80 locations in Japan and is known as the Starbucks of green tea. Try the Matcha Shiratama Parfait ($11.50).
This bar is settled in the middle of STIX Asia and brings a bit of Shanghai to Hawaii. Try the Shanghai Old Fashion ($25), Rainbow Shot ($12) and Assorted Oden ($7.75).
At Ao Gelato, try homemade gelato made from Nana’s Green Tea matcha, local fruits and homemade waffle cones. Items include a double scoop of Matcha and Hibiscus Lime or a double scoop of Hawaiian Lilikoi and Hawaiian Honey Lemon ($6.50 each, add a waffle cone for $1).
Gashoken’s famous Kobe Tonkotsu-Ramen Pork Bone Broth takes three days to make and marinates the char siu for 12 hours. Order the Egg “SHIRO” Ramen ($18).