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skchai

Saimin in Hawaii

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If I recall correctly, those spicy Korean chicken wings were popularized by a former bar owner named Alice (don't recall the last name) and her shop was called Chicken Alice's. It was located on the makai side of Kapiolani Blvd just diamond head of Keeaumoku, across the st. from Tower Records and what used to be Top ada Shoppe.

And wasn't the Italian rest. owned the Lyns/Patti's crew named Bella Italia?

As an aside, anyone remember Hana's Broasted Chicken on Sheridan st.? That was good chicken too.

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Russel,

Thanks so much for that information on the restaurants of the past.

And welcome to egullet - hope to hear more from you in the future!

The former Chicken Alice's is now the site for a ramen shop and an organic mochi shop (as well as the headquarters for Duke Bainum's infinitely drawn-out campaign for Honolulu mayor). Never had the privilege of eating there, unfortunately. . .

Bella Italia went out of business a while ago, but Lynn's is going strong. . .


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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I've been to Hamura's and it was fabulous.

good, I hope to visit Hamura's in a week.


"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"

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i'm a saimin lover. it's the dish i miss the most when away form home in hilo, hawaii. went to hamura's in kauai. i think it's over rated. the noodles were overcooked (major sin) and the soup is just ok. same rating for shiro's saimin haven in honolulu.

my favorites are the kapiolani coffee shop in the waimalu shopping center and the flamingo restaurant in pearl city (not consistantly good).

the best iv'e eaten at a restaurant is at donn's grill in hilo.

my all around favorite is the one that i cook myself almost every morning. i get it from a local market and it's packed with kim chee and a dried scallop. i'm kinda embarrased about mentioning this as my wife and i own the market. but it really is delicious. of course, with a dried scallop in it, any soup would be great.

digressing but i found out about this great site in the honolulu advertiser this morning.

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Welcome to eGullet, lym!

Don't be bashful about telling us more about your saimin and your establishment. Dried scallops and kimchi? Sounds completely upscale and innovative, not to mention ono! How did you come up with the idea, and what other kinds of ready-made food items do you make?


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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the idea came out of necessity. there was a place in hilo called "mr. ramen". it was a little pricey but it was also the best that i have ever eaten. he used to make his own soup and noodles. after he closed, i had to look for a way to continue enjoying saimin as instant saimin just doesn't cut it. the idea of using kim chee and a dried scallop was lucky. i don't know what made me try that combination although i used to make an oxtail-kim chee-miso soup which probably contributed to the idea.

when i make my personal saimin, i add some dried rosemary leaves and crushed black peppercorns. once in a while, even some chinese parsley and mustard cabbage.

we have a lot of prepared and marinated meats which are popular omiyage items as well as usda prime steaks. our registered trademark is "when only the best is good enough!". info can be found in the "omiyage book" under the big island or by emailing me directly.

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yes, although i don't know about the "famous" part. but i'm flattered nevertheless. i'm really enjoying reading the many threads on this forum. great job.

lym

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Couple other saimin places...now gone.

Hall's in Kalihi

Tanoue's in Kaimuki

When I went away to college (40 years ago) instant ramen was in it's infancy. My mother didn't want me to use the soup package that came with it, because of the MSG. So she told me to use canned chicken broth and add in some dried shrimp. Also she said to cook the noodles separate and add to the broth. Was a lot of meals in college! Especially good on cold nights in the Northeast!

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Really interesting story - it's interesting how over the years instant ramen has become entrenched not only in Hawai`i, but even on the mainland, as make-it-yourself dorm food.

Even now, a lot of parents don't want their kids to eat instant ramen because of the MSG and preservatives. One alternative is to use the concentrated Japanese dashi broth that comes in a bottle, at least some of those are made from all-natural ingredients.

Thanks for the memories, pake. Would it be too much to ask whether you live in Hawai`i now or on the mainland?


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Back in Honolulu for a year now, previous 5 years in Okinawa.

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aloha, sk! You asked about the word "sai" in sai min. I was told that it meant

"thin" in the Cantonese dialect of the Chinese language. As "sai min" means

"hypnosis" in the Japanese language, it would seem that "sai min" soup originated with the Chinese in Hawaii and subsequently modified by Japanese and Okinawan

vendors. What do you think?

As to "Dodonpa", was Shiro Matsuo the creator?

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Mahalo, pakeporkchop. You're the first person I met that had a clear answer to that question. And it sounds quite plausible as well. So then saimin in Chinese characters would be "細麺". In Japanese, this is pronounced "saimen" (though probably some Japanese people might read it as "hosomen"), which might explain why a lot of local people actually say "saimen" rather than "saimin".

Also, it is quite possible that Shiro was the creator of the dondonpa - it has been on his menu for a long, long time. I recall it being on the Zippy's menu a long time ago as well, but it's no longer there, which may mean that it was never something that was that important to them. Thanks again!


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Aloha, SK!

According to Shiro, he once worked for Zippy's and had a hand in developing the Zipmin, which seems to be the premium saimin dish for that food chain.

When he went out on his own in the '70s, he created and registered the Dodonpa, which you could say is several steps beyond the Zipmin.

The proof may be in the testing. If you can get one of your erstwhile tasters to down a Zipmin and a Dodonpa side by side and live to tell about it, that will truly extend the boundaries of culinary exploration.

The other avenue of inquiry is to get Charly Higa's side of the story. One day when I feel manly, I just may do that.

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Thanks, pakeporkchop, you're a real archive of important local restaurant information!

Haven't had the Zipmin in a long time. In fact, if I recall correctly, I think that it's not even on the menu any more, though I need to double check that. While plain saimin is still on the Zippy's menu, they've definitely de-emphasized saimin a great deal from the days in which they had a number of "Saimin Lanai"s.

I did have Shiro's dondonpa several months ago at their Palama outpost, and while the toppings and broth were still good, I was disappointed in the noodles, which were a bit flimsy and weak (though "homemade").


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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