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Hawaiian food in Japan


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The Japanese love Hawaii :biggrin: anyone who has ever walked around Wakiki can tell you that, there are probably more Japanese tourists than other countries combined.....

So why did it take so long for Hawaiian food to catch on in Japan and why isn't it very good yet?

Ok, some of them are good. :biggrin:

Some of the big names in Hawaii have had restaurants for quite a while now

Alan Wong

Sam Choy

Roy Yamaguchi

Then there are the places that have been popping up all over the place recently.

here are some from gurunabi (a Japanese restaurant search engine) and from e-food.jp but they are far from complete as most of the places I have eaten at aren't even listed...

do you have any favorite places?

Edited by torakris (log)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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One of my favorite places is Kua 'Aina (hamburger shop)and they seem to be doing well in Japan, but with burgers costing close to 1,000 yen ($10) a piece it isn't a place i really want to take my family of 5 very often.....

Kua 'Aina Japan

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Hawaiian Bowl located in Aqua City at Odaiba (Tokyo) is a pretty good deal for the price, at 500 yen ($5) for a loco moco, or a set including a drink and salad for 680 yen ($6.80) and it doesn't taste half bad. :biggrin: The portions were on the small side though.....

I have easily paid twice that for a loco moco that sucks. :angry:

Some of the dissapointing places I have been to include

Sun Aloha I think they only had about 3 Hawaiian dishes on the menu :blink: it was mostly curry rice and not even very good at that.... This was the Yokohama (Kannai) shop

H1 Cafe in Yokohama (Nakamachidai on the Yokohama subway line), I went here with a large group of friends for dinner and was able to sample quite a bit of the menu and wasn't impressed by anything. The onion rings were in a puddle of grease, the chips and salsa/guacamole platter had a handful of chips and two tiny white cups filled with salsa and guacamole about enough for only one chip and it was some ridiculous price, the spareribs were 85% fat with the rest being bone and lacked any flavor.....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Interesting..... Do these places serve 1) actual Hawaiian food (meaning Kalua pig, laulau, poi, etc.), 2) Pacific Rim Cusine (East-West Fusion, so popular in Hawaii by people such as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, etc.), or 3) "Hawaii food", what I term the foods popular to eat in Hawaii that are basically versions of certain Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portugese, American foods that have found thier own personality in Hawaii, i.e. "plate lunch", the most popular items of which are chicken katsu, and BBQ or teriyaki chicken or beef, equipped with rice and mac salad. Plate lunch would also include things created in Hawaii such as loco moco.

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I saw Kua Aina when I was walking around Tokyo (somewhere between Shibuya and Omotesando stations)

TokyoKuaAina.jpg

I wonder if this Kua Aina has the same menu as the one in Hawaii....basically a really good and popular burger shop, with nothing much "Hawaii" to it, except that it began here (and one "Hawaiian" burger which has pineapple on it), before expanding to include shops in LA and Tokyo.

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A question about Hawaii versus Japanese foods..... who invented the Spam musubi?? Was it the Japanese in Japan or the Japanese in Hawaii???

Is spam even popular in Japan?? We totally love it in Hawaii, myself included. :biggrin:

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Interesting..... Do these places serve 1) actual Hawaiian food (meaning Kalua pig, laulau,  poi, etc.), 2) Pacific Rim Cusine (East-West Fusion, so popular in Hawaii by people such as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, etc.), or 3) "Hawaii food", what I term the foods popular to eat in Hawaii that are basically versions of certain Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portugese, American foods that have found thier own personality in Hawaii, i.e. "plate lunch", the most popular items of which are chicken katsu, and BBQ or teriyaki chicken or beef, equipped with rice and mac salad.  Plate lunch would also include things created in Hawaii such as loco moco.

Well the Roy and Alan Wong restaurants serve the fusion stuff. I don't yet know of any places that sell true Hawaiian food (poi, laulau, etc) most of them serve "local foods" like locomoco, poke, etc and the plate lunch is getting mopre and more popular.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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A question about Hawaii versus Japanese foods..... who invented the Spam musubi??  Was it the Japanese in Japan or the Japanese in Hawaii???

Is spam even popular in Japan??  We totally love it in Hawaii, myself included. :biggrin:

I am pretty sure this was invented in Hawaii, since the only places you will see on a menu are Hawaiian restaurants here...

Spam is sort of seen as a gourmet product here and is quite expensive and normally only for sale in international markets..... :blink:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Apparently at Spam corporate headquaters there is a big banner sign that reads "Thank you Hawaii".

So can we expect to see Spam Musabi rolls in trendy Japanese eateries soon?

Trivia on Spam: Same thing in Korea, sort of a gourmet product. Maybe not gourmet so much as something special in that it's not widely available. They slice it and sautee, sometimes dipping the slices in egg first. Rice, spam and kimchi. It's not considered a gourmet meal though. I don't eat pork or pork products. But I have tried sauteed beef sausage with rice and kimchi. Tasty combination.

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I think the kind of place I really want here in Japan is something along the lines of Yummy Korean BBQ (a fast food chain that is all over the islands), you know you pick a main , get two scoops of rice and then pick a couple sides, all for a good price and you actually get full. :biggrin:

and believe it it or not look what some internet sarching has found

Yummy Korean BBQ in Japan!!!!

in Nagoya..... :angry:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I saw Kua Aina when I was walking around Tokyo (somewhere between Shibuya and Omotesando stations)

TokyoKuaAina.jpg

I wonder if this Kua Aina has the same menu as the one in Hawaii....basically a really good and popular burger shop, with nothing much "Hawaii" to it, except that it began here (and one "Hawaiian" burger which has pineapple on it), before expanding to include shops in LA and Tokyo.

I think it probably has the same menu--an assortment of sandwiches (pastrami, mahi mahi, BLT, etc.), an assortment of burgers (including the pineapple one and the ever-popular avocado), popcorn shrimp, fries, onion rings...clam chowder...The drinks might be different--the ones here have oolong tea, (very strong) iced tea, and iced coffee. Do the ones in Hawaii have those? And they don't even have sprite/7-Up or root beer at these ones!

The first one in Japan (which I believe is the one in your picture) opened in, I think, 1997 or 1998. I used to make a 2-3-hour one-way trip to Tokyo every month just to eat there (and buy root beer at National Azabu). It was relatively expensive at the time, but it did amazingly well and I think they now have more shops in Japan than in Hawaii. In fact, I think the Tokyo one (and several of the other Japanese ones) opened before the one in LA. Now that I'm in Osaka, I enjoy having one nearby (which just opened last spring). It's in the same building as my baking class, so I get there fairly often. And, it's especially nice that the prices don't seem to have changed much in the past 8 or so years!

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A question about Hawaii versus Japanese foods..... who invented the Spam musubi?? Was it the Japanese in Japan or the Japanese in Hawaii???

Kiem, I love spam musubi. There is a great book that outlines the food cultures of Hawaii and how they fused together called "Foods of Paradise". Spam Musubi is definitely Hawaiian.

Have you ever had spam and pickle (regular cucumber pickles) musubi? Its such a good combination.

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I think it probably has the same menu--an assortment of sandwiches (pastrami, mahi mahi, BLT, etc.), an assortment of burgers (including the pineapple one and the ever-popular avocado), popcorn shrimp, fries, onion rings...clam chowder...The drinks might be different--the ones here have oolong tea, (very strong) iced tea, and iced coffee.  Do the ones in Hawaii have those? And they don't even have sprite/7-Up or root beer at these ones!   

The first one in Japan (which I believe is the one in your picture) opened in, I think, 1997 or 1998.  I used to make a 2-3-hour one-way trip to Tokyo every month just to eat there (and buy root beer at National Azabu).  It was relatively expensive at the time, but it did amazingly well and I think they now have more shops in Japan than in Hawaii.  In fact, I think the Tokyo one (and several of the other Japanese ones) opened before the one in LA.  Now that I'm in Osaka, I enjoy having one nearby (which just opened last spring).  It's in the same building as my baking class, so I get there fairly often.  And, it's especially nice that the prices don't seem to have changed much in the past 8 or so years!

Wow, Im pretty surprised to know there are so many Kua Ainas in Japan....I had thought there was just ONE in Tokyo... I'm sure the menus there have been Japanized at least as far as the drinks....as we have soda but not tea offered at the ones over here, at least not the last time I went. (Which is awhile ago, and I have only been to the original branch in Haleiwa, not the second branch over here).

Maybe when I come to Osaka this spring I will check out the Kua Aina there (or I can send my sister in the meantime).

Where is it located?

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Kua Aina in Japan - 11 total?

http://www.kua-aina.com/main.html

Osaka Branch:  in Nanba Parks

大阪府大阪市浪速区難波中2-10-70なんばパークス6F

Map

http://gourmet.yahoo.co.jp/gourmet/restaur...A-9BDSM010.html

11 seems about right. There's another Osaka one at USJ (Universal Studios Japan), I think. The Namba Parks one is the one I usually go to. The first time I went there, I was very disappointed--my burger was dry and barely warm. It seemed as though it was a left-over burger from the previous night (though I think they make them as ordered). The half-a-dozen or so times I've eaten there since, however, the burger has been great. Juicy, messy, and fabulous. Until yesterday, that is. Once again, my burger was dry and barely warm, and the bread was stale. Oh well, I guess it can't be perfect every time!

Don't know if your sister has been there, but if you need directions, let me know. It's not hard to find but that area can be confusing.

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  • 2 months later...

What the heck is in the poki moco... I see nori, the egg, takuan, rice and what looks like some kind of meat.

Loco Moco is one of my current favorites at the plate lunch places here.

sorry I actually misspelled that it is poke moco, poke is dish of raw fish with some type of seasoning and various garnishes. The Japanese pronounce it poki (ポキ) though it actually pronounced more like po-keh or po-kay. I had the Japanese pronunciation in my head....

poke thread

and by the way, in the picture the fish was tuna

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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from Hawaiian Bowl at Aqua City in Odaiba, Tokyo

poki moco and loco moco

poke moco.... :blink::blink:

Im not sure what to think about this....how was it?

This must be a Japanese invention. ive never seen that in Hawaii

Edit to add:

My BF's sister said she had Ahi-moco here before (at Sam Choy's restaurant). It was a grilled piece of Ahi, in the typical loco-moco style, which she said was really yummy.

Edited by Kiem Hwa (log)
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poke moco can be found at most Hawaiian places here in Japan, it wasn't bad but I have had beetter at different places.

I like it because it is much lighter than a loco moco...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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There is a small place in Akasaka called Ogo's that apparently serves Hawaiian food. Have not been, but my spouse and her Hawaii friends swear by it. Menu changes regularly, but I am told that Ogo's serves lomi lomi salmon, kahlua pig, lau lau and other classics.

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There is a small place in Akasaka called Ogo's that apparently serves Hawaiian food.  Have not been, but my spouse and her Hawaii friends swear by it.  Menu changes regularly, but I am told that Ogo's serves lomi lomi salmon, kahlua pig, lau lau and other classics.

Found it!

OGO

I wish I had known about this place a couple months ago when I was in Akasaka with a friend and looking for something to eat....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Kristin, Sorry I didn't catch this thread the first time! The Nagoya Yummy's is an "official" branch of the PBHK empire. It had been mentioned that they were planning to branch out to Japan, but I don't know why they decided upon Nagoya instead of the Kantou area. I believe they have their sights on the mainland US too, but definitely not in Korea!

Kua`aina has two locations in Hawaii - besides the original in Haleiwa, there is another in the Victoria Ward shops near Ward Center/Warehouse. Those shops are going to be razed and another multi-tower thing is going up as part of the Kaka`ako redevelopment plans. However, I believe Kua`aina will be one of the tenants who will re-lease in the new location.

Had some stuff about Yummy in the thread on Univ. of Hawai`i campus dining. Never went to Kua`aina - burgers are not my forte.

As far as the Poke Moco is concerned, I dunno. Raw fish and fried egg? At least there's no brown gravy on it. . .

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

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Ogo looks interesting - but the one thing I notice about all the Hawaii-style restaurants in Japan is that the food is so "neatly" prepared compared to what you get in Hawaii. The spam musubi is kawaii-zed to the max compared to the big lump you get here.

BTW, Ogo in Hawaiian is "limu loa". Because it's crunchy, it's often used in poke dishes. Plain ol' "limu" (seaweed) usually refers to ogo, and the term ogo is often used here too. . .

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

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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As far as the Poke Moco is concerned, I dunno.  Raw fish and fried egg?  At least there's no brown gravy on it. . .

I actually like the combination of raw fish and fried egg... :blink: I have been making bibimbap for years with sashimi and often topping it with a fried egg.

One of my most recent bibimbaps was poke style (tuna was marinated in soy, sesame oil and pine nuts), I would have added an egg but they are really expensive right now....

gallery_6134_119_9851.jpg

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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