Posts Tagged 'Japanese Food'

Mom’s Home Cooking!

Mom and Dad were here from Japan to help out during the first weeks after baby was born, which meant I could focus on my recovery and caring for baby while Mom cooked up healthy delicious meals every day!! How lucky am I?

The past 2 months flew by and Mom and Dad already went back home, but I found some photos I snapped of our dinners together.

Mom’s homemade gyoza and oven roasted veggies

Mabo eggplant and bell pepper, kabocha pumpkin, and tomato salad.

New York steak, sauteed green beans, kimchi tofu, salmon and shiso rice.

Penne pasta with shrimp and homemade tomato sauce, salad.


Nagasaki Champon – Ringer Hut

Ringer Hut is a chain restaurant originating from Nagasaki, Japan specializing in champon and saraudon at inexpensive prices. Nagasaki in Southern Japan is well known for champon (a ramen dish characterized by a medley of veggies, meats and seafoods on top) and saraudon (crispy noodles topped with a thick sauce with a medley of veggies, meats and seafood). The word champon refers to a random mixture, or medley.

Ringer Hut recently opened its first Hawaii restaurant in the old Menchanko Tei location in the Waikiki Trade Center, so a while back hubby and I headed down to check it out. The Waikiki location also serves tonkatsu because the company also operates a chain of tonkatsu restaurants in Japan.

Hubby ordered the Middle Champon lunch set ($6.50) which comes with a bowl of champon and 3 small pieces gyoza.

I had the Saraudon ($8.50) – the noodles were perfectly thin and crispy. I like mine with a little vinegar.

It was a perfect quick and cheap lunch.

MENU: Here’s some photos I took of the menu, as of 08/24/12:

Nagasaki Champon Ringer Hut
Ground level, Waikiki Trade Center
2255 Kuhio Ave. Suite 11
Honolulu, HI 96815
Daily 11:00a-11:00p
Validated parking at Waikiki Trade Center, only after 5:00pm
(I usually park at the metered lot on the EWA/MAKAI corner of Kuhio and Lewers St.)

Baby Shower – Part I

The other week a friend threw a lovely get together for us to help welcome our baby girl. Hubby was also invited and he was delighted to be included in his very first baby shower experience, pastel pink and all.

The hostess made an adorable three-tiered diaper cake, and centerpieces in light pink stock flowers and white tulips.

Lunch was at Restaurant Suntory in the Royal Hawaiian Center, one of my faves for authentic Japanese food (one of the rare places that actually makes miso soup broth from scratch using bonito flakes and kelp). We dined on a delicious menu of tempura, misoyaki butterfish and California roll. For dessert, she brought green tea roll cakes from Le Palme D’or.

After lunch we enjoyed traditional baby shower games and opened presents. We received so much adorable baby stuff in pink and lace and frills that hubby and I joked that it would be hilarious if the baby was born and he turned out to be a boy! (Apparently, mistakes like this happen sometimes).

We were so overwhelmed by the love and support in the room, and feel so lucky that our daughter is already so blessed to have so many people welcoming her into the world.

Dirt Cheap Eats: Sukiya!


Strapped for cash? Head to Sukiya, where ¥200 will get you breakfast and ¥400 will get you a satisfying lunch. On day 3 for lunch, we found ourselves in Sukiya at Shibuya for lunch. Sukiya is a major national fast food chain specializing in gyu-don (beef bowls). Sukiya and Yoshinoya are kind of like the McDonalds and Burger King of Japan. You can build your own meal by first selecting the desired size of gyu-don, ranging from mini to mega size, and adding on toppings, miso soup, raw egg, and side dishes to your liking. In addition to gyu-don, they also have curry rice, hamburger steak and other entrees.

Hubby got the medium-large sized beef bowl with takana and mentaiko mayo topping (¥480) and a side of macaroni salad (¥40).


I got the mini gyu-don (¥230) and made it a set by adding on tonjiru and raw egg (¥130) and salad (¥100) for a total of ¥460 only!


What a deal!

A Peek at Waikiki’s Newest: Five Star International Buffet

While shopping at Royal Hawaiian Center the other day, we learned the Five Star International Buffet which was under construction for some time now was finally open. We had already eaten, but the friendly hostess invited us inside to take a look around. Buffet restaurants don’t usually inspire expectations of elegance, but this restaurant pleasantly defied my expectations. The interior design and furnishings and dimly lit bar counter are modern and stylish. The galley style buffet space is not visible from the dining areas, adding to the sophistication of the space, and the food is elegantly presented. The food is set out in small portions, and chefs in the elevated kitchen space directly behind the food keep a sharp eye out so it stays fresh and replenished. One look at the food presentation and I knew this restaurant was under Japanese management. Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste the cuisine, but I hope it tastes as good as it looks. Here’s a portion of the dinner offerings:


Ikura with Yamaimo, Pork Kakuni in the back:

Chawanmushi and Nimono in the back:

Assorted maki and nigiri sushi:

Assorted tempura:

Shrimp and Scallop stir fry:


Some Western dishes including pasta and beef stew?:

In addition, there were also chilled selections including shrimp cocktail, oysters, cheeses and various salads.

Pricing for lunch and dinner:

They have a small private room, so it would be perfect for a special occasion or small company gathering. It’s a little pricey so I’ll have to wait for the next special occasion, but I can’t wait to try it. I have a feeling this is one buffet I’ll leave feeling satisfied, but not overstuffed and hating myself.

MENU: View a sample menu on their website. 

Five Star International Buffet
Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg C, Level 3 (by Forever 21)
2201 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815

Hours (see above photo)

Today’s Lunch for One

Natto onigiri and miso soup with onions and zucchini.

Natto is one of my favorite musubi fillings. Natto musubis are hard to find nowadays, but for a brief period in the mid-90s Family Mart (a convenience store chain in Japan) used to carry it. After school, my friends and I, in our Japanese school uniforms, used to love going to the nearby ファミマ “Fami-Ma” to buy snacks. I was in love with their natto musubi.

There are various theories online about why natto musubis are rarely sold today, when natto maki sushi can be found anywhere. Apparently the mix of warm rice combined with the live cultures in the fermented natto doesn’t make for an ideal situation, food safety-wise and smell-wise. I guess it’s just easier to deal with served with cold sushi rice (thanks to the antibacterial effects of vinegar).

But, I say, they’re just not the same – one is not a substitution for the other! I love natto maki too, but I also love natto musubis in a different way. I make both at home, depending on which one I’m in the mood for: hikiwari (finely chopped) natto is the only way to go for natto maki and shiso leaves are a must. For the musubi I prefer the larger whole beans seasoned well with shoyu and a generous sprinkling of salt on the outside of the rice ball. It’s a little sticky and messy (watch out for that falling bean!) but SO worth it.

れんこんの挟み焼き Lotus Root & Chicken Grilled Sandwiches ??

When my mom used to cook with lotus root when I was little, I liked to play with them because they reminded me of the dials on old-school telephones. Now they just look a little creepy, like little spore monsters. れんこんの挟み焼き(Renkon-no-hasamiyaki) is a popular and healthy Japanese dish, combining the crunchy texture of the lotus root with a meat filling.

Ground chicken, about 1lb
A dash of salt, sake, and ground ginger to season the chicken
Lotus root, 1 medium-sized section

Season ground chicken with whatever you like (I used sake, salt, ground ginger) and mix well.

Peel lotus root and cut into 1/4 inch thin slices. Soak for a few minutes in water + a dash of vinegar, then drain.

Dust one side of the lotus root slices with cornstarch. This cornstarch acts to bind the chicken to the lotus root, so assemble the sandwich by using cornstarch dusted sides on the “insides” of the sandwich (think of it as the mayo of the sandwich). Spoon some chicken onto a lotus slice, then press another slice down gently on top, so that some of the chicken “oozes” a bit into the holes. (This picture below looks like the corn starch side is on the outside, but it’s not – it just got messy from the extra cornstarch).

Heat a pan with some oil and cook the sandwiches with the lid on until the meat is done, then lift the lid and finish frying until both sides are golden. I coated mine in teriyaki sauce at the end, but you can enjoy it as is, dipped in ponzu sauce, kochujang, or whatever. Variations: ground pork works well too, or you could coat the whole sandwich in cornstarch and deep-fry.

December 2018
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