Honolulu’s Japanese Food Guide: Okazuya
PHOTO: OLIVIER KONING
The Local Japanese Deli
They dot older neighborhoods like culinary time capsules, holdovers from plantation days when housewives sold hearty bento lunches to bachelors working in the fields. Today, Honolulu’s remaining okazuya are testaments to the islands’ unique homegrown style of Japanese cuisine and the non-Japanese favorites it came to embrace. Shoyu hot dogs, mac salad, sweet potato tempura, chow fun: Just pick and choose.
Pure okazuya eye candy: Platters of butterfish, furikake chicken and other favorites line the shelves in the window, with daily selections of homemade fishcake starring at the top. Order ahead for red velvet, butter pecan, blueberry cream cheese or one of the other 80-plus types of andagi, which are apt to sell out by 7 a.m.
$,1351 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 533-6169
Jewels of old-style flavor, rarities such as shiraae (mashed tofu, white sesame and white miso) and sweetened lima beans get equal play with mochiko chicken, fried akule and shiso musubi at this Mō‘ili‘ili icon.
$, 2710 S. King St., (808) 946-2073
Rustic finds in a genre defined by rustic, Kabuki’s toothsome, thick-cut kimpira gobo, soupy chicken squash and other simple dishes are throwbacks to country cooking.
$, 98-020 Kamehameha Highway, (808) 487-2424