Honolulu’s Japanese Food Guide: Shirokiya Food Crawl
Shirokiya’s second-floor Yataimura is pure sensory overload, exactly as its planners wanted. Bustling crowds, the cries of hawkers, the beating of drums: Yataimura, or “food-stall village,” is the closest Hawai‘i gets to a Japanese festival atmosphere.
When to go? For maximum options, all freshly prepared on the spot, opt for an early lunch. For best atmosphere, try happy hour, when after-work crowds pack the beer garden around towers of Kirin.
The only problem? Too many choices. Faced with the dizzying array of street foods, there’s a good chance you’ll succumb to profusion confusion. Best to start with these.
1. Maguro Zanmai
A rainbow of maguro, hamachi, salmon, scallop, squid, ikura and other ultra-fresh seafood makes the chirashi sushi almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
2. Menya Ifu Do Do
For tonkotsu ramen purists, a concentrated broth simmered for dozens of hours using only the head bones of the pig.
Juicy, multi-layered tonkatsu, fanned out on slivered cabbage and slathered with Kimukatsu’s tangy, fruity sauce—this one’s a no-brainer.
Austere Japanese flavors and an array of rice steamed with red beans or vegetables fill these artful bento lunch boxes.
5. Takoyaki Yama-chan
Live drumbeats from this corner tell you the latest batch of takoyaki—savory dough balls stuffed with chunks of soft octopus—is hot off the griddle.