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

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.


3. Kimukatsu


Juicy, multi-layered tonkatsu, fanned out on slivered cabbage and slathered with Kimukatsu’s tangy, fruity sauce—this one’s a no-brainer.


4. Galali


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.



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