How to make the perfect okazuya bento

Five easy steps to crafting an okazuya bento.


Okazuya Japanese delis began popping up in towns around the islands in the early 1900s as families set up shop after their plantation contracts expired. A collection of local favorites on display in hotel pans and plates often behind a glass window, okazuya delicacies have become staples in our local food culture and usually include a variety of Japanese, Filipino and Chinese recipes. Often family owned and operated, these shops open at the crack of dawn and each have iconic specialities like macaroni salad, nori chicken and nishime that have people lining up early for the best selection.


I often go to okazuya for a quick snack or to create a bento-style lunch. The variety of options allows you to customize a plate lunch with all of your favorite dishes. The aunties behind the counter will build your plate as you point to the items you want. The assortment of food can be overwhelming, however, I believe there’s a formula to making the perfect okazuya bento.


With five easy steps you can create a plate that will surely satisfy all of your cravings.


Okazuya food groups:

1: Choose your rice

Select from furikake musubi, shiso musubi, cone sushi, hot dog musubi, Spam musubi and ume plum musubi.


2: Choose your noodle(s)

Select from chow funn or chow mein.


3: Choose your protein(s)

Select from various fried chicken options, BBQ meat sticks, teri beef, shoyu pork, fried fish and various tofu and fish patties.


4: Choose your tempura

Select from shrimp, potato or vegetable tempura.


5: Choose your vegetable(s)

Select from namasu (cold marinated vegetables), nishime (warm vegetable stew), kimpira gobo (marinated burdock root), shirae (green beans with miso) and various specialty vegetables.


And voila! You have the perfect customized okazuya bento to enjoy right then and there or where ever your day takes you.


Fukuya Delicatessen, 2710 S King St., Moiliili, (808) 946-2073, Wednesday–Sunday, 6 a.m.–2 p.m.
Also, check out Frolic’s Top 6: Okazuya