New at Shirokiya: Yataimura

Photo by Martha Cheng

Drinking and eating at Shirokiya's Yataimura

Have you been to Shirokiya lately? It has remodeled the entire third floor into one large, rambling food court, dubbed Yataimura, emulating the street food stands of Tokyo. On a recent weeknight, young people packed the tables, rather than the smattering of meandering little old Japanese ladies pre-renovation. It could be the new offerings of yakitori, udon, soba, ramen, bentos, sashimi and sushi that draws the younger crowd, but more likely, it’s the beer. From 5:30 to 10 p.m., a pitcher of Bud Light is $4, Kirin is $8, Asahi is $12. At these prices, the third floor food court turns into a festive indoor beer garden. Most people are snacking on edamame and a few pieces of sushi here and there, but if you need something more substantial, we recommend visiting the ramen stand, where the ramen battle continues. Since late August, Shirokiya has been bringing in different Japanese ramen vendors every two weeks; whichever shop sells the most bowls of ramen wins. Each vendor has its own varieties, differing mainly in the broth (all the noodles are made by Sun Noodle, and they're slightly different from the noodles in ramen restaurants around town: They're thinner and have a touch more chew). One of the previous visiting shops, Hakata Chouen, had a more porky, opaque broth, whereas the broth from current shop, Hidechan, is clearer and more bonito heavy.

Ramen from Hidechan

Currently, Manshuya Ga Ichiban is the ramen to beat, which drew in 9,619 eaters. (It has a quite a lead over the next place contestant, Hakata Chouen, with 7,805 bowls of ramen served.)

Here’s the upcoming ramen schedule:
Hidechan Ramen, Oct. 2 to Nov. 6.
Hakata Daruma, Nov. 7 to Nov. 20.
Tokyo Hikarimen, Nov. 28 to Dec. 27.

Shirokiya, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ste 2250, 973-9111,