Our Go-to: Chilly Weather Bowls of Soup in Honolulu that Soothe the Soul

Top picks to try when it’s 70 degrees and gloomy.


Raise your hand if you wished for a steaming hot bowl of something soothing and soupy these last few days. Remember the last few days? Howling gusts, record-breaking rains, flooding everywhere—and this after a weekend of record low temperatures and blizzards on the volcanoes. We barely made 70 degrees in Honolulu last Saturday!


Now that the skies have dried up and we’re out and about again, here’s a roundup of all the bowls we’ve been collectively fantasizing about. Happy slurping!


Hokkaido Ramen Santouka shio char siu ramen

Whenever the temperature drops just a little below 80, I immediately start to plan how to incorporate Hokkaido Ramen Santouka into my day. My go-to is always the medium size shio char siu ramen. Over the years, the noodles have been consistently al dente, the beautiful pork-based broth is almost chewable, and the bowl is topped with meltingly soft char siu pork. This is the only bowl that, by the time I’m finished, every noodle has been slurped and every drop of soup drunk. —Gregg Hoshida


801 Kaheka St., (808) 941-1101, @santouka.kaheka



Lam’s Kitchen Beef Brisket Soup

Lams Kitchen Beef Brisket Noodle Soup Tracy Chan

Photo: Tracy Chan


On a rainy, chilly day, I yearn to bury my face in a bowl of hearty beef brisket soup, a signature dish at beloved Chinatown hole-in-the-wall Lam’s Kitchen. Generous chunks of beef and rich broth pair with wide, soft, house-made look funn noodles for a flavorful, warming treat. —Tracy Chan


1152 Maunakea St., (808) 536-6222



Maguro Ya Nabeyaki Udon

Maguro Ya Nabeyaki Udon Lauren Kaneshiro

Photo: Lauren Kaneshiro


On cold nights, a bowl of nabeyaki udon satisfies my craving for something warm and comforting. There’s a variety of vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, udon noodles and a crispy shrimp tempura to top if off. The soup base is warm and savory, yet extremely flavorful. This a one-pot Japanese comfort dish. —Lauren Kaneshiro


3565 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 732-3775, @maguroyakaimuki



Menchanko Tei Miso Menchanko


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I was in search of a traditional Japanese ramen shop and this was a friend’s first recommendation. And it was great! While I enjoyed the ramen (they also inherited Goma Ichi’s ramen recipes after that shop closed), it was the signature Menchanko dish that I fell in love with, specifically the miso menchanko. A flavorful miso broth filled with chewy noodles, leafy vegetables, tofu, thin slices of pork, and two tail-on shrimp. It’s supposedly a staple of the sumo wrestler diet. I can taste why they wouldn’t mind eating it every day. —Eric Baranda


903 Ke‘eaumoku St., (808) 946-1888, @menchankotei (in Japanese)



Nabeya Maido Microwavabowls


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I never thought I would fantasize about a prepackaged bowl whose only prep is to stick it in the microwave for five minutes, but here we are. Torrential rain and chilly temps had me wishing I had Nabeya Maido’s Microwavabowls in my fridge. They’re the soupy equivalent of a personal pan pizza: personal hotpots with bouncy chicken meatballs, thinly sliced pork, aburaage fried tofu skins, mushrooms and vegetables, arrayed on a bed of ramen, udon or tofu. My broth of choice is the house shoyu soup, gentle and soothing. I do order a stack when I know I’ll be too busy to cook; we finished ours two days before Monday’s storm and yes, I wished for more. —Mari Taketa


2919 Kapiolani Blvd., (808) 739-7739, nabeyamaidohi.com, @nabeyamaido



Ripple of Smiles Pho

Pho Ripples Of Smiles Credit Martha Cheng

Photo: Martha Cheng


When seeking warmth, I often turn to fragrant and lively pho, just the thing to perk up cold-dulled senses. The Ripple of Smiles, the cheerful Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of Kaimukī, provides a perfectly straightforward bowl, fresh and flavorful, with choices from beef to vegan. —Martha Cheng


3040 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 354-2572, therippleofsmiles.com, @the_ripple_of_smiles 



Rokaru Shabu Shabu


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I love the AYCE at Rokaru, specifically with the tonkatsu broth. The quality of ingredients, from meats to veggies, has always been good and complimentary matcha ice tea is a nice bonus. They’re currently only open for dinner and the prices have gone up, so if you go, I recommend working up an appetite and getting AYCE to get the most bang for your buck. —Eric Baranda


1140 Kuala St., (808) 455-3000, rokaruhi.com, @rokaruhi



Ruscello Lobster Bisque


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The lobster bisque at Ruscello will never not make me think of lunch with my mom and could satisfy any chilly day craving. The soup is creamy and flavorful with a rich seafood base, a fragrant trace of sherry and lingering warm spices. I always order a couple of extra cheesy toast points for dunking. Not much can mask my contentment when I drain the bottom of the bowl. —Maria Burke


Inside Nordstrom Ala Moana, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 953-6110, @ruscellohawaii



Saigon Noodle House Seafood Pho

Seafood Pho Saigon Noodle Kailua Robbie Dingeman

Photo: Robbie Dingeman


Few things brighten a soggy day better than a steaming bowl of pho. As I ladle the broth, fragrant with cinnamon, cloves and star anise, into my bowl, I breathe a little deeper and more slowly, savoring the scent as it warms the rice noodles topped with shrimp, calamari and fish. I choose from a pile of fresh herbs, adding basil and bean sprouts a handful at a time before digging in with chopsticks. My takeout spot in Kailua is Saigon Noodle House known for its fast and kind service. –Robbie Dingeman


1020 Keolu Drive, (808) 261-2466 



Sansei Seafood Restaurant Crab Truffle Ramen


On stormy nights, what I REALLY want to do is lie around like a megasloth under the blankets. If I do eat something, though, I feel like I should reward myself with something simple but luxurious. Sansei’s crab truffle ramen has all those elements. Crab. Truffle. Ramen. They do curbside pickup, too, so I don’t have to change out of my sweats to run in to get it! —Melissa Chang


2552 Kalakaua Ave., (808) 931-6286, dkrestaurants.com, @sansei.hawaii



Zippy’s Saimin

Saimin Zippys Credit Martha Cheng

Photo: Martha Cheng


There are few things as soothingly simple as saimin. Zippy’s saimin is one of my go-to bowls—perfectly cooked noodles in a crystal clear broth—easily accessible, available from early to late. And because carb on carbs is utter comfort to me, a side of grilled cornbread. —Martha Cheng


Multiple locations, zippys.com