Sneak peek: Taste of Marukai

Tickets are sold out for Thursday’s Taste of Marukai, a first ever for the eight-year-old fest. For the 800 of you who’ll show up at the wholesale chain’s Dillingham store for one of the quirkiest, most fun showcases of Japanese food and drink, here are this year’s primo points, some pairing tips and your basic 411.

Where: Marukai’s flagship Dillingham store, 2310 Kamehameha Hwy.
When: Thursday, April 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Parking: Shuttle service from lots at First Hawaiian Bank, across the street at 1617 Dillingham Blvd., and Puuhale Elementary School, 345 Puuhale Rd.

What to look for

  • Guest chef Russell Siu of 3660 On The Rise prepares two dishes: pan-seared, shichimi-scented mahi mahi with cucumber crab salad and dashi ginger nage; and hoisin-glazed braised short ribs over jasmine rice — tea section, mid-right of store
  • Kagami biraki ceremonial bashing of the giant cask of Tsukasabotan sake at 6 p.m. Sample the brew! — stage, right side next to seafood
  • Live ahi-cutting. Think a 100-pound fish, if we’re lucky, broken down before your eyes in minutes — seafood section
  • Live soba-making. Honda Shoten, a 100-year-old soba enterprise from ultra-traditional Shimane Prefecture, creates buckwheaty strands from start to finish — bento section, back of store

What else

Four sake brewery presidents and representatives, pouring their own labels:

  • Tsukasabotan, known for dry, crisp, clean brews like Senchu Hassaku junmai and maker of the popular Yamayuzu citrus-infused sake (Kochi Prefecture)
  • Kamikokoro, maker of sweet, white peach-infused sake and more traditional sakes brewed from peach yeast (Okayama Pref.)
  • Wakatake, maker of the No. 1-selling daiginjo in the U.S., described as “the Napa cabernet of sake” (Shizuoka Pref.)
  • Ohyama, whose tokubetsu junmai Tomizu carries the higher rice-to-water ratio and round, ricey flavor of old days (Yamagata Pref.)

Most popular food booths

  • Sashimi — in the fish section, right side of store from entrance
  • Tempura — natto section, back right corner
  • Kona Abalone — rice section, mid-right
  • Gokujo Sushi — clothing section, middle
  • Asahi Beer draft machine — furniture section, front left

Other menu items after this video with Marukai’s Yoshi Honma

    More eats
  • Harris Ranch Prime beef medallion
  • Yakitori
  • Yaki miso konnyaku
  • Goya champuru & rafute
  • Tonjiru
  • Pork Shabu Shabu Salad
  • Yamachan ramen
  • House Foods cream stew
  • Aloha Tofu sukui tofu
  • Warabeya musubi
  • Edamame hummus with broiled pimento & green tea cracker
  • Yuzusco tarako potato salad in wonton shell