Thursday, October 10, 2019

Nori's Saimin and Snacks in Hilo, Hawaii, USA

Nori's Saimin and Snacks

I took a quick trip to visit my father in Hilo, Hawaii and thought I would hit the noodle scene. Maybe I can find something closer to ramen than saimin. I didn't enjoy saimin when I had it before and wasn't about to try and convince myself otherwise.

Saimin is tough to define, mostly because restaurants just kind of do what they want. Saimin noodles are all flour, but the saimin menu at Nori's includes your choice of saimin noodles, thin egg noodles called Hilo-style ramen, curly egg noodles (ramen), buckwheat soba, and udon. I went with the Hilo-style. Saimin tends to be soft and soggy to me. Maybe the so-called ramen would be more to my liking.

Along with noodles, the shop serves an aray of Japanese-Hawaiian dishes. Noodle burger sliders? Does Keizo know about this?

There are many other dishes, making this a proper restaurant.

The ramen has Chinese-style roast pork and some shreds of a fried egg to make it a questionable bowl. A light, fishy broth with a bit of soy sauce giving some salty flavors. It came with a side of spicy mustard. I don't know if that was meant for the ramen or the side of chicken.

Noodles that weren't mushy. Sure, they weren't as firm as I tend to like, but I'll take it!

Fun, friendly place. My order of ramen came with a side of yakitori, and all the other customers were going all-in with rice dishes, dozens of sides, and extra-large soft drinks. Hawaiians love to eat.

In general, Japanese-style yakitori in America seems to be covered in sweet tare, called teriyaki sauce. I'm not a fan.

I read (in America) that teriyaki was created in Hawaii by Japanese immigrants who mixed pineapple juice with soy sauce to make an original glaze for meats. I also read (in Japan) that teriyaki was created by the burger chain MOS Burger in the 70s. Either way, I find it too sweet as the main seasoning of meats, though I'll eat a teriyaki burger with sliced pineapple any day.

I like the kitschy nature of the place, with retro sticker machines, toys, and framed newspaper accolades all really bring the place together. Many people get a chocolate mochi cake to go, or maybe some of their mustard cabbage koko, a kind of kimchi.

Official site here.