Let’s set real estate aside for a moment. It’s all about the food! Yes, there are libations to consider, but delicious food is what it is all about on Kauai. After all, when the nights are cool, clear, and long, eating becomes a pastime!

Of the different cuisines of influence on Kauai, Japanese food does stand out as a major contributor. Bento, sushi, tako, tempura, and shoyu are just some of the names all Kauai islanders are familiar with.

But what about ramen? With origins from China, one could argue ramen is a Chinese dish. That may be so, but with hundreds, if not thousands of years of Japanese influence, ramen has differentiated itself into something distinctly Japanese.

Saimin Isn’t Ramen

Saimin is a fusion found primarily in Hawaii, and incorporating other influences in addition to Japanese cuisine, it is unique unto itself.
Ramen, on the other hand, is a specific noodle dish found throughout Japan with a wide variation of noodle types and soup bases. It is common in Hawaii, but not to be confused with saimin.

Last evening, we were treated to an amazing ramen meal. The chef chose a shoyu base recipe, and substituting in saimin noodles for ramen noodles (on an island, one often has to improvise), adding chashu pork, barbequed pork, snow peas, sprouts and eggs…we were spoiled with the most amazing ‘ramen’ one could imagine. Perfect for the long cool February evenings that have pressed themselves down upon us!

What could be better than to cook and eat together, island style? Many mahalos to the chef and his family for the warm invitation and wonderful meal!

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