The 5 Best Japanese Foods to Eat in Honolulu

SAST is back from a weekend trip to Oahu over the MLK holiday (see my Instagram for some snaps of the cool hiking we did!).  Always up for a good food adventure, we decided to explore and only eat at restaurants “new to us.”  It turns out, all of them were new spots near Waikiki.

If you haven’t been to Waikiki in a while, it’s definitely going through a rebuilding.  There are new restaurants and hotspots everywhere.  I had only been just a few months before, but it seems like there have just been a ton of newcomers.  Part of me is excited for the new stuff, but a small part of me is a little bummed since some of the traditional “aloha” spirt is a bit missing in some of the new, modern restaurants.

One of the newest entries on the food scene in Waikiki is Yokocho Gourmet Food Alley.  It reminds me of the small specialty restaurants you find in train stations throughout Tokyo–good food, small spaces, and friendly service.  Yokocho offers all of the above!  Although some of the restaurant spots are still in the process of being built, we were able to try a few that were open for business.

Yokocho Gourmet Food Alley

Japanese Curry:  Nin Nin curry house had just opened the day we went, so they had a limited menu.  We ordered a veggie curry, which had an excellent array of veg (unlike most standard curries with just carrots and potatoes).  The Japanese curry sauce was a balanced sweet and spicy mix and the rice was good.  Not quite as good as our local Curry House, but I’m not going to complain, I love Japanese curry!

Okonomiyaki: Kingyo’s which is a teppan grill, had a wide variety of dishes, but I went with a favorite:  okonomiyaki, or Japanese pancake.  Made of cabbage, egg and flour (as well as a variety of other foods, your choice) it’s a delicious mix of savory, fluffy goodness.  We went for the caprese style, which had a tomato sauce and cheese on it!  Delish.  Two other favorite spots for Okonomiyaki are Jinroku and Chibo.  Both are amazing, but Kingyo’s is a nice budget option.

I am VERY excited about okonomiyaki!


Honorable Mention:  Nana’s Green Tea has, hands down, some of the best green tea I’ve had–and in ice cream form!  A great place for desert in Yokocho.

Green Tea sundae with cornflakes!

International Marketplace

The International Marketplace has been turned into what can only be described as a mega-mall.  The top floor offers restaurants (and more are being built) including one from Hawaii’s favorite chef, Roy Yamaguchi (his 1849 looked great and we had eaten there on Kauai a few years back!).

Ramen: Goma Tei is a new ramen restaurant on the top floor.  It’s spacious and has a traditional ramen bar, as well as table seating.  They offer ramen as well as curry and other noodle dishes.  I got the veg shoyu ramen and it was tasty.  Bob went for the curry noodles. Service was extremely friendly–and a note on your bill, they add the service charge automatically, similar to how they do it in Japan.

Shoyu Ramen from Goma Tei

Ala Moana Shopping Center

Ok, so I don’t have a specific recommendation other than go to the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk.  If it’s Japanese food, you can get it here.  We didn’t eat here but we are definitely going on a food frenzy next time we visit!

Old Favorites

Marukame Udon:  Is a legend for udon and tempura.  There’s always a line, but it moves quickly.  It’s not a trip to Oahu without it.

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