Foods | Cooking
Hints & Tips
The favorite local fast food of the
Hawaiian islands (also considered the national dish of Hawaii) is Saimin, an
inexpensive noodle and broth soup. It is considered the supreme comfort food
of the Islands, eaten at any time of day. You can find this soup at snack
bars, coffee shops, and even on the McDonald's menu (in Hawaii only). Saimin is basically the same thing as ramen, a Japanese noodle
soup. In Hawaii, you will get the real thing, fresh, thin white noodles in a
clear broth with green onions, kamaboko (fish cakes), and sometimes ham or
char siu (pork). Some people add chicken, eggs, shrimp, and whatever else is
desired. The Saimin is eaten very hot with chopsticks or spoons, and the
broth is then drunk from the bowl. Do not be afraid to slup, as there is
simply no quiet way to eat Saimin.
Japanese immigrants consider Saimin to be
Chinese, and the Chinese consider it to be Japanese. Because Hawaii is made
up of an incredible mix of cultures - Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino,
Thai, and many others - it could have originated from anywhere, then
combined into this very tasty and popular soup. Each new wave of immigrant
workers adapted their native cuisine to fit the Islands' available
A few ambitious home cooks will make this
noodle soup from scratch, but most people just rip open the ready-mix
instant packages that can be found in all stores and is manufactured in
More delicious Hawaiian food to learn about and and make:
Shave Ice, and
Spam - Spam Musubi
Hawaii Saimin Recipe:
Yields: 3 to 4 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 (8-ounce) package dried Japanese soba noodles*
4 cups chicken broth or stock**
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Toppings (see suggestions below)
Soba noodles can be found in the Asian food
section of most grocery stores, at Japanese food specialty stores, and
online. To purchase online, click on the green link.
** Learn how easy it is to make your own homemade
Chicken Stock - Basic Chicken Stock.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 4
quarts of water and salt; bring to a boil. Add soba noodles and boil 4 to 6
minutes until al dente. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse under warm, running water.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add chicken broth and ginger; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add soy
sauce and your favorite toppings; simmer for 5 minutes longer or until toppings are cooked. Remove from heat.
Place cooked soba noodles in a large soup bowl; spoon broth mixture (with toppings) over the top and serve.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.
Topping Suggestions (Pick and choose your favorite):
Baked ham slices
Roast Pork slices
Shredded green cabbage,
Chopped bok choy
Scrambled or fried egg
sliced green onions or scallions
Cooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined