Lunch at Shirokiya (Honolulu, HI)


For me, no visit to Honolulu would be complete without a stopover, not to mention a meal, at the food level of Shirokiya, the Japanese department store in Ala Moana Shopping Center. I might lust after a ramen shop here, a tonkatsu restaurant there, poké at various places, Leonard’s, even mochi ice creams at Bubbies. But when it gets right down to it, none of these places holds a candle to Shirokiya for its eye candy and staggering variety of food, all conveniently packaged in plastic containers, ready to pick up at one of many specialty stations, to eat at one of the few tables there or take out. A big part of the allure is the ability to eat whatever fancies you at the moment, whether it’s tempura, sushi, nigiri, musubi, fried or mochiko chicken, takoyaki, tonkatsutsukemono, and a seemingly endless selection of little side dishes. The wonderful displays make you want to buy one of everything. It’s basically the biggest display of my comfort foods ever. We made our usual careful rounds whenever we visit, as if circling our prey, and settled on a good, eclectic selection.

If I had to put together a bento or provisions for a day-long hike, I would most definitely come here.

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Osechi Ryori (New Year’s food)


Today is New Year’s Day. Like every year, the family can relax and enjoy each other’s company, watch some BCS bowl games and—let’s get down to it—eat the food that we’ve labored all day yesterday to prepare. Somehow, in a small kitchen, everything gets made, the only things done elsewhere being teriyaki chicken wings and chashu (char siu) that are barbecued in the backyard.

The cooks included my father-in-law, three sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, a nephew, my wife, my daughter, a longtime family friend and myself. In other years, my other daughter and her husband have also helped. Because they now live far away, they can’t always join us. Friends of the family also drop by occasionally, sharing in the repast.

The food will be our primary source of sustenance for the next few days. In the past, we’ve made way too much food, more than we could reasonably finish. As a practical matter, this year we’ve made a concerted effort to ‘downsize.’
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