Kamukura Ramen, baked goodies and mass upheavals for some of Honolulu’s smaller food businesses at Moanalua 99.
Posted on July 13, 2022
In 2011, in the Dotonbori district of Osaka, I saw a man creating bowls of ramen in a kitchen in a narrow alley. In temperatures of 96 degrees and 96% humidity, he was dressed in a chef’s outfit, toque and white plastic boots, working between an open flame wok and a pot of boiling water to cook broth and noodles for something called Oishii Ramen. It was sublime, a clear soy-based broth with undertones that reminded me of roast duck. Kamukura Ramen has grown from this small kitchen to over 70 stores in Japan. When Kamukura opened its first overseas branch this month at Ala Moana Center, featuring that same Oishii Ramen, Frolic’s Thomas Obungen was there. Here’s his take on the newest player in the Honolulu ramen scene.
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Posted on June 30
A micro-chain with more stores in Hawai’i than its native Japan, an artisan cake and pie shop hidden away on the third floor, a first-generation immigrant business that started out selling bread at bus stops: it’s all on HONOLULU food and culture editor Martha Cheng’s list of favorite bakeries in town, as well as a modern Filipino-focused bakery and a second-generation institution in Chinatown. That’s the beauty of this post. It captures the breadth of the city’s ever-changing bakery scene, each choice, whether it’s an expanding chain or a storeless hyper-local micro-business, reflects the passion and Arts and crafts.
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SEE ALSO: Can you guess how many Pies Lee bakeries and kitchens in Chinatown sell out on Thanksgiving Day in Honolulu?
Posted on July 11, 2022
Tucked away in a warehouse off the highway at the end of Māpunapuna Street, Moanalua 99’s food court wasn’t on most foodie radars. There were no big chains, no continental franchises with marketing budgets. Moanalua 99 was a collection of moms and pops, family businesses and one-person kiosks serving simple Mediterranean, Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and local fare, from boba tea to fruit-stuffed mochi and some of the freshest sushi bowls in Honolulu. . It meant a lot to workers in the surrounding industrial area and westerners who stopped in for a bite to eat or takeout on their way home from town. And that meant a lot to Eric Baranda, a longtime Frolic contributor who ate there every day when he worked next door at ‘Ōlelo Community Media and always sought out his plated lunches and cavernous air-conditioned environment on hot days. Eric’s photo collection of handwritten notes from businesses thanking long-time customers and announcing moves and closures forms the basis of this article. They are heartbreaking, as is the sobering realization that Eric’s post marks the third time this year that Frolic has chronicled the disappearance of places that housed some of Honolulu’s smaller food businesses in the face of redevelopment.
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