Posts Tagged ‘bbq sticks’

Sam Sato’s – Dry Mein & More!

April 1, 2012

So this review of the legendary Sam Sato’s on Maui is more than a few years delayed. My bad. I guess it’s shmall kine hahd for this Oahu boy to get around these days, especially with the little one around. But trust… It’s worth the wait! 🙂

Sam Sato’s is a pseudo hole-in-the-wall type eatery, located in Wailuku Maui, in the same “historical” lineage of the Hamura’s Saimins (Kauai), Nori’s Saimin & Snacks (Big Island) and Shiro’s Saimin Havens (Oahu) of the world.

Sam Sato's sign
Sam Sato’s sign

On any given day, there will usually always be a wait to get in. Be prepared.

The wait outside Sam Sato's
The wait outside Sam Sato’s

Don’t forget to sign in on their cute, self-waitlist system: a pen and a pad.

The waiting list system at Sam Sato's
The waiting list system at Sam Sato’s

Once you hit the lottery and your name gets called, you are seated inside, which has all the charm and nostalgia of yesteryear including palaka style window trimmings, old school paintings, and black & white photos from back in the day.

Inside Sam Sato's
Inside Sam Sato’s

You’ll even find posters/photos signed by local celebrities like Na Leo, Frank DeLima, & Maui natives Ekolu, as well as our two Hawaii-born living legends BJ Penn & Shane Victorino (also a Maui boy).

Signed photos from Shane Victorino and BJ Penn
Signed photos from Shane Victorino and BJ Penn

Sam Sato’s has a variety of popular noodle dishes like their Saimins, Won Ton Meins and Chow Funs, but none are as popular as their Dry Noodles, endearingly referred to as Dry Mein, due to their lack of a traditional soup base.

Sam Sato's Dry Noodles, aka Dry Mein
Sam Sato’s Dry Noodles, aka Dry Mein

The noodles aren’t exactly dry-dry. In fact, the consistency and flavor almost reminds you of a fried saimin/noodle type dish. The kicker here is that the dish comes with a small bowl of a chicken based stock/broth, which you are supposed to drizzle on before every bite.

Sam Sato's Dry Mein order with broth (S - $4.95, L - $5.75, Double - $7.25)
Sam Sato’s Dry Mein order with broth (S – $4.95, L – $5.75, Double – $7.25)

Like many of the other old school saimin shops, Sam Sato’s is also known for their BBQ sticks. My buddy Joel, a Maui native, ordered a couple BBQ Beef Sticks for good measure.

BBQ Beef Sticks from Sam Sato's ($1.25 each)
BBQ Beef Sticks from Sam Sato’s ($1.25 each)

Since he’s been here many times, Joel decided to forego the Dry Mein and feed his craving for Hamburger Steak, which he claims was also “Bomb.” Here’s a shot of our food.

BBQ Beef Sticks, Dry Mein and Hamburger Steak ($7) from Sam Sato's
BBQ Beef Sticks, Dry Mein and Hamburger Steak ($7) from Sam Sato’s

As if that weren’t enough, these buggahs also make some of the most ono kine manjus & turnovers evaaaar!

Partial Manju display at Sam Sato's
Partial Manju display at Sam Sato’s

Pictured here is the Azuki Bean Manju, with the Coconut, Peach and Apple Turnovers. They also had a Lima Bean Manju along with the Pineapple-Coconut, Pineapple-Peach, and Blueberry Turnovers. I’m not really a sweets person, but bruddah ova hea went to town! For omiyage of course! 😉

Manju and Turnovers from Sam Sato's
Manju and Turnovers from Sam Sato’s

My favorite part was the “key” they stamped on every take out box so you knew exactly which turnover was what.

Turnover 'key' stamped on take out box
Turnover “key” stamped on take out box

Sam Sato’s is one of those “must-visits” whenever you are in Maui. Personally, I’m already trying to figure out when my next visit there will be. Likely not soon enough.

Sam Sato’s
1750 Wili Pa Loop
Wailuku, HI 96793 (map)
(808) 244-7124
Mon-Sat: 7am-2pm (meals), 7am-4pm (manju pick-up)

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The Best Local Style Saimin? Shige’s Fo’ Shizzle!

February 1, 2007

With the rarefied (cold) air we’ve been facing these last few months, I thought now was as good a time as any to feature one of my favorite local style saimin spots to help keep us warm…

All my life, I grew up a townie. Living in the Salt Lake, Pensacola, Punahou, Kahala and Hawaii Kai areas, I was spoiled by the sun and all its glory. With parks and beaches always just minutes away, cold weather was as foreign to me as mouthwash is to a Maltese.

After working in the higher elevations of Central Oahu for almost 10 years now, I’ve come to realize that there actually is this thing others refer to as seasons. Not quite winter snow, spring colors, summer heat and fall leaves, but “hot around June” and “cold around December” is about the extent of it.

Aside from “bundling up,” which in Hawaii means long pants and a long sleeve, the next best thing you can do to battle these “extreme” conditions is to eat or drink something warm. So why not do both with noodles and soup?

Shige’s Saimin Stand is just the place.

Shige's Saimin Stand Sign
Shige’s Saimin Stand Sign

Located in the heart of Wahiawa, Oahu, Shige’s is, to me, the best local style saimin around. Notice how I said “local style” though? There is a distinct difference between local style saimin and Japan kine rahmen and comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. But on the real, Shige’s, on either list, is in my top 3.

Note: Apologies to those who love Hamura’s in Kauai or even some of the ones I haven’t been to yet like Sam Sato’s or Hanafuda in Maui or Nori’s in the Big Island… Shige’s rules and everyone else drools. 😛

At Ross and JoAnn Shigeoka’s shop, their trademark flat noodles are actually homemade and made fresh daily. Initially, I was simply in love with the saimin and tasty soup base, but after learning that the noodles were homemade, I grew another layer of appreciation for this island specialty.

Another one of the pleasant delights of Shige’s is their hours. They close at 10PM during the week and stay open ’til MIDNIGHT on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’ve got that late night craving/itch, they’re ready and open for you and if you’ve never tried Shige’s before, you now have no excuse.

Shige's Saimin Stand Hours
Shige’s Saimin Stand Hours

Alas, we’ve come to my favorite part… da grindz!

Shige's Menu
Shige’s Menu

Shige’s menu is quite simple. For saimin, you’ve got your choice of their regular saimin, wunton mein or vegetable saimin in two sizes: small and large. They’ve got other items including burgers, sandwiches, bbq sticks and select plate lunches, but to me, the saimin is the way to go. Going to Shige’s and not ordering saimin is like going to McDonald’s and buying a salad. Borrrrrrring!

My personal favorite is their large wunton mein. Unlike those other noodle shops around town who seem to dominate their saimin dishes with toppings rather than noodles, Shige’s is quite generous with their noodle portions. I find comfort in knowing that when I leave Shige’s, my hunger will be completely and utterly satisfied.

Shige's Large Wunton Mein
Shige’s Large Wunton Mein

If I am feeling really daring, I lose the battle of the bulge and splurge on a homemade hamburger as well. Dem buggahs probably raise my cholesterol by 50 points, but the soft, buttery bun and lusciously juicy patty lure me in with their inviting ways.

Shige's Hamburger
Shige’s Hamburger

The best part of the entire Shige’s experience is when you receive your bill. All dishes retain their old school prices and fall under $6, and, depending on the size of your party and your appetite, your total usually never exceeds $20!

To recap:

Shige’s Gem #1: Ono grindz fo battle da cold weather
Shige’s Gem #2: Homemade, fresh noodles l’dat
Shige’s Gem #3: Dey stay open late kine
Shige’s Gem #4: Dey geev choke
Shige’s Gem #5: Ho da cheap!

Delicious, keeps you warm, homemade, fresh, convenient, filling AND cheap??? I’ll drink (soup) to that!

Shige's Saimin

Shige’s Saimin Stand
70 Kukui Street
Wahiawa, HI 96786 (map)
(808) 621-3621
Mon-Thu: 10am-10pm
Fri & Sat: 10am-midnight
Closed Sundays