Posts Tagged ‘Russ Sumida’

Saimin Adventures – The Search for Hawaii’s Best Saimin – Part I

November 1, 2012

It wasn’t long after wrapping up the final part in my 5 part series on Hawaii’s best ramen, that people started harassing me. “You need to cover saimin now!” “What about Hawaii’s best saimin places!?”

As good as their suggestions were, prior to my interview with Sun Noodle president Hidehito Uki, I was a full-on ramen snob. I would normally only “stoop” to eating saimin out of desperation. At Zippy’s, in a drunken state, during the wee hours of night during our clubbin’ days. When driving to a ramen place in town was too far. Or when your whole group agrees on a saimin place and it’s too late to renege on your previous “up to you” comment.

I’m of course exaggerating (I love anything with noodles!), but Mr. Uki seriously slapped some saimin sense in me with his life changing, epiphanic quote:

“Each area in Japan has their own, unique style of ramen. Kyushu has Hakata style (tonkotsu), Hokkaido has Sapporo style (miso)… Saimin is Hawaii’s style of ramen.”

Sun Noodle's Hidehito Uki during our Hawaii Ramen Quest - Part V interview back in February
Sun Noodle’s Hidehito Uki during our “Hawaii Ramen Quest – Part V” interview back in February

Hellooooo!? The world now made perfect sense to me. And with that, I was no longer a ramen snob, ready to tackle the next noodle adventure around the state. “Saimin Adventures”, here we come!

We start with my favorite saimin place in the state: Shige’s Saimin Stand in Wahiawa.

Shige's Saimin Stand sign
Shige’s Saimin Stand sign

Living and working in the often chilly Central Oahu, it’s easy to pay this place a visit at least once a week to warm the ol’ soul. But it’s not because of convenience that Shige’s tops my list for local style saimin, it’s taste.

Large Wunton Mein
Large Wunton Mein

Although their menu boasts a fair amount of alternatives like Hamburger Steak, Loco Moco, Fried Saimin, Roast Beef Sandwiches, and udon, I *always* order their Wunton Mein. I just can’t bring myself to go to Shige’s and NOT order saimin. The soup base is “clean” & subtle, and not overbearing, while the homemade, signature, flat noodles is always soft and never clumpy (my pet peeve). The balance of noodles to Wunwon/garnishes (another pet peeve of mine) is also jussssst riiiight.

If I’m hungry (or I have someone to share it with), I like to order their BBQ Cheeseburger on the side to round out my meal. She go!

Large Wunton Mein and BBQ Cheeseburger
Large Wunton Mein and BBQ Cheeseburger

I did notice a sudden increase in their prices lately, but I think it’s only because I’ve been spoiled to their 80s style pricing up until now.

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

The next place has been somewhere I’ve been trying to get to for a long time: Nakai Saimin. There is a family association between Shige’s and Nakai (the noodles are based on the same recipe), and since Shige’s is up there on my list, I wanted to see how Nakai compared. So I enlisted the help of Twitter friends and Nakai regulars Russ Sumida (@ParkRat), Brandon Suyeoka (@WeHeartHawaii) and Rick Nakama (@RickNakama).

Russ Sumida, Brandon Suyeoka and Rick Nakama outside Nakai Saimin
Russ Sumida, Brandon Suyeoka and Rick Nakama outside Nakai Saimin

The first thing you notice is the soup base. It’s clearer with a tad less flavor. And I’m hoping I caught them on a bad day, but remember how I said that my pet peeve was clumpy noodles? There were some elements of clumpiness going on there. It seemed that the noodles and the won ton may’ve been of the previously frozen variety.

Small Won Ton Mein ($5.95)
Small Won Ton Mein ($5.95)

For good measure, I thought I’d give their popular BBQ Stick a try.

BBQ Stick ($2.75)
BBQ Stick ($2.75)

Although it wasn’t as hard/crisp as what I’m used to with BBQ sticks (which may actually be a good thing), this one had good flavor throughout.

I’m willing to go back again for sure, but if I had to pick a winner between Shige’s and Nakai (based on this visit), I would have to give it to Shige’s. The boys didn’t agree with me.

 


Russ Sumida, Brandon Suyeoka and Rick Nakama give their review of Nakai Saimin

Nakai is expanding both their hours (see below) and their footprint. Rumor has it that another Nakai Saimin recently opened up in Haleiwa, the town where it actually all started (their original location was in Haleiwa back in the ’50s).

Nakai Saimin
1329 Nuuanu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96813 (Street View)
(808) 531-9000
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 6am-2:30pm (Breakfast & Lunch)
Fri: 5:30pm-9pm (Dinner)
Sat: 7am-2:30pm (Breakfast & Lunch)
Sat: 5:30pm-9pm (Dinner)
Sun: 7am-3:30pm (Breakfast & Lunch)
Wed: Closed

Lastly, let’s pay a visit to everyone’s favorite late night eatery: Zippy’s! Like Shige’s, it’s difficult for me to go there and NOT get the saimin. In this case, it’s Zippy’s signature favorite: the Zip Min.

Zip Min (Saimin noodles, wun tun, breaded shrimp, choi sum, fishcake, dried seaweed, egg, sweet pork, and green onions.
Zip Min (Saimin noodles, wun tun, breaded shrimp, choi sum, fishcake, dried seaweed, egg, sweet pork, and green onions.

In a recent visit there, the wun tun had a noticeably different (and stronger/”garlic-y”) taste. Over the years, the portions – as with many of the other menu items here – seem to be shrinking while the cost continues to rise. A sign of the economic times I suppose.

Zippy’s
Locations: Varied
Hours: Varied
808-973‑0880

Look for more during our “Saimin Adventures” where we explore the famous noodles from places like Hamura’s on Kauai, Sam Sato’s on Maui and Shiro’s right here on Oahu. If you have any other suggestions for places I should visit (yes, Palace is on my list! πŸ™‚ ), leave a comment for me below.

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Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – October 26, 2011

October 26, 2011

K, if y’all don’t at least get one of these, I don’t know what else fo’ do! LOL! Number two might be hard for the non-golfers out there, but 1 and 3 should be duck soup… No? Hehe! Chance um!

Photo #1
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - October 26, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – October 26, 2011

Points for Photo #1…
* Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link?: 2 points
* Significance of the photo: 10 points!
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #2
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - October 26, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – October 26, 2011

Points for Photo #2…
* Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link?: 2 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #3
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - October 26, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – October 26, 2011

Points for Photo #3…
* Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link?: 2 points
* Name of dish?: 2 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

[Da Leadahboard]

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Blog
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(Random stuffs)
Facebook
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(Add me! πŸ˜› )
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(Follow me!)
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2nd Annual Hawaii Social Media Summit – Social Media Personality Award Winners:

Last week, I had the great privilege of winning an award at the 2nd Annual Hawaii Social Media Summit held at the Hawaii Convention Center. Known as the Social Media Personality Award it:

“honors the individuals who best portray that of a social media influencer; the people who stay top of mind in the social sphere and is consistent in keeping up with the trends of social media innovation.”

This year was the first year that the Hawaii Social Media Summit held the Socialite Media Awards and they were bombarded with more than 70 nominations. Technology News Bytes (the organizers of #SMSHI) had the difficult task of narrowing it down to the top 15. Wow, what an amazing first class I have been included with and I am very honored to be a part of this inaugural group of social media leaders. They are:

  • Rob Bertholf (@rob) – Founder of ClearlyM LLC
  • Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) – Nonstop Honolulu, Blogger
  • Tara Coomans (@taracoomans) – Social Media Club Hawaii
  • George Del Bario (@HIWellnessMag) – PMG International LLC, CEO
  • L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine (@NEENZ) – Oceanit, Community Developer
  • Esme Infante Nii (@EsmeInfanteNii) – Momsinhawaii.com
  • Nathan Kam (@nathankam) – McNeil Wilson Communications, Vice President, Travel & Tourism
  • Burt Lum (@Bytemarks) – Hawaii Public Radio, Bytemarks CafΓ© Host
  • Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) – East Oahu Realty, Inc., Realtor
  • Ryan Ozawa (@hawaii) – Hawaii Information Service, Webmaster
  • Gene Park (@GenePark) – Star Advertiser, Online News Producer
  • Edward Sugimoto (@worldwideed) – Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Time Warner Cable Untangled, Blogger
  • Russ Sumida (@ParkRat) – AdStreamz, Inc., President and CEO
  • Toby Tamaye (@atmarketing) – Owner of AT Marketing
  • Valentino Valdez (@valdezign) – Owner of Valdezign

2011 Socialite Media Award Winners
Accepting my award from (the very tall) Miss Hawaii USA 2011 Angela Anela Byrd [Photo Courtesy: Travis K. Okimoto]


Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Don’t forget to post your guesses below k? Shoooots!

2011 Socialite Media Award Winners #SMSHI

October 19, 2011

This afternoon, I had the great privilege of winning an award at the 2nd Annual Hawaii Social Media Summit held at the Hawaii Convention Center. Known as the Social Media Personality Award it:

“honors the individuals who best portray that of a social media influencer; the people who stay top of mind in the social sphere and is consistent in keeping up with the trends of social media innovation.”

This year was the first year that the Hawaii Social Media Summit held the Socialite Media Awards and they were bombarded with more than 70 nominations. Technology News Bytes (the organizers of #SMSHI) had the difficult task of narrowing it down to the top 15. Wow, what an amazing first class I have been included with and I am very honored to be a part of this inaugural group of social media leaders. They are:

  • Rob Bertholf (@rob) – Founder of ClearlyM LLC
  • Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) – Nonstop Honolulu, Blogger
  • Tara Coomans (@taracoomans) – Social Media Club Hawaii
  • George Del Bario (@HIWellnessMag) – PMG International LLC, CEO
  • L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine (@NEENZ) – Oceanit, Community Developer
  • Esme Infante Nii (@EsmeInfanteNii) – Momsinhawaii.com
  • Nathan Kam (@nathankam) – McNeil Wilson Communications, Vice President, Travel & Tourism
  • Burt Lum (@Bytemarks) – Hawaii Public Radio, Bytemarks CafΓ© Host
  • Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) – East Oahu Realty, Inc., Realtor
  • Ryan Ozawa (@hawaii) – Hawaii Information Service, Webmaster
  • Gene Park (@GenePark) – Star Advertiser, Online News Producer
  • Edward Sugimoto (@worldwideed) – Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Time Warner Cable Untangled, Blogger
  • Russ Sumida (@ParkRat) – AdStreamz, Inc., President and CEO
  • Toby Tamaye (@atmarketing) – Owner of AT Marketing
  • Valentino Valdez (@valdezign) – Owner of Valdezign

Congratulations to my fellow honorees! πŸ™‚

2011 Socialite Media Award Winners
Accepting my award from (the very tall) Miss Hawaii USA 2011 Angela Anela Byrd [Photo Courtesy: Travis K. Okimoto]

(Official Press Release):

10.21.11
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Quincy Solano 808.542.9408
Chimaine Pouteau 808.636.1512

SOCIALITE MEDIA AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

HONOLULU, HI (October 21, 2011) – Technology News Bytes recognized social media gurus who are making waves in the industry at the 2011 Social Media Summit on Wednesday, October 19.

The Social Media Personality Award honors the individual whom best portrays that of a social media influencer. This person stays top of mind in the social sphere and is consistent in keeping up with the trends of social media innovation.

Technology News Bytes had more than 70 nominations, all of which were very deserving of this award. The winners were:

Gene Park – Star Advertiser, Online News Producer
Nathan Kam – McNeil Wilson Communications, Vice President, Travel & Tourism
Valentino Valdez – Owner of Valdezign
Burt Lum – Hawaii Public Radio, Bytemarks CafΓ© Host
Russ Sumida – AdStreamz, Inc., President and CEO
Neenz Faleafine –- Oceanit, Community Developer
Ryan Ozawa – Hawaii Information Service, Webmaster
Melissa Chang – Nonstop Honolulu, Blogger
Rick Nakama –East Oahu Realty, Inc., Realtor
Rob Bertholf – Founder of ClearlyM LLC
Toby Tamaye – Owner of AT Marketing
Esme Infante Nii – Momsinhawaii.com
Ed Sugimoto – world-wide-ed.com, Blogger
George Del Bario –t PMG International LLC, CEO
Tara Coomans – Social Media Club Hawaii

For more information please visit tnblive.com
###

Hawaii Ramen Quest – Part I

October 1, 2011
Β Part IΒ  | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows that my love for ramen runs deep. It borders on obsession. So much so that I’m convinced my mom cut her milk with ramen soup before popping the bottle into my mouth.

So it was a no-brainer to follow up my popular “Poke Paradise” series with this here Ramen Quest, a pursuit for the perfect bowl of ramen, right here in Hawaii.

Now when I say ramen (or rahmen / ラーパン as we Nihonjins like to call it), I’m not talking about the localized interpretation of it referred to here as saimin (no offense saimin lovers). I’m talking about the hardcore, straight from the muthaland kine noodle and soup combination that you fantasize of. I’ve tasted some of the best there is in Japan, and have been living to replicate that euphoria ever since. (See, I told you I was obsessed! 8) )

First up is Yotteko-Ya, located on the west end of McCully Shopping Center (opposite Fook Yuen).

Yotteko-Ya entrance
Yotteko-Ya entrance

The specialty here is their Paitan soup base, which is described as a “richer, more flavorful chicken & pork based broth” and simmered for hours. In it, swims their perfectly cooked, al dente (Japanese style) noodles and homemade chashu pork, along with green onions, seaweed and sesame seeds.

Paitan Ramen from Yotteko-Ya
Paitan Ramen from Yotteko-Ya

They also have an amazing Chashu Gohan (which includes chunks of chashu similar to the one in the ramen) that my wife goes absolutely gaga over.

Chashu Gohan
Chashu Gohan

Our go-to meals here are usually the Paitan C Set, which includes the Paitan Ramen, Chashu Gohan (or Mini Yakibuta Chahan), and Gyoza, or the Paitan D Set, which includes the Paitan Ramen, Chashu Gohan (or Mini Yakibuta Chahan), and Karaage (fried chicken).

Paitan D Set: Paitan Ramen, Chashu Gohan, & (Chicken) Karaage - $12.95
Paitan D Set: Paitan Ramen, Chashu Gohan, & (Chicken) Karaage – $12.95

It should come as no surprise that the ramen I featured first in this series is a franchise straight from Japan. In fact, during a trip there in ’08, we actually went to the one in Odaiba.

Yotteko-Ya in Odaiba Japan (Tokyo)
Yotteko-Ya in Odaiba Japan (Tokyo)

Here’s a look at what the Chashu Ramen looked like there.

Chashu ramen from Odaiba's Yotteko-Ya in Tokyo
Chashu ramen from Odaiba’s Yotteko-Ya in Tokyo

Yotteko-Ya
1960 Kapiolani Blvd #214
Honolulu, HI 96826 (map)
(808) 946-2900
Lunch Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-2pm
Dinner Hours: Mon-Sat: 5pm-11pm, Sun: 5pm-9pm
@ramen_yottekoya

I first covered our next spot back when they were located in Waikiki.

Owner Scott Suzui and his wife Mayumi outside the original Tenkaippin location in Waikiki
Owner Scott Suzui and his wife Mayumi outside the original Tenkaippin location in Waikiki

The restaurant is called Tenkaippin Ramen (which is also a franchise straight from Japan) and is owned by Scott Suzui and his wife Mayumi. If you think they look familiar, they have since become local celebrities of sorts, thanks to their show on OC16 called “Ultimate Japan”.

This is my go-to restaurant whenever I’m in the area, and I usually like to bring along a friend or two. On this occasion, I brought my boy Bari who seems to be enjoying his bowl of ramen just a little too much. πŸ˜›

Bari loves his Tenkaippin Ramen
Bari loves his Tenkaippin Ramen

Similar to Yotteko-Ya, Tenkaippin is known for their soup base (known here as kotteri) which is accomplished by stewing chicken and vegetables for over 10 hours. Most ingredients are actually flown in fresh from Japan too!

Tenkaippin's Kotteri Ramen - $8.75
Tenkaippin’s Kotteri Ramen – $8.75

Here’s a peek at what it actually looks like to scoop a mouthful of noodles from this thick, kotteri soup base.

Video of Kotteri Ramen from Tenkaippin’s

 

Tenkaippin Ramen
617 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815 (map)
(808) 732-1211
Mon-Thu: 11am-10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm

I had to fly all the way to Waikoloa on the Big Island (FBI!) to get this next bowl of yummy goodness. It’s the D.K.’s Crab Ramen from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Queen’s MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort).

D.K.'s Crab Ramen and Asian Truffle Broth with King Crab, Cilantro, Thai Basil and Mild Jalapenos - $17.95
D.K.’s Crab Ramen and Asian Truffle Broth with King Crab, Cilantro, Thai Basil and Mild Jalapenos – $17.95

One word of caution. After tantalizing our taste buds with this one while on vacation at Waikoloa, we were excited to have it again (and again) at the Sansei closer to home (Waikiki). It was a HUGE disappointment. It did not come close to what we remember enjoying FBI-style, and, if you take a look at the photo below from Sansei Waikiki, you’ll see that it looked nothing like it either.

Disappointing Crab Ramen from Sansei Waikiki
Disappointing Crab Ramen from Sansei Waikiki

We actually tried our luck again on a trip to Maui, and the one at the Kapalua Resort turned out to also be a letdown.

Disappointing Crab Ramen from Sansei Kapalua
Disappointing Crab Ramen from Sansei Kapalua

We’re actually afraid to go back to try the one at Waikoloa in case it was a McDreamy, one time (all-stars-aligned type of) thing. Sansei peeps, if you’re reading this, what’s the scoops?

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Queens Market Place, Waikoloa Beach Resort)
201 Waikoloa Beach Drive Suite 801
Waikoloa, HI 96738 (map)
(808) 669-6286
Dinner Nightly: 5:30pm-10pm
Late Night Dining: Friday and Saturday: 10pm-1am

And finally, talk about good timing… Shirokiya is in the middle of their “Best of Japan: Ramen & Gyoza Festival”, where they bring in popular ramen (and gyoza) vendors from Japan to be featured at their new Yataimura area for two weeks at a time.

The first in the series (featured from 08/23-09/05) was Menya Ifudoudou Ramen from Osaka who served 7,658 bowls during their two week stint! They presented their Kuroton Shibori (dark) and Akaton Shibori (spicy/red) options. Here’s a look at both:

Kuroton Shibori Ramen from Menya Ifudoudou Ramen from Osaka Japan - $8.95
Kuroton Shibori Ramen from Menya Ifudoudou Ramen from Osaka Japan – $8.95

Akaton Shibori Ramen from Menya Ifudoudou Ramen from Osaka Japan - $8.95
Akaton Shibori Ramen from Menya Ifudoudou Ramen from Osaka Japan – $8.95

I don’t know if it was because it was the last day of the series and they were running low on noodles, but the portions were REALLY skimpy.

The second in the series (featured from 09/06-09/19) was Manshuya Ga Ichiban from Fukuoka who served 9,619 bowls of their “Original” Tonkotsu Shibori Ramen. Due to my crazy life as a new dad, I missed this series, but my buddy Rick Nakama was able to check it out (three times!). Here’s his Takana Shibori bowl:

Takana style Tonkotsu Shibori Ramen from Manshuya Ga Ichiban from Fukuoka - $9.95 [Photo Courtesy: Rick Nakama]
Takana style Tonkotsu Shibori Ramen from Manshuya Ga Ichiban from Fukuoka – $9.95 [Photo Courtesy: Rick Nakama]

Rick’s main complaints were about the quantity (again) and the inconsistency of the ramen noodles and taste.

The third in the series (which is currently being featured as I write this – 09/20-10/03) is Hakata Chouten from Fukuoka. I was most excited for this because some of the best ramen I’ve ever tasted in Japan came from the Hakata area in Fukuoka.

UPDATE: This series served 7,805 customers.

Barikoku Negi Tonkotsu Ramen from Hakata Chouten in Fukuoka - $10.95
Barikoku Negi Tonkotsu Ramen from Hakata Chouten in Fukuoka – $10.95

The soup base was pretty tasty, but, again, the quantity was very minimal compared to what we had to pay: $10.95!

Rick Nakama finishing his bowl while Russ Sumida "poses" with mine. 8)
Rick Nakama finishing his bowl while Russ Sumida “poses” with mine. 8)

The fourth in the series happens from October 4th through the 17th and features Hokkaido’s Sapporo Menya Yoshiki who will have three choices of soup base: shiro (white), kuro (black) and aka (red). Following that will be Fukuoka’s Hide Chan Ramen from October 24th-November 6th.

Shirokiya Yataimura (at Ala Moana Shopping Center)
1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Ste 2250
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 973-9111
Mon-Sat: 9:30am-9pm
Sun: 9:30am-7pm

So there you have it. Some interesting options for ramen here in Hawaii right? And that was just part 1! I still have at least 4 more juicy parts to this series (including Gomaichi, Goma Tei, Menchanko-Tei, Chinpei, Kiwami, etc.), but if you have any others suggestions on where I should hit up, holla atcho boy! Shoots!

Β Part IΒ  | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Lanakila Meals on Wheels – Feeding our Seniors, One Meal at a Time

August 1, 2011

When I think of senior citizens, I think of my dear obaachan in Japan. And although she lives on her own, she is never alone. Between her caretakers and her family and friends, she always has somebody to talk to and share a meal with.

For some seniors right here in Hawaii, they are not as fortunate. Many don’t have family or friends to visit and sometimes, they can’t even afford to eat. When I think about a senior citizen missing a meal, it breaks my heart because all I can I think about is what it might be like if my obaachan was in this horrible situation.

Enter Lanakila Pacific and their Meals on Wheels program. What started as a lunch wagon serving hot meals to seniors in need at A`ala Park in the 70’s, the Meals on Wheels program has expanded, serving 250,000 meals each year on over 90 different routes. They also have 18 Kupuna Wellness Centers around Oahu where able bodied seniors can gather, socialize, exercise, etc., in addition to getting their hot meal.

Lanakila Pacific sign
Lanakila Pacific sign

Now in its 40th year, Lanakakila Meals on Wheels is looking more than ever to fill the void of unmet seniors in need of home delivered meals, which the City & County of Honolulu’s Elderly Affairs Division 4-year plan (2007-2011) estimates at 8,587!

I recently sat down with Lanakila Pacific’s Volunteer and Resource Development Coordinator Randi Jeung to talk more about their Meals on Wheels program.

Interview with Randi Jeung

Edward Sugimoto) For those who don’t know, describe what Lanakila Pacific does as an organization, and what your role is here.

Randi Jeung) Lanakila Pacific is a local non-profit organization. This is our 72nd year. We offer programs and services for adults with cognitive, physical, social or age related challenges, and we help them build their independence and help them improve the quality of their lives.

Edward Sugimoto) And what do you do here?

Randi Jeung) I’m on the marketing team, so all the different marketing initiatives, I help with that, but my main role is I’m the volunteer coordinator so I go out to talk to people about volunteer opportunities here and how to get involved.

Edward Sugimoto) One of those programs is Meals on Wheels (and that’s how we know Rick Nakama and other volunteers as well), what is that program exactly?

Randi Jeung) Yeah, we’ve had a lot of social media people come and help us at different events and at different times so we’re very thankful for that. Lanakila Meals on Wheels is probably our best known program. Lanakila Pacific is probably best known for its Meals on Wheels program. It’s Hawaii’s largest and only island-wide meal service for seniors, but it’s so much more than just a meal program. Our volunteers are awesome volunteers. (They) provide them with connections to other local services if they see that the senior has a need or something, they’ll come and let us know and we’ll refer them to other services and they’re just there as a friend because for a lot of our seniors, that volunteer that comes to see them that one time a week sometimes is the only person that they’ll see. Sad situation but it’s the reality and our volunteers are helping us with that.

Edward Sugimoto) Statistically, do you know about how many seniors you help (through Meals on Wheels)?

Randi Jeung) Yes. So as of last week (week of July 10), the count was, each week, we help approximately 2,000 seniors throughout the island of Oahu and that number is only going to get bigger because we’re seeing it happening. Our route sizes have grown, they’ve doubled in size so now what we’re doing is we’re splitting our routes so that it’s a little bit easier on our volunteers when they go out to deliver, but yeah, that number is gonna grow real quick.

Edward Sugimoto) Do you have an interesting or heart-warming story you can share about one of your Meals on Wheels recipients?

Randi Jeung) There are so many stories that come out and you know, I want to save that for volunteers when they come, they’ll have their own stories, but for us, we have a senior that, you know, she lives on her own. She actually lives in a garage and when you go in to see her, and deliver the meals to her, you can see like the garage, you know how the garage door like there’s a space on the top and the bottom, cause it’s not meant to be lived in, it’s just for storage for cars. And so she lives in the garage and she has like all kinds of stuff in the garage… She’s really funny. You would feel bad for her when you see her, she’s just the liveliest little lady and she’s always joking around. Sometimes we have these two younger gentlemen that go to deliver meals to her and she knows that they’re single, so she’ll have like either her niece or her granddaughters that are there, waiting. And you know, she wants to introduce them, so she wants to be a matchmaker. So very good humored and every time we go she’s just so grateful and she just wants to hang onto you and talk story with you, probably for hours if she could.

Edward Sugimoto) So if someone was interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels, how do they go about doing that?

Randi Jeung) Contact us, just give us a call. Our phone number is (808) 531-0555 or just check out our web site. The URL is www.lanakilapacific.org.

Edward Sugimoto) And for a person in need, is that the same contact information?

Randi Jeung) Same contact information. That phone number is our main line and through that number you can be connected to Meals on Wheels, our TLC program, Workforce Resource program, and even our Kitchen program. So yeah, just call us, visit our web site, with any questions. For seniors coming onto the Meals on Wheels program, the only real requirement that we have is that you’re 60 years of age and above and after that, everybody gets an individual assessment.

Edward Sugimoto) You mentioned the Kitchen. You guys do catering and what other kind of stuff?

Randi Jeung) Yes we do! Lanakila Kitchen is one of our social enterprises, which basically means a small business that’s run out of the non-profit organization, and Lanakila Kitchen is our catering social enterprise so we do catering events anywhere from small business meetings with like 3-5 people, all the way to huge events like keiki’s first birthday or tailgating if you need food for that, or weddings or whatever. We can find a way to get you some really good food.

Edward Sugimoto) Yeah we actually called you guys for a couple of occasions for work at Oceanic and the food was really good!

Randi Jeung) You know I think I saw that. It was on a blog where you guys took pictures of the catering line. Just by doing like the Google search, yeah, I’ve seen it. Thank you very much!

Edward Sugimoto) *laughs* No problem. No problem.

Edward Sugimoto) So in a couple of months Rice Fest is happening and you guys are partners with Rice Fest

Randi Jeung) Yes!

Edward Sugimoto) … Talk a little bit about that and maybe what you’re going to have at the booth.

Randi Jeung) It’s really exciting! Rice Fest, it launched last year and it was a lot of fun. We had it at Aloha Tower at the Waterfront and it drew a lot of people and there was a musubi eating contest and all sorts of fun stuff. This year is the second year and it’s going to be at Ala Moana (Magic Island) this year and we’re very very thankful that Rice Fest has selected Lanakila Meals on Wheels as its beneficiary, and so they are putting a call out to all the people who are coming, that are going to attend the event to bring donations of brown rice and that helps us tremendously. That helps cut down some of our costs so that we can provide more meals for more seniors. We only use brown rice in our meals because it’s healthier and that’s something that we strive in, in Meals on Wheels as well as Lanakila Kitchen. So everybody’s gonna bring donations of brown rice. Last year, we got a huge amount, and so hopefully we’re hoping for the same thing or maybe even better for this year. We’re going to have a booth there, we’re going to have a table there, and we’ll have more information about how to get involved and if you know anybody that might need our services, whether it be Meals on Wheels, or TLC or Workforce Resources, then we’ll have all that information for you there and we’re actually trying to plan a fun little game that people can participate in this year so we’ll have something ready for everybody who stops by our table.

2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park
Sunday, September 11, 2011 @ 10am-6pm
For more info: RiceFest.com / Facebook / Twitter
To RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite

Edward Sugimoto) OK Randi, thanks very much!

Randi Jeung) Thank you very much. Bye! Come to Rice Fest! September 11th, Ala Moana Park. *waves*

Randi Jeung of Lanakila Pacific
Randi Jeung of Lanakila Pacific

The Lanakila Meals on Wheels program relies heavily on a large group of selfless volunteers to help deliver their meals to the hungry seniors. Since my friend Rick Nakama just so happens to be one of them, I decided to tag along with him several times to get a first hand view of what a volunteer would go through on any given day.

The first thing we did was check in to Lanakila Pacific’s home base at 1809 Bachelot Street (there are also several satellite pick up locations).

Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) and Mark Tam (@marktrc) checking in for their route
Rick Nakama (@RickNakama) and Mark Tam (@marktrc) checking in for their route

They give you a couple of bright orange cooler bags to fill your meals with…

Lanakila Meals on Wheels cooler bags
Lanakila Meals on Wheels cooler bags

… and then you proceed to fill it with your meals of the day.

Rick getting help from Randi Jeung to fill his bag.
Rick getting help from Randi Jeung to fill his bag.

Then you load up your car…

Bags from Lanakila Meals on Wheels loaded up
Bags from Lanakila Meals on Wheels loaded up

… check out your list of stops…

Rick's Nuuanu route (names blacked out for privacy)
Rick’s Nuuanu route (names blacked out for privacy)

… and you’re off!

Each location is different, which makes it somewhat of an adventure. Parking, call boxes, locations… Rick has it down to a science. Sometimes although two addresses on his list are on the very same street, he will hit them at separate times simply because “it’s not the most productive path.”

So when we get to an address, we unload the specified number of meals (according to our list)…

Rick unloading two meals for this particular stop
Rick unloading two meals for this particular stop

… and deliver it to the appropriate home/apartment.

Rick looking up the apartment to get buzzed into the building
Rick looking up the apartment to get buzzed into the building

The entire route doesn’t take more than an hour or two. In addition to the reward of seeing the many smiles on the faces of the seniors in need, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve prevented a senior from going hungry, at least for another day.

The views aren't so bad either
The views aren’t so bad either

After our route, I was able to ask Rick a few questions about why he chooses to volunteer for Lanakila Meals on Wheels.

Interview with Rick Nakama

Edward Sugimoto) Please introduce yourself.

Rick Nakama) I am Rick Nakama, @RickNakama on Twitter.

Edward Sugimoto) How did you hear about the Lanakila Meals on Wheels program?

Rick Nakama) I actually heard about it by attending one of @Melissa808‘s (Melissa Chang) and @ParkRat‘s (Russ Sumida) tweetups for @HawaiiIRL. We had a little tweetup here where a few of us attended, learned what the volunteers do, and got a tour of the facilities at Lanakila Pacific.

Edward Sugimoto) So after that, you were inspired to volunteer yourself?

Rick Nakama) Yeah, I was actually interested in doing this for a while, but it just seemed a little bit complicated to get involved, and then after attending that tweetup, I followed up later and then I realized it’s not really that complicated and I was able to just do this once a week. So I do it on Monday, I do the route on Monday and it takes me about an hour to an hour and a half at the most with someone else helping me.

Edward Sugimoto) How long have you been doing it?

Rick Nakama) I’ve been doing it since about October of last year (2010).

Edward Sugimoto) And you’re liking it so far?

Rick Nakama) Yeah.

Edward Sugimoto) OK, thank you.

Rick Nakama) Alright.

This experience had such an impact on me that I am now on the waiting list for a Meals on Wheels route in my own neighborhood. I don’t want somebody else’s obaachan going hungry after all…

For more information on volunteering yourself, visit the Lanakila Pacific volunteer page.

Lanakila Pacific
1809 Bachelot Street
Honolulu, HI. 96817 (map)
(808) 531-0555
Facebook Page / Twitter (@LanakilaPacific) / YouTube Channel / Vimeo Channel

Fun Day Monday – Pet Peeves

May 24, 2010

The other day, I saw some clown wearing his shades indoors. Mo’ worse, it was night time. *groan* I never understood this. Am I supposed to be impressed with their uber coolness or somethin’?

Now I know that there may be some – with serious eye issues – who have the need for darkened lenses, and I completely sympathize with them. The peeps I’m actually talking about are the “I’m-wearing-these-mack-daddy-shades-at-night-so-I-can-attempt-to-be-too-cool-for-school” type. Oh boy.

Now that we have an entire weekend under our belts, I thought this might be a good time to vent, ala kuya.d‘s “I’m So Over It” post. And yeah, I could’ve sworn we’ve done this “pet peeve” topic before, but the only one I could find was our traffic pet peeve post. So vent it all out. What are some of your biggest pet peeves?


Corey Hart – “Sunglasses at Night” (Chris Geo Trance Remix)

Hijack This!
* Excited for the new “Hawaii Five-O“?
* What is going on with Orlando dangit!!!??? Think it’s gonna be another Lakers-Celtics epic showdown?
* How ’bout dem Wahine softball players? They beat Texas Tech 7-1 in the Stanford Regional Championship game and are now going on to face top-ranked Alabama in next week’s NCAA Super Regionals! How awesome is that!? Goooo Wahine!
* Thoughts on Djou’s victory?
* When you have some time, please check out my new project: AndHere.com. In an attempt to illustrate and educate err-one about what Road Runner Mobile is and where you can use it, I’ve been going around town, taking photos and testing Road Runner Mobile speeds to post on the site. Starting today, local Twitter superstars Peter Kay, Melissa Chang and Russ Sumida will pitch in and tweet/blog their experiences with RR Mobile as well. Lemme know what you guys think! πŸ™‚

Road Runner Mobile
Road Runner Mobile Works Here (AndHere.com)