Posts Tagged ‘Shrimp’

Yatai in Hawaii? Try Yajima-Ya or Blue Truck Teppanyaki!

March 1, 2011

Street eats ain’t nothing new to the Japanese. Better known as yatai (food stalls), Japan is just crawling with them, often serving better tasting food than their indoor counterparts. From the Kita no Yatai district up north in Obihiro Hokkaido, all the way down south to Yatai Douri and the surrounding areas in Fukuoka, my peeps really know how to cook… And more importantly, EAT!

And while not exactly a yatai, food trucks have been picking up steam as of late here in Hawaii, so we’re gonna cover two interesting ones that serve Japanese fair: Yajima-Ya (on Sheridan) and Blue Truck Teppanyaki (on University). That should be “yatai-ish” enough right? *grin*

Yajima-Ya

I first heard about this place through the Social Media grapevine. There was a buzz about this new Japanese-themed lunch truck opening up that had some kind of tie to the Yajima Service Station (Cosmo) nearby.

I asked wifey and some friends who work in the area if they’ve ever heard about it and I got the same response. “No, but let me know where it is so I can check it out. Sounds yummy!”

In front of Yajima-Ya's eating area
In front of Yajima-Ya’s eating area

So when they opened in October of last year, I had to check it out. After several visits, I got to know Manager Tomoki Ito a little as I interacted with him in both Japanese and English (he speaks both very well). One of my first questions to him was the association with the Yajima Service Station and how it all got started.

“I was hired by service station as a manager,” says Ito. “My boss, Mr. Akahane had the idea of making ‘tachigui udon, soba-ya’ which is a small restaurant located at every train station in Japan. They serve noodles very quick and customers eat while standing. Then, we found the truck and looked for good noodles and soup. Actually, I was the only one who had experience with cooking, so I was put in charge of the lunch truck. That’s the very beginning of our lunch truck.”

On a recent trip there, I ordered the Supreme Don (Pork, Beef and Shrimp Tempura over rice)…

Supreme Don - $9
Supreme Don – $9

… while wifey got the soba with sansai (vegetable) topping.

Sansai Soba - $6
Sansai Soba – $6

Our friend Rick Nakama took his own photo of his dish, the Buta Shougayaki Donburi (pork and ginger over rice)

Buta Shougayaki Donburi (pork and ginger over rice) - $6.50
Buta Shougayaki Donburi (pork and ginger over rice) – $6.50 [Photo Credit: Rick Nakama]

According to Ito, one of their best sellers is their $8 Yajima-Ya Bukkake Udon/Soba, which is beef, seaweed, natto and mountain vegetables over cold noodles. Gotta try that next time!

Yajima-Ya Bukkake Udon/Soba (beef, seaweed, natto and mountain vegetables over cold noodles) - $8 [Photo Credit: Tomoki Ito]
Yajima-Ya Bukkake Udon/Soba (beef, seaweed, natto and mountain vegetables over cold noodles) – $8 [Photo Credit: Tomoki Ito]

For those who can’t decide between the udon/soba and donburi choices, you can get a combo of the two (just ask within). You can also try one of their breakfast items (served until 10am), Belgian Waffles, or choose from one of their daily specials, which includes Hayashi Rice on Saturdays!

Daily Specials from Yajima-Ya
Daily Specials from Yajima-Ya

Of course, what’s a visit to a lunch truck without busting out the trusty ol’ Oceanic Mobile Hotspot for some 4G web surfing. Yup, it works here!

Oceanic Mobile works at Yajima-Ya on Sheridan Street
Oceanic Mobile works at Yajima-Ya on Sheridan Street [Photo Credit: AndHere.com]

Parking is a little tight here. There are only two stalls in front and the rest is street parking, which is not that easy in this area during the week. Either way, make your way here, as it’s a winnah.

Yajima-Ya
@yajimayahawaii
Sheridan Street (Behind Hinone Mizunone, between South King & Liona)
Honolulu, HI. 96814 (Street View)
808-497-7991
Mon-Fri: 7:30am-7:30pm
Sat: 7:30am-5pm
Breakfast served until 10am daily.

Blue Truck Teppanyaki

I’ve always seen this bright blue truck parked out in front of the Atherton YMCA on University when I drive by, but never bothered to stop for a looksee. It wasn’t until a glowing review or three from the Brother-In-Law that wifey and I decided to check it out one afternoon (they are at this location from 5pm-8pm daily).

Blue Truck Teppanyaki
Blue Truck Teppanyaki

Teppanyaki is basically a style of cooking in Japanese culture that involves using a flat stove top/griddle (teppan). At Blue Truck, you simply choose your type of meat (juicy steak, garlic teri chicken, hamburger steak, or shrimp) and optional side order items (Portobello mushroom, eggplant, egg, etc.) and they do the rest.

Workers preparing our teppanyaki
Workers preparing our teppanyaki

Basically, that involves them pan-frying/grilling your meat over the teppan range (left), adding their special sauce over it, and finally placing it on a bed of rice, corn and sautéed vegetables.

Home-Made Hamburger Steak (Mini) - $5
Home-Made Hamburger Steak (Mini) – $5

Juicy Steak & Garlic Teri Chicken Combo - $8
Juicy Steak & Garlic Teri Chicken Combo – $8

Prices are pretty reasonable here. If you wanted to double the amount of meat in the combo above to make 1 pound, it would only be $11.

Blue Truck Teppanyaki also serves breakfast items and specials like Spicy Tuna ($7), Steak Roll ($8), New York Sirloin Steak ($14), Pork chop ($8), Scallop ($14), Fish ($9) and Vegetable ($8) plates.

If you’re looking for this truck during lunch, they are at various locations throughout the week from 11am-2pm. See sign below.

Blue Truck Teppanyaki locations
Blue Truck Teppanyaki locations

And yes, in case you were wondering, Oceanic Mobile worked at the University Avenue location too! 8)

Oceanic Mobile works at Blue Truck Teppanyaki on University Avenue
Oceanic Mobile works at Blue Truck Teppanyaki on University Avenue [Photo Credit: AndHere.com]

Blue Truck Teppanyaki
University Avenue (in front of Charles H. Atherton House – YMCA)
Honolulu, HI. 96822 (Street View)
808-389-6808
Daily: 5pm-8pm

Yatai? More like Yatta!

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EATS! – Zen Shu

March 3, 2009

First of all, I’d like to send mad love to errryone who posted comments to yesterday’s “You Know You’re Local If…” blog. It garnered a world Honolulu Advertiser World Wide Ed record setting 100+ comments. First time evah! The record befo’ dat was a whoppin’ 42 (which was also a record at the time). You guys are da bes’! Appreciate.

Not sure when the next triple digit action goin’ be, but I can now die a happy man… Hehe!

OK, so this weekend we went to check out the (somewhat) new izakaya on Kapahulu called Zen Shu (opened back in November where the old Harpo’s Pizza used to be – across Rainbows). I wen’ rush to put the photos together so I could be the first bloggah to write about it up in hurr, but then my bubble was bursted (is that even a word?). I did a search and saw that aunty sistah Melissa already dropped some knowledge on all y’all. Das alright. I’ll present the updated, 2K9 version I guess.

Parking’s pretty much non-existent. Just gotta find um on Kapahulu or Kanaina if can.

Zen Shu - Sake Sushi Sports - Sign
Zen Shu – Sake Sushi Sports – Sign

The interior is off the hook! You can tell they’ve spent big bucks to bring the old Harpo’s look up to speed to the year 2000. 😛

A glimpse of the sushi bar when you first walk in
A glimpse of the sushi bar when you first walk in

The dining area is on the smaller side, as the other half the establishment is reserved for the sports bar type.

View from the dining area
View from the dining area

And then there was the EATS!

Seared Seafood Summer Rolls - Seared Hokkaido Scallop and Shrimp with Alii Mushroom and Sweet Aioli - $9
Seared Seafood Summer Rolls – Seared Hokkaido Scallop and Shrimp with Alii Mushroom and Sweet Aioli – $9

Probably one of our favorites of the night. Nice, rich, flavor.

Garlic Dusted Sake Scented Edamame - Sake Steamed Edamame (soybeans), Garlic Panko Dust - $4.50
Garlic Dusted Sake Scented Edamame – Sake Steamed Edamame (soybeans), Garlic Panko Dust – $4.50

Kinda bland, but ok to munch on while waiting for the rest of our grub to arrive.

Sake Dill Nage Manila Clams - 1 lb. Steamed Manila Clams in Sake Dill Nage - $16
Sake Dill Nage Manila Clams – 1 lb. Steamed Manila Clams in Sake Dill Nage – $16

These clams had an odd taste to them. Couldn’t put a finger on it.

Double Stuffed Portobello Mushroom - King Crab, Shrimp, Enoki, Shimegi, Shiitake Stuffed Portobello Mushroom - $12.75
Double Stuffed Portobello Mushroom – King Crab, Shrimp, Enoki, Shimegi, Shiitake Stuffed Portobello Mushroom – $12.75

One of the better choices of the night. Liked the little tease of tobiko.

Wok Fried Lemongrass Pork Chops - Wok Fried Thin Sliced Pork Chops - $12.50
Wok Fried Lemongrass Pork Chops – Wok Fried Thin Sliced Pork Chops – $12.50

Very unique. Never had pork chops prepared like this before. The flavor was really good, but kinda wished there were more “good” pieces and that they weren’t so burnt.

Steak & Eggs - Pulehu Ribeye, Ikura, Wakame Daikon Salad, Yuzu Soy Batablanc - $18
Steak & Eggs – Pulehu Ribeye, Ikura, Wakame Daikon Salad, Yuzu Soy Batablanc – $18

A let down. You would think it would be a winnah. Steak = good. Ikura = Good. Steak and Ikura… didn’t translate well for me.

Hamachi Zukepacho - Marinated Hamachi with Goma, Negi, and Roasted Nori - $12
Hamachi Zukepacho – Marinated Hamachi with Goma, Negi, and Roasted Nori – $12

Hard to ruin raw Hamachi. Was pretty good. Kinda wished they used flavored nori.

Ama Ama Ebi Ebi Apua`a Roll - Amaebi, Ebi Tempura and Shiso - $16.50
Ama Ama Ebi Ebi Apua`a Roll – Amaebi, Ebi Tempura and Shiso – $16.50

Liked the idea of ama ebi and ebi tempura together.

Overall, a decent dining experience. It’s hard because when I think Izakaya, I compare everything to the best one: Tokkuri-Tei. There really is NO competition. I like the ambience however and I like their concept of a sports bar on the side. I would probably come back for that, as well as try stuff from their sake collection. Their bathrooms were clean too, and for those who know me, that’s up there…

Leonard's Bakery Sign at night
Leonard’s Bakery Sign at night

You know we had to go for dessert at Leonard’s aftahwards.

The posse outside Leonard's Bakery
The posse outside Leonard’s Bakery

Good weekend with good friends.

Talk to me!
* Did you eat anywhere special this weekend?
* What did you think of the food (photos) at Zen Shu?
* Interested in trying it out yourself?
* Got any other suggestions for places to grind?

Happy Girl’s Day (and Tuesday) y’all!

Oahu… A Day In the Life

June 1, 2007

Todd is your typical local boy. Born and raised on big plate lunches, beaches and BBQs, this pseudo-expat will get all emotional on you if he stays away from these for too long. So when he made plans to return to Oahu for a few days from his current/temporary abode on the Big Island (with previous stints in Las Vegas, Maryland and Virginia), I made it a point to take the day off and tag along with this tourist to wherever he wanted to go. Turns out HE showed ME a thing or two about Oahu and its many hidden treasures…

The day started with a scheduled 7:30am arrival time from Kona International Airport at Keahole to Honolulu. As we all know, that means 7:40am by the time they get out of the plane and are ready to be picked up (7:50am if they need to go to baggage claim). So guess who calls me at 7:20am with an excitable voice traceable only by the high-pitched shriekiness? Yep, Tourist Todd. I was already on the way, but still rubbing the sleepiness from my eyes. He felt so guilty for his early morning arrival that breakfast would be on him at our first stop at Toshi’s Delicatessen in Kalihi.

Toshi's Delicatessen Sign
Toshi’s Delicatessen Sign

This tiny, hole-in-the-wall okazu-ya sits inconspicuously on the mauka side of North King Street, just a few blocks from downtown Honolulu. (! – There is a small strip of parking right up front, but be careful if you’re coming from the Wes’side… the turn is dangerous and possibly illegal).

At 7:49AM on a workday Friday, there was already a line of hungry locals forming.

Line at Toshi's Delicatessen
Line at Toshi’s Delicatessen

After tasting their Japanese-style breakfast/lunch lineup, it’s not hard to understand why.

Choices at Toshi's Delicatessen
Choices at Toshi’s Delicatessen

On this occasion, Todd ordered up a hamburger patty, corned beef patty, SPAM, eggs and rice, while I had the hamburger patty, corned beef patty, eggs, tofu and chow fun.

Todd's order of hamburger patty, corned beef patty, SPAM, eggs, rice and a snuck in peace sign
Todd’s order of hamburger patty, corned beef patty, SPAM, eggs, rice and a snuck in peace sign

My hamburger patty, corned beef patty, eggs, tofu and chow fun order
My hamburger patty, corned beef patty, eggs, tofu and chow fun order

Toshi’s Delicatessen
1226 N. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96817 (map)
(808) 841-6634

With food in our bellies, we headed just up the road to Chi-town, aka Chinatown. We were having a local-style barbeque that evening and wanted to pick up some goodies ahead of time. We ended up getting just three items: charsiu, roast pork and Okinawan sweet potatoes, but the photos I captured throughout provide for some interesting sights if I do say so myself. 🙂

Vegetable stand in Chinatown
Vegetable stand in Chinatown

Crab selection in Chinatown
Crab selection in Chinatown

More veggies in Chinatown
More veggies in Chinatown

Crossing the street in Chinatown
Crossing the street in Chinatown

Roast duck hanging in Chinatown
Roast duck hanging in Chinatown

Frozen Ox Tails
Frozen Ox Tails

Veggies in Chinatown
Veggies in Chinatown

Fruits and veggies in Chinatown
Fruits and veggies in Chinatown

Seafood and poultry selection in Chinatown
Seafood and poultry selection in Chinatown

Okinawa Sweet Potato
Okinawa Sweet Potato

Shrimp selection at the Maunakea Marketplace in Chinatown
Shrimp selection at the Maunakea Marketplace in Chinatown

Poor piggy who went to the market
Poor piggy who went to the market

Following Chi-town, we went to another “C-town” (Costco town) to pick up the rest of our eats for the BBQ: Tri-tips, shrimp, bacon & scallops, and other miscellaneous goods. We then headed for the crib to prep and drop off the food for that night. Our other friend Kelvin picked us up from here and we headed to the beach.

Didn’t take too many beach shots (or at least ones they would let me show you), so below is just one taken after our day in the sun, walking back to the car. Side note: When I told Todd I was writing a “day in the life” piece of his time here and asked him what he wanted to include in it, rather than mentioning anything about food, Hawaii or otherwise, he wanted to mention that he’s single and available. Kelvin is as well FYI, so for all y’all single ladies out there, feast your eyes on this! *grin*

Kelvin and Todd, Hawaii's most eligible bachelors
Kelvin and Todd, Hawaii’s most eligible bachelors

Nothing tastes better than a plate lunch after the beach, so the three of us stooges headed to local favorite Rainbow Drive-In in Kapahulu.

Rainbow Drive-In
Rainbow Drive-In

Kelvin and Todd – both monster eaters – ordered the Mixed Plate, which consists of teri steak, grilled mahi, and chicken. Todd was so much in heaven that he wouldn’t even move his hand to let me take a picture!

Rainbow Drive-In's Mixed Plate (teri steak, grilled mahi, and chicken)
Rainbow Drive-In’s Mixed Plate (teri steak, grilled mahi, and chicken)

As for me, I took the practical approach and got just a burger and fries to save my appetite for the eats to come that night.

Rainbow Drive-In's Hamburger and fries
Rainbow Drive-In’s Hamburger and fries

Kelvin made a joke that Rainbows was so fast that as soon as you placed your order and walked over to the next window, your food would be ready! He wasn’t too far from the truth! For future reference, Rainbows is fast kine!

Rainbow Drive-In
3308 Kanaina Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815 (map)
(808) 737-0177

With more than 12 hours past since that girly voice greeted me on the phone this morning, it was time for the barbeque! Let me put on my bbq hat and attempt to recipe this buggah out:

First up on the grill was the beef tri-tips.

Seasoned Beef Tri-Tip
Garlic Salt (to taste)
Seasoned Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Olive Oil (to taste)

Season the beef with garlic salt, seasoned salt and pepper just before cooking (will dry out meat if done too far in advance). Pour enough olive oil over each piece to moisten. Cook over grill, rotating regularly, to desired wellness.

Beef Tri-tip on the grill
Beef Tri-tip on the grill

Next was the Italian-style shrimp:

Italian-style Shrimp
2 pound bag of frozen 21-25 shrimp (shell off, tail-on and de-veined)
1 bottle of Italian Dressing (your choice)
Salt
Pepper

Defrost the shrimp and lightly salt and pepper them (shrimp is naturally salty and will also get ample flavoring from the dressing). Throw shrimp in a Ziploc bag, empty dressing into the bag and zip up. Do your best impression of “Shake Yo’ Money Maker” or “The Twist” (depending on what generation you’re from) and shake the bag until your shrimp is well coated. Place in fridge and let sit/marinate for at least a couple of hours.

When they’re ready, throw ’em on the grill and cook to taste, rotating regularly. (Note: Shrimps cook very fast so keep them off of the hot part of the grill and keep an eye on them or they will burn/char.).

Italian-Style Shrimp joins the party
Italian-Style Shrimp joins the party

Lastly, the Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
1 bag frozen scallops
1 pack bacon
Skewers or thick toothpicks

Defrost frozen scallops and remove hard connective tissue (optional). Wrap bacon around scallop and secure in place with skewer. No flavoring necessary as the oil and saltiness from the bacon will be sufficient. Grill, rotating regularly, to taste and serve.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops round out the bunch
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops round out the bunch

Big plate lunches, beaches and BBQs… All in a day’s work. But let’s not forgot to mention one of the most important Bs that makes living in the islands so unique: bonding with your buddies. You can’t put a price tag on that.
Good food, with great friends… Lucky we live Hawaii.