Sanoya Ramen not only has a longstanding rep for being a go-to place for ramen and curry but also, a spot for sobering up on those late nights out on the town. Located several minutes from Waikiki, the Japanese eatery opens till 3 a.m. and serves everything from gyoza to fried rice, but what really does the trick if you’ve had one too many drinks are the warm noodle/soup dishes.

This picture pretty much sums up Sanoya Ramen.

And they’ve got all kinds of it, too – udons, ramens, sobas, somens and donburis up the yin yang. I thought I was an expert on Asian soups, but their menu proved me wrong. The noodles/soups took up several pages and then there was the section on curries…I swear, the menu alone could pass for a textbook of Japanese cuisine. Just as a side note, the different noodle/soup dishes differ by the type of broth and noodle used; some broths may be creamier while others have a thinner consistency. Like udon, noodles can be chunky or skinny, like ramen.

However confusing the menu may be, it’s the best way to tell a place is legit when it comes to authentic Japanese food; the cook doesn’t leave anything out. Not to mention, the noodles they use are made fresh daily. That’s often hard to come by these days. The menus have pictures on the side to help you figure out what’s what, but when we first went, I probably irritated our waiter with questions about the menu. He must have been used to it and patiently answered my questions anyway. But no matter how many questions I ask, I still won’t consider myself an expert until I’ve tried all the dishes.

Kimchee fried rice with a side of miso soup.

Unfortunately, I’m a creature of habit, and whenever we go, I tend to order the same thing. It’s either the spinach noodle ramen or the kimchee fried rice! But for the best deals, flip to the back of the menu for Sanoya’s list of specials. My boyfriend gets the mini combo, which is ramen with a shoyu broth and beef curry. Although called a mini, it’s definitely not. It can easily feed two people.

The only downside to this place is that it can be easy to miss. There’s not a bright sign that says “Sanoyas” or much advertisement at all. But the thing is, it doesn’t really need the extra publicity because this hole-in-the-wall let’s its food speak for itself!

Look for the bowls of ramen if you want to find Sanoyas.

SANOYA RAMEN • 1785 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96826 • Opens 11am-3am • 808-947-6065 • Parking in back; near bus route

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