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Hamura’s Saimin renewed my faith in chopsticks. Up until our trip to Kauai a few weeks ago, I had given up on the wooden pair and resorted to the good old fashion American way of eating – with a fork. Why? Because it’s a quicker way of getting food from plate to stomach. Well, for me anyway – a half-Chinese gal who grew up in a household of chopstick users. Guess I never quite mastered the chop chop.
Homemade noodles and dumplings make for a savory Kauai dish.
…Until I went to Hamura’s Saimin Stand for the first time. We got there around dinner time. The mom-and-pop eatery in Lihue was already packed with people crouched over steaming bowls of the island specialty. As we waited for a seat, I noticed everyone ate with chopsticks. Locals, tourists and even the little tykes finally starting to feed themselves used them as eating utensils. Why didn’t I?
We sat down at the U-shaped counters, elbow-to-elbow with our saimin-slurping neighbors, and I ordered the won ton saimin with a side of teriyaki barbecue sticks (a must!). Across from us, a balding guy turned completely red after his first few slurps of saimin. (Note to self: Don’t go overboard with the bottle of homemade chili pepper sauce on the counter next to me.) Our bowls of steamy noodles finally arrived. I thought about asking the aunty for a fork but decided against it after watching everyone devour their food with those infamous chopsticks…which led to my unavoidable submission to the sticks.
An old-school dining experience on the Garden Isle that’s always packed with hungry Hamura’s fans.
I poked around my bowl before grabbing the first bunch of noodles with chopsticks. Gulp. Hey, that was easier than I remembered! Slurp. Before I knew it, the heap of noodles-veggies-wontons-and-fishcake had disappeared. By far, THE best bowl of saimin I’ve had, which honestly wouldn’t have tasted quite as amazing without the help of some chopsticks. I highly recommend Hamura Saimin Stand to anyone visiting the Garden Isle. It’s one of those places that’s been in business for decades and manages to keep everything exactly the same – from the now fading walls inside to the menu that’s become a staple in the heart of Lihue.
HAMURA’S SAIMIN STAND • 2956 Kress St., Lihue, HI 96766 • Opens Mon-Thu 1030am-10pm, Fri-Sat 1030am-12am, Sun 1030am-9pm • 808-245-3271