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Kaka’ako Kitchen

June 15, 2008

So I just finished my first week of work at the new gig. Which means I don’t have much to write about… a blatantly false statement. I could easily write many thousands of words about my new workplace, the type of folk who populate it and the projects that are in motion. But I’ll have to save that for a less public forum. I could also dedicate a few lines to the differences between a Japanese and American office. But that would probably re-tread familiar territory and just be tiresome.

I’ll stick to food instead. Because it’s easy, and all I’ve been doing besides working and handling random logistical tasks like moving into a new unit in our building, is eating.

I am starting to believe/realize that food in Hawaii is not nearly as heinous as my misplaced and rapidly dissolving Tokyo snobbery had led me to believe. As the husband of my company’s CEO noted at a dinner, Hawaiians love to eat.

The first place this week that raised my eyebrows (in a good way) was the Kaka’ako Kitchen, in Ward Center, a stone’s throw from my office. The order counter wasn’t much to look at, but was bustling and unassuming, with poured concrete floors giving it a market feel. The seating is all outside under a broad canopy, looking out onto Auahi. Nothing very special, but at least cool and casual.

Food comes out in styrofoam delivery packs, not really much presentation. I had catfish tempura with ponzu sauce, fresh greens with a horseradish dressing and brown rice. The batter on the catfish was just the right consistency – not too dense, not overly crisp – though I should note it was of course heavier than real tempura batter, Americanized. Fine by me. Full of flavor, everything at a pinnacle of freshness.

My colleague, born and raised on the island, claimed catfish was an unworthy fish (as opposed to the Akipakipo or something that he recommended). It is true that catfish will win no prizes for delicacy or subtlety. But it is an honest fish. I guess they are a little spoiled for fish here in Hawaii.

On second thought, ordering catfish in Hawaii is like ordering a hotdog in Tokyo. But hey, I’ve got plenty of time to sample all the good stuff.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. starchild permalink
    June 15, 2008 10:56 pm

    on my last trip to Oahu, visiting the family, I ate lunch here while on break from the beach. they were extremely accomodating to me concerning my gluten free diet. all I wanted was a piece of ahi and two scoops of rice. it was wonderful.

    if you like thai food, try Phuket Thai in McCully shopping center…


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