MLC Observation – Eateries

Mar 31, 2014

While eating pho with Paula and my daughter Stacie one night, I was explaining to Stacie that pho and Vietnamese restaurants are new to us.  I mean, we didn’t have Vietnamese restaurants when we were growing up like today’s younger generation does.


It wasn’t until high school that I discovered In Sam Korean restaurant in Kailua and Kim Chee 1 restaurant in Kaneohe.  Before then, the only Korean food I had was either at home or at my hamulni’s house.  Or at new year’s day get-togethers at my relatives.


I went on to explain to my daughter that, for one – we didn’t eat out much in our day.  And when we did, it was usually at the local drive-in or chop suey joint.  Every now and then on a special occasion, we at “American” food at a Spencecliff restaurant or Violet’s Grill or something similar.  And we had the mom-n-pop eateries like Tsukenjo’s, Jane’s Fountain, or Torii’s Lunch Room.  And of course the saimin houses like: Hall Saimin, Saimin House, Tanoue’s Saimin, Washington Saimin, Palace Saimin, etc.


But when it came to ethnic restaurants other than Chinese restaurants or Japanese okazuyas – there weren’t many.  Maybe a couple few Mexican restaurants, Hawaiian restaurants, Filipino restaurants, and Korean restaurants.  But definitely no Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Greek restaurants, or Italian restaurants.  Well, actually there were Italian and French restaurants in Waikiki, but not the kind that we would patronize on a regular basis.  The closest I got to Italian food was a pizza parlor.  And French Fries doesn’t count as French cuisine.


And ramen shops are something new too.  Our time, there were only saimin houses.


So eating pho bo, bánh mì, summer rolls, pad thai, red curry, gyros, and Fettuccini Bolognese is all pretty new to us MLCers.  It’s not something we grew up with – like today’s kids.  In fact, I still have this image of a Bolognese dish being made with chopped up “…cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A“.


What other kinds of foods or places can you think of that are fairly new to us, yet run-of-the-mill eating places for our kids’ generation?  What kinds of foods did we grow up with that are getting more and more scarce today – like okazuya delicatessens.




And just a couple of weeks away…

20140412_Dance Party



Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

108 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Hbh
    April 2nd, 2014 at 9:00 pm #


    You know i will probable be banished from MLC Hawaii for saying this but i havent had a coco puff, i was an neglectted child :-)’

  2. Yoshi
    April 2nd, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    I miss those high school hang out drive inns – The “old” Zippy’s , Pee Wee, Chunky’s, Scotty’s, KC Drive Inn. Other places like Wisteria, Washington Saimin, Kewalo lunch wagon, etc…. Miss those prom restaurants too. Byron II, Cavalier, Canlis, Third Floor, Kahala, etc.. Most of all, I miss the rice and gravy.

  3. Mark Shelby
    April 3rd, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    Do you remember Chun Hoon on Nuuanu Ave. ?

    They had a take out window. And a sit down restaurant. And a grocery store. I think there was even a live tree, growing inside the restaurant. They built the restaurant around it!

    Did I spell Chun Hoon right?

  4. 1oldfut
    April 3rd, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Re: “What kinds of foods did we grow up with that are getting more and more scarce today – like okazuya delicatessens.”
    -Mom and Pops Stores-
    This may be a bit obscure, but there was a mom and pops store back in the 70’s fronting what I vaguely remember as an old wooden housing/apartment building on School Street across the Lanakila School baseball field. I will never forget that they would sell chow fun in those little rectangular paper trays for cheap. I would go after school (or was it before?) and the man(woman?) would scoop it out of those big aluminum pots. It tasted soooo good with shoyu. I even found a pork skin with hairs on it, which kinda grossed me out, but finished the tray anyway. Anyone remember? Damn I miss small kid time…

  5. 1oldfut
    April 3rd, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Kinda sad to see that the original Liliha Bakery’s cake decorating window is non-functional now, but still there. I spent more than a few days there as a kid watching the cake decorator’s do their thing. They would even smile and wave sometimes! ( of course it helped that my Mom worked there…). The brownie “ends” were killer. I think they even used to sell them at one time.

  6. Seawalker
    April 3rd, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    @1 oldfut – As reprinted from 7/12/13.

    If a picture paints a thousand words, then the grinds you posted is a masterpiece Rod! Okazuya, it reminds me of dim sum. You get to select what you want, and you do the choosing to your heart’s desire. Quite different from life where everybody tells you what to do instead.
    Reminds me of my elementary school days. There was a store on School Street across of Lanakila baseball field. Nope, not the Health Center. 25 cents for a small helping of chow fun. But I forget the name–me makule. It was served in a small container, the kind you see for holding haupia so the Hawaiian plate won’t mix-in with the sweetness.
    Anyway, the portion-size didn’t matter to us. It was our morning treat. We were delivering newspapers back then. So we were filthy-rich. Not! So my best friend and I would cross the street in the morning to get our fill. We were doing this for a while.
    One day as we were crossing the street, my heart started pounding. I thought I saw a car driving that I recognized from afar. Yup, sure did. It was my dad. I could see him shaking his fingers in the windshield as to say, get your but(t) back to school. Reading his lips, I remember him saying in his broken-Chinglish, I going give you lickins’ at home.
    Sure enough, it was major lickins’ that night. I remember dad asking what did you buy? As I was crying, I told him softly “chow fun”. He asked me how much did I spend. I told him, a quarter. He just said “hummf” and walked away.
    You think we learned our lesson? Heck no. We started to buy our chow fun treat soon after again. Boys will be boys!
    One day, as we were crossing the street, I saw a familiar car parked in front of the store. Could it be? Yes, it was. It was dad. But wait. He was there to buy chow fun for 25 cents too. Pake! I knew it, a Pake could never pass up a good deal. Son-of-a-gun!
    Dad is probably up in heaven having chow fun right this minute. He’s also probably still watching over me and still shaking his finger. But every time I come across a quarter, it takes me back to the good ol’ days. And dad, next time I have 2 quarters, one’s for you.

  7. 1oldfut
    April 3rd, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Holy Cow! someone else from the old ‘hood! So what was that building anyway? You must be one Lanakila alum then huh? I never tasted any other chow fun as good, but maybe had that special “melancholy” pixie dust on top…

  8. Seawalker
    April 3rd, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    @1 oldfut – No kidding, all I know is that the building is long gone. It was fronting School Street, no? Several of us on this blog went to the same elementary school. As for the chow fun, how could you not remember. Thanks for confirming the story!

Leave a Feedback

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>