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Global Feast : Hawaii

Matsugen
April 2012

I can see myself in Hawaii. A little Japanese spot on American soil with some aloha mixed in. Hawaii is absolutely a place where I could live. You can find great American cuisine, local Hawaiian cuisine and some high quality Japanese food you can't find in other cities in the US. I was strolling the back street of the hotel and I passed Matsugen. Matsugen has several restaurants in Tokyo and they gain high praise but I did not know that there was a Hawaii branch.

In contrast to the fact that Soba (buckwheat noodle) is a common food for people in Japan and it looks so simple, it is quite a profound food. There are so many variables that make a high quality soba. I cook soba at home often but they are not even close to perfect and last time I had good one was about year ago.

Kashiwa seiro at Matsugen
house made sobachicken dipping soup

Kashiwa Seiro ($13.50)
Seiro is a steam basket made with bamboo. In the old days, soba was steamed in a seiro.
Now, soba is boiled but the steamer is still used as a serving dish.
Kashiwa means chicken. It is a dipping soup with chicken and Japanese leeks.

I usually like the simplest style of soba called mori-soba which is just the cold soba with a simple soba dipping sauce and some good quality wasabi and chopped scalion. But somehow, very unsually, I felt like ordering something that I rarely order.

soba making station

soba station

rolling pins for soba making

long rolling pins for soba making

In the middle of the dining area, there is a counter around the soba making station. If you are lucky, you can see the master making soba from scratch (I have heard early lunch time and during dinner time is the best bet). Unfortunately, I was late for that.

stonemillfreshly made backwheat flour

They also placed stone mills at their entrance and you can see the fresh buckwheat flour is being made. This shows how fresh their soba is and no wonder it tastes great.

Matsugen Honolulu
255 Beachwalk
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
tel: 808.926.0255

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