How to make Hawaii-style saimin broth (and mail order Hawaii noodles on the Mainland)by: Chris Bailey
posted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 02:08 PM
HAWAII Magazine reader Roy Manubag, of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, wrote us with a question about a longtime favorite Hawaii comfort food:
Where can I order udon from Hawaii and would you have a recipe for noodle broth using ebi (shrimp)?
You ask. We answer.
Udon is a thick wheat-flour noodle that is typically served in a hot, flavorful broth (pictured, above). Like ramen—which generally uses thinner noodles—the dish was born in China centuries ago, eventually finding its way to Japan and other Asian countries. The modern-day popularity of ramen and udon dishes in the Islands can be traced to the Hawaii noodle soup saimin.
First cooked up by field workers during Hawaii’s plantation era, saimin—wheat egg noodles in a hot broth, garnished with anything from green onions and egg omelet slices to Spam and Chinese roast pork slices—remains a popular comfort food dish in the Islands.
In Hawaii, the largest supplier of udon, ramen or any type of Japanese noodle is Sun Noodle. The company’s Honolulu factory (they also have a factory in Los Angeles, Calif.) produces more than 11,000 pounds of fresh noodles a day. Fortunately for noodle lovers on the Mainland, Sun’s Honolulu factory ships their many varieties of Hawaii-made noodles across the country.
Shipping costs from Hawaii vary with type of noodle and location. A Sun Noodle representative in Honolulu informed us that the company has shipped as far east as Chicago, Ill. Sun will ship further, but they caution against it, as the noodles’ freshness may be lost in transit.
For more information or to place an order, call Sun Noodle in Honolulu at (800) 786-8366.
Now about that ebi broth recipe.
Broth is the make-or-break component of any bowl of noodles. It’s also the signature mark of a noodle house, which is why many shops keep their broth recipes a closely guarded secret.
Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Char’s Chopsticks: Sam Sato’s, Inc.
Char's Chopsticks: Hamura's Saimin, Kauai’s mom-and-pop saimin restaurant
Where to find great saimin on Maui