HAWAII Magazine’s “75 Places to Eat Like A Local”: Asian Hot Pot
Among its main courses is “75 Places to Eat Like a Local,” our now annual guide to the Hawaii places you’ll find residents like us heading for great eats when we’re hungry. We change the overall menu theme of “75 Places” every year to keep it fresh so this year’s “75 Places to Eat Like a Local: Mixed Plate Edition” digs into the Islands’ renowned array of multicultural cuisines. For example, where we go when we want the best sushi or homestyle Japanese food. The Filipino restaurants with the best lechon, sari sari and pancit noodles. Where we head to when we’re craving the tastiest Hawaiian food.
Through the end of December, we’re sharing a few categories and eateries from this year’s “75 Places to Eat Like a Local: Mixed Plate Edition” guide here on HawaiiMagazine.com. We’ve shared our “Hawaiian food” and “Japanese food” categories in a previous post. Below is the third category we’re sharing: the five restaurants that made our Asian “HOT POT” category.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
The cool new kid on the Honolulu Asian hot pot block brings the concept of broth simplicity and balance to the table. There are two broths here: one pearl-colored and smoky with beef and chicken flavor, the other deep red, spicy and rich with peppers and sesame. Servers recommend a yin-yang pot with both broths for the best of both flavor worlds. Yeah, balance, Mr. White!
In Ward Center, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., Oahu • (808) 593-0055 • littlesheephotpot.com
Japanese-style hot pot, or nabe, is Ichiriki’s signature. The broths—a staple that makes or breaks all hot pot restaurants—are solid here, especially the spicy “angry” goma and yuzu kosho. But we’re fans of Ichiriki’s impressive meat selection, which include pork belly, Berkshire pork, ribeye and head-on jumbo shrimp to dip, dunk and simmer.
Three locations on Oahu • ichirikinabe.com
Sweet Home Cafe
The ever-present mass of patrons outside this Honolulu establishment is especially impressive in a city rife with hot pot restaurants. But Sweet Home Café, one of the first, is still one of the best. Reason No. 1? Its broths—more than a dozen of them, all made fresh daily. Reason No. 2? Never underestimate the power of a massive “gratis” Taiwanese shave ice dessert to ensure everyone leaves happy.
2334 S. King St., Oahu • (808) 947-3707
Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu
Shabu shabu (thin-sliced meats, dipped into the boiling water of a table-top hot pot then dipped in sauces) we can do just fine at home. Nabe (where meat and veg are tossed into broth-filled table-top hot pots and cooked) we leave to pro broth-makers like the folks at Asuka. Try the signature Asuka Nabe platter, which includes just about every kind of hot pot-friendly ingredient there is, for a crash course.
3620 Waialae Ave., Oahu • (808) 735-6666 • asukanabe.com
Hot Pot Heaven
We were scolded by a reader for hating on the “Hawaiian” broth and its disturbing pineapple flavor on our last Hot Pot Heaven writeup. Our updated advice? You should still avoid it like cheese on sushi. But do try HPH’s other lovely broths such as kimchee, mushroom and spicy Thai, especially with pork belly.
In McCully Shopping Center, 1960 Kapi‘olani Blvd., Oahu • (808) 941-1115