Stix Asia Food Hall Brings 17 New Asian Restaurants to Waikīkī
Formerly Waikīkī Yokocho, this new gourmet food hall has everything from handmade udon from Japan to Korean street food — all in one place.
I love a good food hall.
It’s like browsing a farmers market or street fair and letting your stomach guide you.
I was bummed when I heard Waikīkī Yokocho, a Japanese food hall located in the lower level of the Waikīkī Shopping Plaza, had closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many restaurants in Hawaiʻi—and especially in visitor-centric Waikīkī—it just didn’t survive the drastic decline in visitors to the Islands.
But visitors are back—and so it this food hall. Sort of.
On Feb. 6—incidentally National Chopsticks Day—another gourmet food hall opened in the same space, this one a little broader to include a variety of Asian cuisines. (Not just Japanese.)
Stix Asia features 13 dining concepts—more are opening for a total of 17—featuring everything from authentic Taiwanese noodles to Korean street food. Three vendors—Ramen Baikohken, Nana Musubi and Nana’s Green Tea—were part of Waikīkī Yokocho; the rest are brand-new concepts to Hawaiʻi. Diners can experience a variety of Asian foods—Japanese nabe, spicy tkeokbokki from Korea, Taiwanese soup noodles—all in one place.
The space itself is part of the appeal. You feel like you’re walking through restaurant-lined side streets in Japan. On the walls are posters and murals that explain the diverse cuisines of Asia—which was part of Stix Asia’s philosophy. It’s not just about showcasing unique dishes; it’s about educating people about the cultures of Asia through food.
At Udon Yama, all of the Sanuki udon noodles are handmade in house, the recipe of which is a family secret. This style of udon is popular in the Kagawa prefecture of Japan and characterized by its square shape, flat edges and chewy texture. The shop in Waikīkī serves varieties of udon—we tried the lemon udon, which is served chilled—and tempura (dishes that are battered and deep-fried).
Another new eatery is Nabe Aina, run by the new owners of Scratch Kitchen Hawaiʻi near Ward. In addition to serving nabe—Japanese-style hot pot—it’s adding yakiniku to its menu. Yakiniku is, in essence, cooking bite-size meats and veggies on a grill. Nabe Aina offers A5 Japanese wagyu beef—it’s pricier but worth it—that literally melts in your mouth. So buttery and delicious. It also boasts a great selection of sake—and the owners will even suggest pairings for you.
Ramen Baikohken is one of the food hall’s biggest draws. This popular ramen shop—featured in the famous Michelin Guide—is known for its shoyu (soy sauce) broth from Sapporo in Hokkaido in northern Japan. (The original shop opened in 1969 in Asahikawa.) This outpost features several different styles of dashi (broth), including a flavorful miso broth that’s further enhanced with a pat of butter. (Yes, butter!) The noodles are all locally made, too.
A fun stop is K Street Food Waikīkī, which serves a variety of traditional Korean street food, including a Korean-style battered corn dog and Hweori potatoes, a spiral-cut potato on a stick. So fun! Its tteokbokki—a beloved Korean rice cake dish—is also super popular.
And for dessert, there’s Nana’s Green Tea—which also runs Ao Gelato, a gelateria that uses premium teas and tropical fruits to make its gelato. Nana’s Green Tea is like the Starbucks of matcha in Japan. While its lattes are popular, the vibrant green matcha soft serve is what Instagrammers love.
The creamy soft serve can be swirled with vanilla or hojicha—a roasted green tea—and topped with kinako-dusted cubes of mochi.
It’s the kind of place you have to keep coming back to try something new. And we will.