Okinawan delicacies could be described as a champuru or mixture of flavors from the Ryukyu Kingdom, China, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia. I’ve all the time thought Honolulu was extremely fortunate to have three eating places providing a style of this distinctive delicacies. But on April 23, after 21 years, Mō‘ili‘ili’s beloved Hide-Chan Restaurant might be closing its doorways for good. With their lease up, Hidemitsu and Chizuko Tamayose have determined this can be a good time to vary jobs—to babysitting their grandson.
Hide-Chan doesn’t have fancy, Instagrammable or stylish dishes. What they do serve is Okinawan house cooking that, satirically, we not know the best way to cook dinner at house. Eating at Hide-Chan was like being reconnected with my grandparents.
You may not keep in mind, however when Hidemitsu opened Hide-Chan (that’s his nickname), he solely had Japanese dishes on the menu. But Okinawan prospects stored asking him to make Okinawan meals for them. He scoured previous Okinawan cookbooks, tasting and adjusting the recipes till he was happy. That consideration to element is obvious in his goya (bittermelon) champuru, nakami soup and spare rib soup. Today, his Okinawan dishes are the most well-liked objects.
One of my favorites that I’ll miss is the miso rafute, which is a melty, fork-tender pork stomach. Much of the fats is rendered out by way of lengthy hours of cooking, so it appears to be like actually fatty however it’s not. Hide-Chan is the one place that mixes the pork stomach with a lightweight miso sauce. Miso rafute over rice is my final consolation meals.
The tiny restaurant is known for its pig’s toes soup. Alan Tsuchiyama, a culinary arts professor at Kapi‘olani Community College, advised me the broth “is simmered for just the right amount of time, where the meat and skin are soft but still intact, not an easy thing to do. Timing and years of experience is crucial to get it just right. I admire the meticulous care, as he takes the time to lightly scorch the skin of the pig feet to ensure the best possible product.”
Hide-Chan’s Japanese dishes may also be enormously missed. Besides the miso rafute, my different favourite dish is nasubi hasamiage, a pork and eggplant “sandwich” that’s katsu-battered and fried. I don’t know what I’m going to do with out this in my life. My different go-to dishes are the ‘ahi stomach nitsuke, which unusually consists of tender tofu, and the Japanese potato salad (that I wish to schmear over bread and eat with ham). I set a objective final yr to attempt each dish on the menu and loved all the pieces. Each dish is guided by the style and expertise that Hidemitsu developed over 5 many years of cooking.
What I’m mourning is also the disappearance of those tiny mother and pops which have been round for many years, who know generations of their prospects and play such a pivotal function by turning into gathering locations for his or her communities. With every closing, we are saying farewell to priceless treasures which are a direct connection to our tradition, our neighborhood, and the locations our ancestors got here from.
One pillar of Okinawan delicacies might be gone quickly however there are nonetheless two remaining: Sunrise Restaurant and Utage Restaurant. For a breakdown of all of the Okinawan dishes provided on O‘ahu, I’ve compiled a list right here.
Hidemitsu, Chizuko, their daughter Iris and son Joey need to inform everybody ippei nifee debiru (thanks) and are grateful for the assist of their prospects, particularly through the pandemic. But I need to thank the Tamayose household from the underside of my coronary heart for the many years of scrumptious Okinawan and Japanese dishes they’ve labored so laborious to provide us.
A request: Please do not forget that Hide-Chan is a mother and pop operation that can have a very laborious time dealing with crowds and large orders. There is restricted dine-in seating, so in order for you takeout it’s finest to telephone in your order upfront. Be affected person and understanding as they work by way of these remaining days. A variety of dishes need to be ready a day upfront, so as soon as they promote out, that’s it til the following day. And word that Hide-Chan takes money solely.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. 2471 S. King St., (808) 942-7900. Cash solely.