Fukuya is one of Hawaii's most popular okazuyas (old school delicatessens offering local and Japanese dishes). Here's everything you need to know before visiting.
Fukuya is an okazuya, which is a Japanese delicatessen, but local style. It's a grab and go place. All the prepared dishes are arranged behind a glass counter. Point and choose the items you desire. Everything is wrapped in a box (traditionally a cardboard box) and you're charged per item. It's almost like a DIY bento place.
Fukuya offers a mix of local dishes (like shoyu chicken, Spam musubi, and mochiko chicken), Japanese dishes (like shrimp tempura and nishime), and *local-Japanese dishes (like miso butterfish and chichi mochi).
*Local-Japanese dishes were created as a result of the Japanese bringing their cuisine to Hawaii in the 19th century. Hawaii adopted those Japanese dishes to local tastes, which led to the gradual creation of local-Japanese food.
Okazuya In Hawaii
Okazuyas are a big part of Hawaii's food culture, both historically and present day. Unfortunately there are fewer okazuyas today than in the past. Iit seems like every year or so, another closes for good.
The upside is that there has been renewed interest in okazuya culture in recent years. This is timed with the return of many locals who grew up in Hawaii but then moved to the mainland, and are now moving back home. I think it's only a matter of time before people start opening up "modern day" okazuya concepts.
We've already seen it happen with Hawaii's local plate lunch concept (the modern/elevated plate lunches at Feast Manoa is an example of this), so it makes sense that something similar will happen for okazuyas. Cross your fingers, I believe there is a bright future for okazuyas ^_^
We have a whole post all about okazuya in Hawaii here.
Fukuya is located in a neighborhood called University (because the University of Hawaii is located here). It's on a main street called S. King Street. Make sure to map out directions before you go because it's a sharp turn off S. King Street street into the Fukuya parking lot.
They have several free parking stalls right out front. On busy days you might have to find street parking right on King Street.
Fukuya is a five minute drive to the neighborhood of Manoa in one direction and Kaimuki in the other direction (both are excellent eating neighborhoods). The nice part about Honolulu is that everything is close to each other.
What To Order
The menu is BIG at Fukuya. It can be overwhelming, even if you've been there many times before!
Another stressful part is that it's often busy. There are people waiting behind you in line (so you can't dilly dally trying to decide what to order).
But there are also people in front of you in line (so you can't fully see all the available dishes until it's your turn to order). What to do? Plan ahead hahah.
Here's what I like to order:
They have four different bento sets (called Bento A, B, C, D). Each offers a balanced sampling of their most popular dishes.
Fukuya has two types of noodle dishes. One is just called "noodles" (it's similar to chow mein). The other is chow funn. You're either in the chow mein or the chow funn camp.
I am proud member of the chow funn camp. I love chow funn! They make theirs nice and simple, no fuss. It's the dry style chow funn (aka not saucy), and this version has carrots, bean sprouts, and green onions. What makes this chow funn memorable is the black pepper. Most places don't use any black pepper, but Fukuya adds just enough to make you be like ohhh ahhh. It's good.
Dark chicken, wrapped with a strip of nori and deep fried. This is one of their signature items, and it's best hot out of the fryer. Sometimes I take it home and heat the chicken up in the toaster oven.
Japanese Side Dishes
There are several items that fall into this category. Think nishime, namasu, kimpira gobo, and hijiki salad. I usually get one or two of these items on each visit. Gives some lightness and balance to all the noodles and fried items.
Please note that okazuya food isn't supposed to be mind blowing / the most amazing food you've ever tasted. This is everyday food for us in Hawaii. Okazuya were originally created to offer lunch options to sugar plantation workers during the 19th century.
Today, people get okazuya lunch to take to the office or the beach or to grandma's house. Okazuya is all about tasty, reliable food...it has all the flavors we grew up with ^_^
There are about 4-5 parking stalls right in front of Fukuya's entrance. Getting a parking space is a hit or miss depending on what day and time you visit. If all the free stalls are full, you can find metered street parking on S. King Street.
As with all okazuyas, you want to go as early as possible. Okazuyas generally open early and close early. Fukuya is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 6am-2pm. If you go before 11am you should be able to get the good stuff ^_^
Totally understandable, especially if it's your first visit. If you have no idea what to order, just get either Bento A, B, C, D. They all give a good sampling of their most popular items. (You can also order a bento set and add extra items a la carte if you spot anything else that looks tasty.)
Fukuya Deli: Info
- Fukuya Deli | 2710 S King St, Honolulu, Hawaii 96826 | 808-946-2073 | fukuyadeli.com
- Price (approximate): Bento sets $10-12, A la carte items $1.50-7, Chow funn $4 per pint
- Hours: Monday-Tuesday (Closed), Wednesday-Sunday (6am-2pm)