Hamura Saimin is a famous, no-frills noodle restaurant in Kauai. They are best known for two things: saimin and lilikoi chiffon pies!
If you ask a dozen people for a list of where to eat in Kauai, guarantee all those lists will include Hamura Saimin Stand. And if it doesn't...well you should be skeptical ^_^
The Hamura Story
Ok Hamura's! This place is legendary and best known for saimin and lilikoi chiffon pies. It is also close to the main Kauai airport. I like stopping here right after I land, and also on my way back to the airport.
Hamura's opened in 1952 (just two years after Liliha Bakery, another beloved Hawaii spot). The restaurant is housed in converted Army barracks...look for the blue house. Usually you can find parking right nearby.
It is a casual spot and captures the old Hawaii feeling beautifully. I also love how diverse the clientele is. You'll find locals, tourists, and everyone in between. It's a welcome all kind of spot.
It's busy all the time but gets crazy packed at lunch. Go before the lunch rush or come in the afternoon. Communal, counter seating only. Wait in line and seat yourself.
What to get at Hamura's
The Hamura's menu is short and simple. Saimin makes up the bulk up the menu. The menu is completed with side dishes and lilikoi chiffon pie. Here's what to get:
Saimin is Hawaii's answer to ramen. I like saimin better than ramen because it is clean and light. Also it reminds me of home and is very nostalgic...sometimes this counts a lot for food. Hamura makes their own samin noodles nearby at the family factory, and the broth is made from a mix of shrimp, chicken, pork, and scallops. It's a must try.
If it's your first time tasting saimin, all the menu saimin options can be confusing. We'll simplify it here:
- Saimin - this is the classic, the most simple version you can get. Saimin noodles in broth, topped with green onions, ham, and kamaboko (fish cake). Comes in four sizes.
- Wonton Mein - the Saimin plus: onions, roast pork, and wontons.
- Wonton Soup - the Wonton Mein minus the noodles.
- Shrimp Saimin - the Saimin plus: onions and shrimp tempura.
- Fried Noodles - stir-fried saimin noodles
- Udon - udon noodles with green onions, onions, and fish cake
- Special Saimin - the Saimin plus: onions, vegetables, roast pork, wontons, and egg. This is the one I order!
- Sumo Bowl Special Saimin - the Saimin plus: onions, vegetables, roast pork, wontons, egg, and shrimp tempura. Served in a super size bowl (even bigger than their XL saimin). This is very big.
I like to get the Special Saimin plus...
...bbq sticks. You can pick chicken or beef. It can take some time to make so I just ask for whichever one is ready and hot. All saucy with a nice char. Kind of like local-style yakitori! This makes for a very good saimin accompaniment.
If you come with a friend, you should also split an order of fried wontons. It's too much for one person but perfect for sharing. The wontons are filled with a mix of pork and shrimp and green onions. Classic and fried so good! Plus that sweet sauce for dipping ^_^
FYI: Hamura's spells wontons as won ton. Two words. I'm not sure why that is. We always use wonton at home and that's how I see it spelled on most menus in Hawaii. But am curious as to why they use won ton. I'll ask next time I'm there.
Lilikoi Chiffon Pie
Most important! This lilikoi chiffon pie is wild. Once I ate two slices on a visit. The saimin is important but the lilikoi chiffon pie is really important.
This pie makes me very happy. It's so light that instead of making you feel more full...you just feel blissed out. Three parts:
- Pie crust - light, so thin and flaky.
- Lilikoi chiffon filling - pooooofff! It's like lilikoi chiffon cloud air. A little tart, just sweet enough. Melts in your mouth. It's heavenly! How do they make it?? I have no idea. We love chiffon things in Hawai and this is pie is a great example of that.
- Soft meringue top - the perfect pairing for the tart and bright chiffon filling.
Can you believe each slice is only $4.50? You can also order the whole pie for $22.
Hamura Saimin Stand: Insider Tips
- Order for one: Special saimin, bbq stick, and lilikoi chiffon pie
- Order for two: Special saimin, shrimp saimin, bbq stick, fried wontons, and lilikoi chiffon pie
- Go early or go late but avoid prime lunch hours of 11am-12:30pm, it gets very busy
- Street parking is pretty easy to find
- Cash only
This photo was taken back in 2014, right after landing in Kauai
I hope you go soon! Tell me all about it ^_^
INFO: Hamura Saimin | 2956 Kress Street, Lihue, Hawaii 96766 | 808-245-3271
PRICE: Saimin ranges from $7.50-$12.50, Lilikoi Chiffon Pies are $4.50 (whole pie for $22)
HOURS: Monday-Thursday: 10am-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday: 10am-12am, Sunday: 10am-9:30pm