Sushi Platters are a way of life in Hawaii! Picture a colorful platter filled with a big assortment of sushi ranging from ahi to unagi, salmon, ikura, and if you're lucky...uni. It is for everyone to share and enjoy! Sushi platters are popular at potluck parties, birthdays, graduations, new year celebrations, and any get together with friends and family. It's not a real trip to Hawaii till you've enjoyed a proper sushi platter, local style ^_^
What Is A Sushi Platter?
Behold the big and glorious Sushi Platter!
I'm excited about a lot of food, but I'm super excited about sushi platters.
Sushi platters are a "Hawaii thing." I'm sure they exist in other places, but no other state celebrates sushi platters the way we do in Hawaii.
Ok first things first. What is a sushi platter? A sushi platter is a big platter that's filled with sushi. Not just one kind of sushi but all kind of sushi. It can be filled with all sushi nigiri or all sushi rolls, or a mix of both.
Many sushi places have preset platters (like you can order Platter A, Platter B, etc), or you can "design" your own platter. For example, if you really like salmon and unagi you can order a whole platter of only salmon and unagi. The world is your oyster!
Why Are Sushi Platters Popular In Hawaii?
There are endless reasons, and they all make good sense. Here are a few:
Hawaii is very family oriented. There's lot of multigenerational living (think grandparents, parents, grandkids and grown kids all living together under one roof). And because of that, there's lots of big group eating. A sushi platter is a fun and easy way to feed a lot of people at once. And no cooking needed!
When living in cities like NYC and SF, I noticed that people often celebrate by going out to restaurants. But in Hawaii, I realized that we mostly celebrate by staying in and having a party at home.
I think it's because gatherings are large because everyone is invited (all the cousins and there are a lot of them! and the uncles and aunts, etc). It makes more sense and is more economical and fun to do a big gathering in the backyard (or a garage party) so that everyone can come celebrate.
We love fish, sashimi, and sushi in Hawaii! We are lucky to have lots of fresh fish on the island (make sure to check out all the fish at the markets when you visit). You can see how much people love fish based on the market lines, especially during holidays and graduation weekend. What better way to celebrate than with sushi!
Pricing And Ordering
Prices depending on the size of the platter and the specific sushi and/or rolls involved. We usually pay about $60-90 for a platter, it can be a lot more or less depending on what you order.
For holidays (eg. graduation, new year's, mother's day, etc), make sure to order the sushi platter a few days or even a week in advance.
For all other times, you can just order an hour or two in advance. Call ahead to place the order, then you can just drive over and pick up.
Where To Buy
There are many places you can purchase sushi platters. Below are our go-to spots in Honolulu.
Fish & Rice
I go to Fish & Rice often. I love this place and it is my favorite spot for sushi platters.
I go for sushi lunch takeout for one person, I go for big platters, I go for all occasions. They're located inside Palama Supermarket (a Korean market) so you can do grocery shopping and get lunch/dinner at the same time.
Fish & Rice offers a several different preset sushi platters. You can do all nigiri, all rolls, a combo platter. A combo platter is perfect if it's your first time getting a sushi platter. The photo at the top of this post is Nigiri Platter B (I asked to replace the shrimp with more salmon). Prices are a little higher than other casual takeout sushi spots, but I love the quality here. So worth it.
Note: They recently started making mini sushi platters! It's perfect for 2-3 people. Sometimes I get it to share with mom and dad for an easy Friday night dinner. Sushi platter plus a cup of miso soup and a good movie...ahh bliss ^_^
A popular casual sushi spot on Monsarrat Ave (on a street near lots of other great food like Diamond Head Market & Grill, Pioneer Saloon, and da Cove Health Bar). Hawaii Sushi is great for big parties and get togethers. I would say the quality is right in between Kozo Sushi and Fish & Rice. It's the ideal option for tasty everyday sushi without breaking the bank.
Kozo was the takeout sushi spot we all went to as kids. Kozo is a classic. In addition to the sushi platters, their handrolls are also tasty and so convenient. They have a bunch of locations all over the island. My go-to school lunch on field trip days were 3 tuna handrolls (I think they were only $1.25 each at the time!) Their sushi platters are quite popular and you'll see a big sign posted in the window with many sushi platter options.
Mitch's Fish Market and Sushi Bar
Mitch's is a full on restaurant (it's near the Honolulu airport), and you can also order sushi platters to go. It's more expensive than the other three options above, the quality is great. Pick all your favorite nigiri and rolls and ask them to assemble a beautiful custom platter.
Another great casual sushi spot that does a good job with sushi platters. They're popular for spicy ahi and garlic ahi nigiri so make sure those pieces are included in the sushi platter (you can also order an all ahi sampler platter too heheh).
How To Enjoy
Sushi platter is usually served as part of a larger meal. Picture this. Sunday afternoon at your uncle's house. There's maybe a dozen people, some come early and some come late. Some stop by for a quick lunch and others hang out all day.
The weather is good and there's a big table in the backyard. It's filled with lots of good food that everyone brought over. There's a big tray of chow fun (ideally takeout from Lam's Kitchen or Asian Mix), someone made over a giant salad, there's also mochiko chicken, a pot of shoyu chicken, and a bunch of other treats. And of course, one or two nice sushi platters!
Get a plate, and start "making a plate." Put some chow fun on the plate, some chicken, vegetables/salad if any. And then several pieces of sushi from the sushi platter. Then grab a can of juice from the cooler, find a seat and get ready to eat!
Main thing is eat plenty and have fun!! Hope you enjoy ^_^
Want to learn more about how much we love sushi in Hawaii? Here are a few great posts: