Asian Flavors in Hawaii We Love

The gamut of flavors in Asia is boundless, and Hawaii is the perfect gateway to access a number of distinct cuisines.  Hawaii’s diverse culinary landscape includes cuisines of Asian immigrant cultures spanning back from the mid-1800s through the plantation era.  However, beyond Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Filipino cuisine, the scene now encompasses Vietnamese, Thai, Taiwanese, Laotian, Burmese, Malaysian, and Singaporean.  Some restaurants retain authentic or traditional flavors while others add more contemporary takes or modified, fused flavors to appeal to a wider audience of Hawaii locals and visitors.  Here are a few places to consider for unique Asian flavors.


Hawaii Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant

One of the newer Chinese restaurants in town is located in the heart of Chinatown.  Hawaii Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant serves dim sum from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a wide variety of dumplings and tea-friendly bites.  From 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., there is an impressive restaurant menu offering delectable appetizers, BBQ roasts such as Peking duck or crispy chicken, soups, spicy Sichuan dishes, savory seafood plates, salt & pepper seasoned fare, meats, sizzling platters, tofu & egg dishes, vegetable presentations, and starches, such as fried rice and noodles.  Those planning ahead should order the char siu, a plate of Cantonese-style barbecued pork that balances lean and fatty meat, glazed with a sweet lacquer.  This truly remarkable and memorable dish requires at least 24 hours’ notice.

Hawaii Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant
111 N. King Street, Honolulu, HI
Phone:  (808) 888-2823
Business hours:  Thu-Tue, 8:00am – 9:00pm (closed Wed)


Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot 

Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot’s steaming pots of beef, pork, chicken, seafood, and vegetables simmering in a flavorful beef-based broth is crave-worthy.

However, those seeking generous portions of meat must order the Beefy King Hot Pot, a monolithic-sized hotpot.  This hotpot that feeds 2-4 people includes a 12-ounce tower of washugyu brisket and washugyu chuck roll.

kamitoku hot pot_beefy king

To balance out the meal, are a variety of vegetables such as won bok cabbage, bok choy, cabbage, bean sprouts, chrysanthemum leaves, shiitake, oyster mushroom slices, shimeji, chives, malony, mochi, deep fried bean curd, and 3 pieces of gyoza.  If that does not fill you up, fear not, as you have a choice of ramen or porridge incorporating that washugyu beef-extracted broth for a brilliant expression of Asian umami.

Kamitoku Japanese Hot Pot >> Get a special offer! 
Location: Market City Shopping Center,
2919 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 204 
Hours: 11am – 2pm Last Call, 5pm – 9pm Last Call (Mon – Sat), 5pm – 8pm Last Call (Sun)
Phone: (808) 784-0121


Ribs & Broth in STIX ASIA

One of the newer tenants at STIX ASIA, the underground food hall of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, is Ribs & Broth.

Ribs & Broth Waikiki

The authentic Vietnamese flavors are represented in a variety of appetizers, such as a shredded papaya salad, classic summer rolls, crispy chicken wings with sweet chili sauce; a selection of banh mi sandwiches; vermicelli noodles with proteins, an impressive roster of pho, and a lineup of entrees including five spice marinated BBQ pork chops, crispy basa filet with ginger and onion, stir-fry lemongrass tofu, and more.  However, the must-order is the Double Beef Back Ribs Pho, which features bone-in beef ribs with generous portions of meat wading in a gently spiced pho broth with noodles.  If Fred Flintstone was Vietnamese, this is what he would order at the end of every episode.

Ribs & Broth Waikiki

Ribs & Broth >> Get a special offer! 
Location: Waikiki Shopping Plaza
2250 Kalakaua Ave. LL 100 *STIX ASIA Waikiki
Hours: 11am – 10pm daily
Reservations: (808) 218-2812


Thai Vientiane Cuisine 

In the heart of Waikiki is Thai Vientiane Cuisine, a restaurant celebrating Thai and Laotian flavors.

Located on Royal Hawaiian Avenue, the restaurant prides itself on a selection of appetizers, such as spring rolls, Thai egg rolls, summer rolls, sateh chicken, Thai sausage, Thai fried pork, and golden calamari with sweet chili sauce; tom kha and tom yum soups with a variety of protein; a variegated curry menu featuring red, yellow, and green curry, as well as panang, massaman, pineapple, and pumpkin curry; noodle and rice dishes; and house specials including evil princess, spicy clams, Hainanese chicken rice, and more.  However, one of the impressive go-to dishes here is the Thai snapper, a deep-fried crispy whole fish served with fresh vegetables and topped with fresh garlic and chili sauce, a beautiful fusion of Thai and Laotian flavors.

Thai Vientiane Cusine

Thai Vientiane Cuisine >> Get a special offer! 
Location: 339 Royal Hawaiian Ave.
Hours: 11 am – 10 pm daily
Phone : (808) 773 – 7001


Rangoon Burmese Kitchen

Rangoon Burmese Kitchen, the popular restaurant serving cuisine from Myanmar in Downtown Honolulu, showcases family recipes passed down to owner Khun Sai from his Kachin tribe in northern Myanmar.  Discover a world of flavors via appetizers such as Baya Kyaw (yellow split pea fritter topped with fried chili, curry leaves, and a garlic chili sauce) and Burmese Samusas (savory pastries stuffed with potato, onion, mint leaves, green bean, spices, and served with a garlic chili sauce), soups such as Mo Hing Ga (fish chowder noodle soup that is the national dish of Myanmar), salads as the Ginger Salad, noodles such as Nan Gyi Thoke (rice noodles with coconut chicken curry sauce), as well as curries, stews, and stir-fries incorporating pork, chicken, beef, lamb, seafood or vegetables.  However, the dish that addicts just about everyone to this restaurant is the Rangoon Tea Leaf Salad, a healthy dish incorporating fermented tea leaves mixed with garlic, peanuts, yellow split peas, green split peas, sesame seeds, tomato, jalapeno and a squeeze of citrus for a brilliant rainbow of textures and balanced flavors.

Rangoon Burmese Kitchen
1131 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, HI
Phone:  (808) 367-0645
Business hours:  Mon-Sat, 11:00am – 2:00pm, 5:00 – 10:00pm (closed Sun)


Straits Restaurant & Lounge

Hailing from San Jose, Straits Restaurant & Lounge opened a location in Honolulu on the first floor of the Ward Entertainment Center at Ward Village.  The restaurant captures the vibrant flavors represented in founder/chef Chris Yeo’s hometown in Singapore. Borrowing from fragrant Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, and Nyonya culinary styles, Straits Restaurant & Lounge prepares a fusion of flavors in their raw bar dishes, salads, small plates, seafood dishes, poultry, beef & pork, and rice & noodles.  Discover dishes such as a chilled seafood platter, hamachi curry crudo, Fuji apple and prawn salad, roasted bone marrow, roti prata, Singapore satay sticks, crispy calamari, crispy whole fish, origami butterfish, Potong Kari Ayam (Singaporean chicken curry), beef rendang (in kaffir lime coconut curry), laksa, and nasi goreng.  Local chef Reid Matsumura adapts these Southeast flavors to the local palate, but one of the dishes that seems to be winning people over is the Singapore Crab, a light riff on the authentic Singaporean style featuring a Dungeness crab served with a choice of house-crafted chili sauce or black pepper sauce with smoked garlic butter, oyster sauce, shallots, and scallions.  Slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and with a mild chili note, the sweet crabmeat pairs with the sauce beautifully. 

Straits Restaurant & Lounge
1060 Auahi Street, Honolulu, HI
Phone: (808) 888-0683
Business hours:  Sun-Thu 4:00pm – 10:00pm; Fri-Sat, 4:00pm – 12:00am



The late-night watering hole ZIGU is a Japanese-style tapas bar or izakaya that operates nightly until midnight.

The casual eatery showcases dishes made with fresh island ingredients and prides itself on the various components’ traceability in the islands.  Small dishes of edamame, egg rolled omelet, and sweet potato salad share the menu with deep-fried plates of shrimp tempura and mochiko fried chicken, nigiri and rolled sushi, noodles, and main dishes such as sauteed ginger pork and grilled sweetened miso salmon.  Be sure to try the Hawaiian ahi cutlet, featuring local ahi with a Japanese presentation.  The fresh fish is crusted in panko and deep fried to a beautiful crisp, maintaining a sashimi rare inside.  The presentation is slathered in housemade Japanese-style tartar sauce and is accompanied by a kale salad with creamy sesame dressing.

ZIGU >> Get a special offer! 
Location: 413 Seaside Ave. 1st Floor
Hours: 4pm – 12am daily (Last Call for Food: 11 pm)
*Happy Hour: 4pm – 6pm
Phone : (808) 212 – 9252


Hawaii’s diverse Asian culinary scene truly brings together many of the flavors of the continent in one place.  Think of our island home as a portal into the vast cuisines that Asia has to offer, possibly even an entry point for those who are unfamiliar, helping them transition their palate to the exotic world of flavors abroad.

Oahu's Best Coupons