Saimin, a soup descended from Japanese ramen, is such an important local Hawaiian dish that McDonald’s in Hawaii even serves it, says Eat_Nopal. Like ramen, saimin is a comfort and convenience food, says akq. The broth should be light, with flavors of shoyu and fish. Floating within are fresh noodles, fish cakes, and Spam “right out of the can, not fried,” as akq puts it. Thin strips of egg, green onions, barbecued pork, and greens usually find their way into the pot as well. akq particularly likes saimin with a teriyaki beef stick draped invitingly across the bowl. Clearly, its starting point is ramen, but the aesthetic is different. “If ramen and pho had a baby, saimin would be it,” says OCAnn.

Saimin is widely available in Hawaii, from small saimin stands to local chains to the aforementioned McDonald’s (surprisingly, the McDonald’s version grows on you, says Eat_Nopal). Quality varies. Back on the mainland, Hawaiian restaurants often have saimin on offer, again of varying quality. “The saimin I’ve had in SoCal Hawaiian joints doesn’t have a strong fish/bonito flake flavor, perhaps due to the convenience factor,” says DiveFan. Fish cake, udon noodles, green onions, and bok choy liven up Southern California saimins, but “no Spam,” says DiveFan.

Board Link: Saimin for Dummies

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