Popular food craze makes its way to Hawaii

Saimin burger

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It’s a food creation from two different cultures, a tasty example of east meets west.

“I guess word of mouth. We never advertised because we’re just testing it out, but it’s catching on,” Tanaka Saimin co-owner Joan Watanabe said.

It’s called the ramen burger — a hamburger patty with a bun made from fried noodles.

Joan and Paul Watanabe debuted their version of the new craze on Aug. 26.

“We don’t have ramen. Local style saimin, so we said, ‘Why don’t we call it saimin burger and give it a try?’” Paul said.

Chefs boil fresh noodles, form them into buns, which are then grilled. Chefs then add a six-ounce homemade teriyaki hamburger patty, a slice of cheese, but no lettuce.

“No lettuce. We use watercress local grown,” Paul said.

The saimin burger is selling like hotcakes.

“We try to make it a secret because we’re testing it out, but people I guess they told other people, and people are coming in and ordering it. So, it’s pretty popular,” Joan said.

The original ramen burger was the brainchild of Keizo Shimamoto, who debuted the dish at a food fair in Brooklyn last month. The idea has evolved as it’s made its away across the country.

“We’ve had saimin and hamburger combo, but I guess this guy put it together,” Paul said.

The Watanabes say they prep and sell about 80 to 100 burgers every day.

“We serve the burgers with a bowl of our saimin broth. We seen guys actually dip it like a french dip,” Paul said.

The Watanabes know business is about to boom.

“We have to be prepared,” Joan said.

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