30 April 2006


Hotel Waikiki reminds us of the importance of saimin. Hamura's Saimin over on Kauai just got big-time recognition for "preserving America's culinary heritage and diversity."

So what the heck is saimin? Tell you now. Tell you how to pronounce it now now: Sye-Meen. It's noodle soup, juss like dat. But not juss like dat. Like some people say chicken soup helps you get over a cold, so saimin is comfort food.

Saimin owes its background to three ethnic groups who migrated to Hawaii: Japanese, Chinese and Filipinos. Each brought some kine noodle into the mix. Ended up with egg wheat noodles.

But that's not just any noodle soup. Special kine. It's got sliced green onions, bok choy, fish cake, BBQ pork and/or SPAM, sometimes Portuguese sausage, and seaweed. Can get it all over the place. It's the Hawaiian answer to menudo in the Southwest: good for a hangover, low morale or anything else. Some people make a wonton saimin. Some people throw in gyozas from Japan.

I almost stopped writing after I wrote SPAM. Especially SPAM and eggs at L&L. Whew. That's a breakfast. Must focus. People rely on me.

Supposedly, saimin got its start in plantation days, back when my people were working the sugar and pineapple fields. I don't know. Your friendly local Hawaiian god was too busy chowing down on laulau and lomilomi to observe the peasants at that time. Supposedly everybody chipped in what they had in their shacks, and we all ended up with this brilliant food.

I sure do appreciate putting kimchi in. Whoever invented that ought to get a day off from the pineapple fields.

By the way, you can get fried saimin too. I don't like it.

The biggest deal about saimin, my opinion, is the soup base. Gotta be just right, or else it's junk. That's the same the world over, ain't it???


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like avocado in mine.

Anonymous RONW said...

yeah, the soup makes the dish.


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