Sunrise Restaurant

Saturday, August 18, 2007 13 No tags Permalink 0

The food at Sunrise, which happens to be the first Okinawan restaurant I’ve ever visited, was good and I’ll be back for sure, but the best part of lunch wasn’t even the food. It was the conversation Shann, Marie, and I overheard. Seated at the table next to us that afternoon were three people: a mother, her child (about 4 years old?), and the grandmother.

When the bill came, the mom rushed to pay for it, but the grandma was also quick, pulling out her pocketbook and insisting on paying for lunch. But the mom refused to let her mom do so, saying, “Mom, it’s your birthday. Don’t pay!” The grandma still tried to pay, but the mom was faster cause she was younger, and mom ended up paying in the end. You could tell the grandma was really thankful, perhaps she was thinking in her mind, “I’ve raised a good daughter.” And I hope that we all continue to take our mothers out for their birthdays when they’re older, because I think it will mean a lot to them.

Yakisoba

After the mom paid the check, the family sat there for a little longer talking and packing the leftover food in containers. The little boy was entertaining himself by playing with the little green crocs on his feet – such a cute child! And then all of a sudden he yells out to his mom, “I love YOU!” OMG. It was The Funniest I Love You of all time. He had all the emphasis on the wrong words so it sounded like he was yelling at his mom instead of telling her that he loved her. Our whole table cracked up. It was so funny. That totally made my day. The mom also laughed and looked at her son, “you love me?” she asked.

The son paused, glanced at the half eaten candy bar in his hand and said, “I love you CRUNCHY!” Bwahahahaha! The mom and grandma both started to laugh. It made no sense, he loves her crunchy?? We looked at the boy. And then at the candy bar. The mom did the same…ah-hah! The mom asked, “you mean, you like it (the candy bar) crunchy?” LOL! The boy paused. Confused. Then understanding. Ahhh. He had good intentions.

The yakisoba pictured above is different from your usual yakisoba in that this dish is made using Okinawan soba noodles, which are similar to flattened Japanese udon noodles. Read Reid’s review here for a closer look at the noodles. Not too greasy, and a good helping of spam, this was simple and satisfying.

Spareribs Soup

Sunrise is well known for their oxtail soup, but they were out that day. So instead we had the sparerib soup, which is cooked exactly like oxtail soup, and accompanied by a small dish of minced ginger. The soup was light, and savory, abundant with cilantro and four massive chunks of tender ribs. The ribs could have been cooked longer, but I’ve got no major complaints. Did I mention how friendly the service was? I felt like I was sitting in my grandma’s kitchen…or something to that extent. The interior of the restaurant is well worn, but cozy and clean at the same time.

Pork Tofu

Simmered pork, tofu and bean sprouts in a shoyu-mirin based broth, this dish called for a big bowl of hot rice, which was promptly delivered with the dish. During the busy lunch hour we only saw two people working in the restaurant, an elderly father who did all the cooking, and his son who did the front of the house work. I love local family businesses like this. Even when the food is not up to expectations (which rarely happens), you still feel really good about supporting such restaurants.

Quite content with lunch, we strolled on over to Waiola’s II next door for some shave ice. This location isn’t nearly as good as the original Waiola’s in Moillili. The girl behind the counter also seemed unhappy to be working there, never breaking the smallest smile. It never hurts to smile!

But the plus side to this location is that there is more room for seating. But our timing was a bit off as four boys took ‘our’ seats just as we walked in. “Awww man, poopy on those guys sitting in our seats,” I thought. 10 minutes later I found out that it was my cousin sitting in that seat! He’s the shirtless one on the right. Talk about small island!

I had the lilikoi and calpico shave ice, no mochi balls or ice cream this time, cause I was pretty full from lunch. It’s always hard deciding among flavors, cause there are a TON of options. For the most part, my mainstay flavors are: lychee, lilikoi, haupia, calpico, green tea, POG…and once in a big while, I’ll feel like getting a rainbow. There’s seriously nothing better than shave ice on a hot day!

Sunrise Restaurant

525 Kapahulu Ave

Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 737-4118

13 Comments
  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 30, -0001

    Hey Okihwn!I move next friday – so soon! I’ve never actually been to upstate new york, but am going to visit a friend at Cornell when I move up. I’m excited, but it’s going to be sad leaving here! :)Hey Kat!This list of yours…it is getting tooo long, you must come quick! hehe! :)

  • OkiHwn
    August 18, 2007

    Surprised that you didn’t say Sunrise is an OKINAWAN restaurant!

  • anonymous
    August 18, 2007

    yeah, that restaurant is on a side street that angles off the main street, but still visible from the main street. Not too bad kind of a location, though I’ve never been inside….until now, that is….

  • pinkiiish
    August 18, 2007

    Aww that kid sounds so cute. I want to go to Waiola’s! Heyy I think I know your cousin

  • KirkK
    August 18, 2007

    Hi Kathy – That is a cute story! BTW, my favorite little phrase was, “Not too greasy, and a good helping of spam”…you know that only locals and ex-pat locals will understand that…right?

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 18, 2007

    Hey Okihwn!Oh man, I’m so sorry – I’ll make the changes! I could have sworn I made note of that…okay, it’s fixed, hehe. Thanks for telling me! :)Hey Ron!I always thought the restaurant was closed down or something, never planned to visit until one of my mom’s coworkers mentioned in a conversation last week! :)Hey Pinkiiish!lol, my cousin’s name is Victor – know any one by that name? I swear, I never go a day without running into someone or somebody I know on this island! :)Hey Kirk!lol, my theory is that if spam is cooked right, till it gets all super crunchy, then it’s no longer greasy! Am not sure if this holds true for everyone, but I feel that the crunchier the spam, the more grease has been ‘cooked out’ lol! :)

  • OkiHwn
    August 18, 2007

    Thanks! Not that I’m partial to Sunrise, but it is a good Okinawan place. Will be visiting there when I go home for a vacation in a couple weeks.When you going to NYC? Like the city but wouldn’t want to live there. Went to college in Upstate New York and visited NYC quite often. That was enough – just to visit.

  • K & S
    August 18, 2007

    this has been on my list for awhile now. :)

  • OkiHwn
    August 19, 2007

    I went to Syracuse University. About an hour away from Cornell.My initial list when first get home includes:Makino Chaya (Aloha Tower)Fukuya OkazuyaGulick Deli (new one on King St.)Young’s Fish MarketChar Hung SutRoyal KitchenBesides the normal Zippy’s, L&L, New Eagle Cafe.

  • anonymous
    August 19, 2007

    I didn’t even know there was a second Wailoa, until last week. I need to get out more. :-(

  • Reid
    August 19, 2007

    Kathy,I love Sunrise! It’s been about 6 months since I was last there. I think I’m overdue…either that, or I need to ask my grandmother to make some sparerib soup. Ahh.

  • SicklyBug & Cassaendra
    August 19, 2007

    Hi Kathy,That write-up on Sunrise made me nostalgic for Okinawan food, which there is NONE here in Ohio. Their food is so good and reminds me of my trips to Okinawa to visit with relatives and eating so much food! I’ve never been fond of bitter melon, but I will take a bite off someone’s plate when they order the champuru at Sunrise. :) I am sad that the other two Okinawan restaurants I used to go to are now closed, but I am happy that Sunrise is around sharing with us excellent food and warmth. Ahhh, I miss the warmth of the islands (people). You made me miss shave ice. :( hehe-C

  • Kathy YL Chan
    August 20, 2007

    Hey Okihwn!mmm, you’ve got a good list going on – I’ve never been to New Eagle Cafe, but always wanted to try! NY, Okinawa and Hawaii – you’ve been everywhere, I’m exciting to visit upstate NY for the first time! Hey Mavro!What? You must know! It’s been there forever! But not as good though…you’re better off sticking to the original! :)Hey Reid!I want to go back and try the soba/sushi combo you had, that’s a real bargin for all that food! :)Hey SicklyBug & Cassaendra!ooo, I regret not trying the champuru! I never appreciate the island enough when I’m here, but the minute I go elsewhere, I immediately realize all that I take for granted…especially the friendly culture and shave ice! :)

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