Before you ask me what Israeli food is, have a look at this menu. Da Falafel King’s sit-down restaurant is all about what owner Yanir Yosef calls “Israeli-style fast food”: spring-green falafel, roasted shawarma, garlicky fresh hummus and all the pita and side dishes that fill your table while you wait for your order to arrive. Who knew? I only found out when I popped in for a pic for We’re on it last month and tried to order takeout.
Yosef described it as a tomato-rich stew filled with chunky vegetables and finished off with eggs cracked open and cooked right in the stew.
Mmm, I said. I’ll get that to go.
Don’t you want to sit down and eat here?
I would, I said, but see how the afternoon light is fading? See how beautiful it is now? I need to go take more pictures.
Five minutes, he said. You’ll see.
And while I stood there, the table in front of me filled with six small plates of vegetable tapas, then pita wedges with various dipping sauces, then beefy fried dumplings, then finally my shakshuka, still in the pan and steaming.
That’s when I made a mental note to come back with you. All this, and BYOB, people! Even with one daily special (tonight’s was meatballs and Moroccan fish) and a sampler plate, Falafel King’s restaurant menu is bigger than those at its Waikiki Trade Center kiosk or Moiliili food truck. All the side dishes come with every dine-in entree, and if all you want are the tapas and pita, then it’s only $10.
Can you think of a better summer scenario? If you’re free next Tuesday, Aug. 21, let’s kick back, nibble through as many dishes as tempt us, and bring our own cold libations. We’ll share all plates and split the bill. Just RSVP in these comments.
Da Falafel King
Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.
2239 S. King St.
Former Diego Tacos space next to Old Stadium Park
If eats from the ancient land aren’t your thing, I have another proposition for you. Nagasaki Champon/Ringer Hut opened last month just around the corner from Falafel King’s Waikiki kiosk, in the old Menchanko-Tei space on Seaside.
Never heard of Nagasaki champon or Ringer Hut? Neither had I. But listen: There are 500 Ringer Huts in Japan, serving up the chain’s signature veggie-packed champon noodle dish, veggie- and meat-topped fried noodles, garlic-free gyoza and various izakaya-style small plates. But THE must-try item, I found out, is Ringer Hut’s tonkatsu, famous in Japan and the specialty it actually started out with in 1962.
All this is in this video, which @Photolulu was kind enough to flag for me. And even if you don’t understand Japanese, you’ll get that Ringer Hut’s champon noodles are so popular, the chain invented its own New Operating System to cook this dish — veggies, noodles and all — in under two minutes.
If you love noodles or tonkatsu, and you’re free for dinner next Thursday, Aug. 23, just sign up in the comments. Sorry, this one’s not BYOB.
Thursday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m.
Waikiki Trade Center
2255 Kuhio Ave.
Validated parking in building