Great Debate: Curly vs. flat saimin noodles

Share Button

It’s not breaking news: people in Hawaii love their noodle dishes.

And we’re not afraid to debate them, either.

Case in point: Nonstop’s Mari Taketa (@nonstopmari) sparked a spirited online debate with her blog about saimin — and how much she doesn’t like it.

Ask anyone from the Islands and they’re tell you where to get the best saimin, ramen, oxtail soup, pad Thai, pho, chow mein. You name a noodle dish, and local folks will have something to say.

Even when it comes down to the noodles themselves.

I was talking with Rainbow Drive-In owner Jim Gusukuma the other day and he mentioned that he switched the saimin noodles he had been serving from flat to curly noodles.

“It makes a difference,” he said, smiling.

Is that true? Do noodles make that much of a difference? And are saimin noodles — slightly thicker than fine Chinese egg noodles and ideally a bit chewy — really better curly?

10 comments
M
M

Hello Cat, just give me a bowl or plate of any kind of noodles and I'll clean it up

DianeSeo
DianeSeo

Curly saimin is my pick. I'm a non-udon eater, and I don't like somen or soba either. Saimin and ramen all the way.

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

CAT: I am curly fan. This post reminds me of your annual contest for best saimin/ramen joint.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

if it's a 'regular' noodle, curlycurlycurly! they hold the soup better and cool down a little faster bc they don't stick together. but the best saimin noodles i've had are from shige's in wahiawa and nakai saimin on nuuanu, both straight, hailing from same saimin family and making noodles from scratch on premises. i don't like saimin, but i respect their noodles.

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

anything that makes a noodle different is good. curly, fat, wide, green, monogrammed. my vote for saimin is curly. my vote for ramen is Nakamura. my vote for best noodle of all is udon.

guest
guest

@nonstopmari Saimin is a humble plantation dish for poor people not some high falootin pho or ramen that costs an arm and a leg. If you want real saimin get a bag of 20 cents S&S and cook it up too soft and then drown it in shoyu and pepper.

townieUHfan
townieUHfan

@nonstopmari I heard so much about Nakai's I stopped in one weekend. Boy were we disappointed. Can't say the noodles did much of anything for me. And our family loves saimin/ramen.

Cat
Cat

You like udon? I know folks who don't... I prefer udon myself, too. :)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@guest @townieUHfan one thing i've noticed is that ppl can get passionate abt their saimin faves. some swear by shiro's, some by nakai's, some by their own homemade versions w/ fresh noodles and broths made from roasted bone stock. it's a personal thing. :)

btw s&s costs 20 cents??

townieUHfan
townieUHfan

@nonstopmari @guest @townieUHfan Personally, I like Old Saimin House for saimin and Taiyo for ramen. And ONLY Mapo Tofu ramen med-spicy (never mild) with the kimchee and 4 pieces of gyoza. It's a package deal that cannot be broken. I have suggested it to others and they come back and say the ramen was junk... then I find out they ordered salt ramen or something. Not what I sent you there for... As a package, it can't be beat.