Hawaii: In Real Life ~ Tanioka’s

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Whenever you mention Tanioka’s to local people, they get crazy and start salivating like Pavlov’s dog. Never mind that they’re all the way out in Waipahu; people seek them out for their fried chicken, poke, musubis, and assorted plate lunch selections. Get this: they once had an outlet downtown on Bishop Street, and had to close in less than a year. No, not because they were slow; they couldn’t keep up with the demand for their food, and couldn’t hire more staff fast enough to meet that demand. Talk about brand loyalty.

I was overwhelmed by the line — which goes out the door during peak hours — just to get some lunch. Tanioka’s marketing manager, Casey Fujimoto (@TaniokasWaipahu) said that you can just call ahead to order your plate lunch, as long as you know what you want, and not have to worry about lines or running out of food. Brilliant! I’m doing that from now on.

Anyway, as you know, I recently went to Paris to visit my nieces, who have been backpacking through Europe for the last few months. Now, when I travel, nothing hits the spot like a spam musubi, so I thought I’d surprise them with a variety of ricey goodness from home. Tanioka’s offers a wide variety of musubis, so they are the perfect choice if you want a little smorgasbord of snacks for yourself or your group. The problem was, how was I going to get these to Paris, which would be about 20 hours of flying, without them spoiling? Here’s Casey’s recommendations, and here’s how my nieces liked them:

(I know I could have chopped about 30 seconds out of that, but this was like a video postcard to their mom.)

We did stop to eat a plate lunch with Casey, and got to talk story about Tanioka’s, what’s new and popular, and their catering operations. Visit HawaiiIRL.com to see more!

6 comments
KevinSOshiro
KevinSOshiro

A Waipahu landmark, like Highway Inn, K's Bento-Ya, Laverne's Catering and Take Out, Rocky's Coffee Shop, Leeward Drive Inn, HC Drive Inn, Kuni Japanese restaurant, Elena's or Thelma's Restaurant (Filipino, of course) - just like an old sugar mill or the famous Plantation Village.

MyongChoi
MyongChoi

Haha, I love how they're eating musubi with fork and knife. I guess cuz the rice would fall apart after nuking it?

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

Delicate Blossom:  Thanks, a neat video of the tres mademoiselles.  Generally, musubi should last if there is sufficient salt in/on the rice without refrigeration.  However, they need to be kept relatively cool.  The salt as you know, is a preservative and inhibits bacteria from making the rice slimy and moldy/mildewy.  One of my fondest memories as a young kid was watching my grandma making musubi for a family picnic, early in the morning.  Hot rice, salt, ume, nori, shoyu...and she made it so fast and all came out the same size.  I was mesmerized watching her and she enjoyed doing it.  I always thought my grandma's hands were made for shaping the triangular musubi.  BTW, she always cooked the rice in the old style pot with a fire she stoked that also heated up the furo.  For a five year old kid, this was like amazing stuff.

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

 @MyongChoi we were afraid of that, but it didn't happen. We used cutlery so they could evenly cut up the musubis and everyone could get a fair shot at them! 

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

 @Annoddah_Dave what a charming story....I tell you, nothing tastes better than homemade, old-school style. And that's amazing stuff for me, too!