Local comfort: Don't diss the power of corned beef hash

Corned beef hash fans, there is comfort at okazuyas
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I gave up meat this year, which wasn’t bad for me since my usual diet is often compared to rabbit food. However, I have a kryptonite: corned beef hash patties. The smell alone makes me weak at the knees and drool instantly. Only one other thing has this effect on me: Penn Badgley.

Corned beef hash patties were the main event at a lot of my birthday and Valentine dinners. Not one, but three ex-boyfriends made me heart-shaped corned beef hash patties. Honestly, I may have loved the meals more than the boys who made them.

So when St. Patty’s Day rolls around I feel extremely lucky because leftover corned beef gets turned into magical, meaty patties. But the days following this March 17th were a little doom-and-gloom, and more than ever, I needed my favorite comfort food to feed my soul.

It did.

A fresh batch of meaty, crispy-on-the-outside, pillowy-on-the-inside homemade hash patties served with warm white rice and a dollop of ketchup was the big hug I needed. My plate is usually licked clean within minutes, but this time I decided to savor each bite. Taking a moment to appreciate the small things is something I’m re-learning to do.

See also: Best okazuya on Oahu: Our Top 5

Now that I’m down to my last patty, I’m hoping my favorite okazuyas remain open, at least for a little while. Gulick is known for oversizing, and over-flavoring, everything. Its patties are no exception; one could feed me for two days. Fukuya’s puck-size version reminds me of how my grandma used to make it: a little more potato than meat with a perfect sear on the outside. But my ultimate favorite is Zippy’s. They forgo the can and use fresh meat, and the perfectly fatty, crispy edges are (I’m assuming) a result of time spent on a flattop grill. Hold on while I wipe my drool.

As I head into week two of self-quarantining, I’m tempted to brave the broken world and race around to all the okazuyas to start hoarding hash patties. So I called some to see if they're still open. Here's what I got, but if you go, call ahead to see if hours have been updated:

  • Nuuanu: Regular hours
  • Fukuya: Wed - Sun 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closing hours may vary), takeout and phone orders only
  • Mitsuken: Wed - Sat 7 a.m. - noon
  • Gulick: Mon - Fri 5 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Sat, 6:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Mitsuba: No answer
  • Kabuki: Wed - Mon from 5:30 a.m. - 1(ish) p.m., closed Tuesday
  • Toshi: Closed temporarily
  • Matsumoto's: Closed for renovations
  • Sekiya's: Daily 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. okazuya side; restaurant opens for takeout 4 - 6 p.m.
  • Masa & Joyce: Mon - Thu 6 a.m. - 2 p.m., Fri 6 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sat 6 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sun 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Calm down, it’s not toilet paper. But just in case my fears keep me camped on my couch and everything shuts down, I’ve got a small stock of Libby’s red cans and a bag of potatoes to give me a taste of joy. Something we all need right now.

Read the other stories in our Local Comfort series:
Wotchoo eat with your poi?
Liliha Bakery's chantilly cake
The perfect boiled peanuts
My Adoboloco hot sauce obsession