Continuing the Uchinanchu spirit from last week’s Okinawan Festival, today we decided to make a stop over in Kaneohe at Masa & Joyce Okazuya. A first for me, yet a frequent stop for my Uchinanchu friend, who’s order is shown above.
On the right side of the establishment as you enter is a glass refrigerator case with various poke, seafood and other pupu items. Head straight towards the front counter where the menu board is hanging and there under the glass case you’ll find the various trays of daily Okazuya items to pick from. This is “the gold”! All the other stuff on the menu looks ono, but we’re here today for Okazuya!
As is typical of many Okazuya shops, there aren’t any signs with descriptions or prices on each item, making it a little challenging to make your choices if you’re not a regular here. I arrived around 10:30am, thinking I’d beat the lunch hour rush. Which I thought I had done, as it was rather empty when I walked in, but before I knew it, there was a line building behind me that was already practically out the door! So I had to hurry and select items for two plates to go, which totaled $15 for both of them.
There’s also (limited) tables and seating if you prefer to dine in.
So the plate shown above was my friend’s order, and here’s my order…
So how is it?
The stir-fried Okinawan Yakisoba Noodles are a meal in itself, el dente, with generous slices of SPAM, carrots, white and green onions in it; the sum of its parts seasoned nicely in a shoyu-base that we can’t pinpoint, but works perfect. This the OTHER chow funn!
The Ahi Belly… OMG, this is like “buttah”. Being the fatty party of the tuna, this piece was super moist, very very flavorful, and gladly hardly had any bones in it. It had a light shoyu and sugar glaze on the seared exterior which gave it that signature “Okazuya style”. Highly recommended!
The Ahi Tempura has a rather thick and chewy, somewhat salty batter, which contrasted, yet complimented the tender ahi meat inside nicely. Here’s how that looks on the inside…
The Vegetable Tempura seemed to share the same thick, chewy and slightly salted batter as the Ahi version, except in this case being made up of carrots, onions, green onions and string beans.
Because of the batter, both these had character on their own, and didn’t need any kind of dipping sauce, as is usually the case with Japanese-style Tempura. Both good choices.
The Hot Dog Maki Sushi is such a no-brainer idea as far as “local food” is concerned, yet I don’t see this too often. This is a great alternative to the more familiar “Spam Musubi”. Here’s a cross section showing how it’s constructed…
Each bite: rice and hot dog, rice and hot dog, rice and hot dog. Life is complete!
That sums up my plate. My friend ordered the Teriyaki fish patty, which he gave me a sample of. OMG! That ROCKS! Order that on your next stop at Masa & Joyce. Trust me. I know I am. It’s not “fishy” at all. It taste nothing like the fish patty at Tanioka’s, which is excellent in its own right. It’s almost like hamburger-like, yet has something “Japanese” about it, and not fatty like a burger. I’d love the recipe for this.
He approved of the Nishime, which was the first time he’s ordered that from here since they didn’t have Kinpira (Gobo) today. While he says it doesn’t beat Ige’s, it was ono.
Other items included Okinawan Sweet Potato patties, various other fish items, Okinawan Long Rice, Teriyaki Fish Meatballs (same like the fishcake patty, but in different form), Aburage, Spam Sushi, Fried Tofu, and many other dishes just I can’t remember or identify.
Besides Okazuya, they also have a regular menu to order from, including a basic breakfast and soups such as Ox Tail, Ju Shi Me (Okinawan Rice Soup) and Okinawan Soba (like Saimin). There’s also plate lunches, bento lunches and Hawaiian Food, including all the favorites.
Now that I’ve sampled their Okazuya, which is on par with the best the island has to offer, next time around, I’m gonna’ go for one of the Hawaiian plates and see how M&J stacks up with Young’s Fish Market and Ono Hawaiian Food.
If you’re ever in the Kaneohe area and looking for Japanese, Okinawan, Hawaiian and overall local ‘kine grindz all in one stop, check Masa & Joyce out. Buggah stay winnahz, ono and oishii all at da’ same time! Go check ’em now go!
Masa & Joyce Okazuya
Hawaiian & Japanese Foods
Sashimi – Poke – Bento – Etc.
45-582 Kamehameha Hwy.
Tel: (808) 235-6129
Fax: (808) 235-0992
Tasty Island rating:
*Masa & Joyce Okazuya is located across Windward City Shopping Center (Foodland and First Hawaiian Bank). They’re in a small business plaza complex on the corner of Kamehameha Hwy. and Luluku Rd. (mauka side), and are also neighbors with Kin Wah Chop Suey, another popular place!…