Aiea Eats: Marujyu Market

Marujyu Market – 3-choice plate: Pulehu Steak, Kalua Pig and Kombu Maki

Marujyu Market moved recently from their former location in Waimalu Shopping Center (that location now a Korean market called Waimalu Market) not far away to Newtown Business Park on Moanalua Road, across the street from Waimalu Elementary School.

At this new location they’ve done away with grocery retailing and are now focused entirely on take-out grinds and catering.

Well, let’s take a look at the place…

As you see by Marujyu Market’s logo, fresh seafood is one of their specialties – or more specifically Poke – and lots of it!

Upon walking in, I couldn’t help but notice the cart to the left of the entrance stacked with sacks of raw peanuts…

With that, I take it they do good business selling boiled peanuts…

While I haven’t tried them (yet), Diner E is a regular at Marujyu, to which he gives a thumbs-up to their boiled peanuts.

The right of the shop is a refrigerator display case with all the heavenly delights needed to make a great pupu spread…

Dry Ahi and Dry Aku

Ahi Block, Pipikaula, Pulehu Tako (Octopus), Hot Shoyu Ahi Poke, Shoyu Ahi Poke and (previously frozen) Limu Ahi Poke

Limu Kohu Ahi Poke, Ohana Special Poke, Wasabi Ahi Poke, Hot Shoyu Ahi Poke, Shoyu Ahi Poke and Limu Ahi Poke

Spicy Ahi Poke, Raw Squid Poke, Plain Ahi (not quite poke yet), Salmon Poke, Kimchee Mussel Poke and Kim Chee Shrimp Poke

Limu Tako Poke, Marujyu Special Tako Poke, Plain Tako Poke, ???, Korean Tako Poke and Kim Chee Tako Poke

I’d like to arrange to have one of these fresh poke and pupu refrigerator display cases parked in the center of my living room, along with a mystical, magical menehune who keeps it perpetually stocked. It would match my Bravia HDTV really well, and would make watching our Finding Nemo and Shark Tale Blu-Ray movies that much more of an entertaining, interactive experience. lol

If a hot meal is more on your mind, there’s the service counter at the center with all the selections in steam pans ready for your choosing…

The selections and prices are clearly marked on that display board on the wall…

Notice one of the daily specials on this visit was “Kombo Maki”, which I believe is the Okinawan way of pronouncing it (vs. Japanese “Konbu Maki”). Whatever the case, that’s the good stuff right there!…

Kombo Maki and Pulehu Steak

Meatloaf and Kalua Pig

Front to back – (I think that’s) Pinakbet, Pork Adobo and Squid Luau

Front to back – Pasteles, brown gravy for the meatloaf???, Gandules Rice

The rest of the menu items come from the back.

Diner A decided to try their Pork Adobo and Fried Chicken (2-choice combo) plate…

Marujyu Market – 2-choice combination plate: Pork Adobo and Fried Chicken Thigh, $5.95

$5.95 is a really good price in today’s market for a 2-choice plate lunch. As you see, the portions aren’t skimpy either.

Here again from that first photo is Diner E’s Marujyu grindz of the day…

Marujyu Market – 3-choice plate: Pulehu Steak, Kalua Pig and Kombu Maki, $6.95

$6.95 for all that? What a deal! There’s not two, not three, not four, but FIVE Kombo Maki included here. That alone is worth the price of admission here!

How many places do you know that serves Pasteles and Kombo Maki under one roof?…

Marujyu Market – 2-choice combination plate: Pasteles and Kombu Maki, $5.95

Eating doesn’t get anymore international than this, folks. Each originating from practically opposite ends of the globe. I actually got the Pasteles just out of curiousity how theirs tastes; not necessarily because I felt it would make a good match with the Kombo Maki. That said, I split it in thirds give Diner E and A a try.

And how is their Pasteles? Excellent! I especially like it that they serve it still tied-up in the Ti Leaf and Banana leaf wrapper. While after unwrapping it, a pastele might not LOOK appetizing (perhaps even gross-looking), believe me, this here Pastele from Marujyu sure is ono!…

Marujyu Market – Pastele (unwrapped), $2.50 each

The masa has a nice, moist texture and flavorful to it, pork tender, and the achiote seasoning is spot-on authentic.

While it’s on the smaller side as far as Pasteles go, it’s priced accordingly, where as say Alicia’s are a little bigger, but are $3.99 each, while the Pastele Shop’s (in Kalihi) are $3.25 each.

Keep in mind, the Pastele is charged an ala carte price, so say you wanted Gandules rice and Pastele (the usual combo), you’ll pay the $5.25 1-choice price, plus $2.50 for the pastele, making that $7.75 for the “Puerto Rican combo”.

Hopping back on Tasty Island’s private jet, now we’re off for a virtual flight halfway across the globe to Japan for a taste of this Kombo Maki (that spelling still throws me off). These here from Marujyu are each quite large; enough that, along with the 1/3rd of the Pastele, I wasn’t able to to finish all five of them in one sitting. They’re made just as you would expect, with the thick Nishime Konbu wrapped around strips of pork and gobo, held together with Kannpyo (the “twine” on the outside), simmered in a savory, slightly sweet dashi-based broth.

Inside you see the gobo (light tan thing) on the left, and strip of pork on the right..

Marujyu Market – Kombo Maki

While the Maki Kombo and Pastele near-perfect, the mac salad was on the strange side. It tasted like their was vinegar or something acidic in it. Just not our type. We like ours creamy, neutral, and simple.

With the mac being the only so-so item (in our opinion), the entrees on my plate were great enough to override that, awarding it an overall solid 4-SPAM Musubi rating.

Diner A didn’t really care for the seasoning of the broth of the Pork Adobo, noting it was too mild (not enough shoyu and/or vinegar) and didn’t taste like it was simmered long enough. I tasted some and it was OK. Between his opinion and mine, we’ll give it 1 SPAM Musubi (average). As for the fried chicken thigh, he gave a thumbs-up on the simple-yet-effective seasoning and breading, also noting it being still moist and tender inside (not dried out), but would have preferred it piping hot straight out of the fryer. Don’t we all. With that, he gives his Adobo and Fried Chicken plate 1 SPAM Musubi.

Finally we come to Diner E’s Pulehu Steak, Kombo Maki and Kalua Pig plate. This was one of the best Kalua Pigs I’ve ever had that’s come out of a take-out plate lunch joint. You can tell when they roast theirs, they use Ti Leaves and plenty of liquid smoke. Excellent Kalua Pig here. I already explained the Kombo Maki from my plate, while also on here is the Pulehu Steak. He actually wanted the Turkey Tails, but they were sold out when I arrived at 1:30pm, long after the noon lunch hour rush. While I forgot to ask, just looking at the cut shown in the steam pan, it looks like tri-tip. The doneness was great, still being medium-rare, and fairly tender, but it didn’t really taste like it was char-grilled, but more like it had been broiled in an oven. Also, it could have used a little more seasoning such as Hawaiian salt and/or pepper. All items considered here, Diner E gives his plate 3 SPAM Musubi.

The hits here far outweigh the misses, and our selections on this day is obviously just a nip in the bud of what Marujyu has to offer. If you’re a Marujyu Market regular, leave a comment and let us know your favorite dish and recommendations.

Big mahalo to Brenda, one of Marujyu Market’s owners, for letting me take photos. Arigato!

Marujyu Market
98-820 Moanalua Road (in the Newtown Business Park)
Aiea, Hawaii, 96701

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)


11 thoughts on “Aiea Eats: Marujyu Market

  1. I remember when they used to be in the Waimalu Shopping Center, my parents used to buy their pickled mango! YUM! Not in strips but whole chunks. Like they sliced off each side from the mango seed and went to marinating and my fingers stained red. No more pickled mango for them huh? Now you got me wanting to try their kalua pig. I have yet t try a good kalua pig!

  2. Looks good. I love this kind of place with such a variety of different cuisines. All the poke looks good too. Only in Hawaii!!

  3. Wow, Kim chee shrimp poke sound and look so good. Never had shrimp poke boy when I back in Hawaii I will go there. I still working in getting these Hawaiian Drive inns in California to add teri burgers on their menu. They serve regular burger which kind of stupid due to they serve island style food. You might say they Don’t Get It!

  4. I LOVE your blog because I can look at the foods I grew up eating as a kid before moving to the mainland many years ago!! You just can’t get anything like all of this anywhere else ~ sigh.
    Pictures are better than nothing, and there’s always my mom’s kitchen, but still not the same like over there. I miss everything so much…the best kimchee, zippys, fresh seaweed salad , manapua, huli huli chicken off the side of the road, even the saimin at the stadium!!!
    Anyhowz, I was wondering what you think is the best li hing mui is now. I grew up w/Yick Lung and now I order from Ala Moana’s Crack Seed Center because it’s easy. But a few years back my auntie sent me some really really good stuff and I can’t remember the brand, neither can she!! I always crave it! What do you think?

  5. My late grandmom use to work for Mr. Kam of University Ave branch of Crackseed Center and my aunt at Liliha Sq one in the 70. Mr. Kam use mix his seeds from own recipes he learn from China. I like poke but must try shrimp kim chee one.

    Hardly go to Waimalu so will ask friends to go with me.

  6. Eh, the macaroni salad tasted acidic? You sure the buggah wasn’t spoiled? That’s how might taste if was sitting outside lil’ bit too long. I hope you neva get sick!

    That adobo no look right, probably not enough shoyu. When my mom make em’ she make em’ right (I guess cause we Filipino). She take the pork butt and she cook em slow half the day in her special pot. Then she add the shoyu, vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, and lil’ bit water and let it boil some more until the pork soak up all the liquid. That takes another hour or so. Then right before we eat the adobo, she turn the heat up medium-high and create one crust with the pork adobo pieces on the bottom, they get nice and crispy. Das da best part the bottom! I swear her adobo so ono, come out looking and tasting like was cooked all day (almost is). Tender, golden dark brown, and at the point where it’s almost falling apart but not quite. No even get me started on the chunks of fat she put inside…after cooking, so ono! My adobo no can compare to mom’s…must be the pot she cook em’ in…ha ha!

    But everything else look pretty ono, especially that kombo maki. They give choke on the 3 choice plate! The kalua pig look winnahs too.

  7. Pomai, Check on all kind of chex snack recipe. I had someone use a kim chee mix to a korean chex snack and a taco chex snack too. I to try a teriyaki one soon and char siu also.

  8. Michale, while I appreciate it, I’m not particularly a Chex Mix fan, so you’re talking to the wrong person on that. On the other hand, eating chex the way it was intended as a cereal with milk is great! Just don’t ask me to pour Li Hing powder or teriyaki sauce in my cereal bowl. lol

    C, nah the Mac Salad at Marujyu wasn’t spoiled. Believe me, we know from experience the difference between spoiled mac and mac with, say, vinegar or lemon in it. Your mom’s adobo sounds like a winnah! Tip: the next time you make chicken or pork adobo, try adding a pinch of Paprika in it. I tell you, that’s the secret right there! Guaranz! Fo’ realz… add little bit Paprika in your adobo pot next time. Guaranz Masarap!

    Amy, I was not aware Crack Seed Center had a location on University avenue. I always thought they only had one location in Ala Moana Center, and have been there for a very long time! Then again, I didn’t grow up in town.

    DeeDee, glad you like it here. As for “the best Li Hing Mui”, I have yet to conduct a Tasty Island shootout on the subject! Great idea. Thanks for the tip! I do know personally, I prefer my Li Hing Mui seed slightly moist (not hard and dry) and more on the sweet side. Not too tart or salty.

    Betty, I agree, that Kim Chee shrimp poke does sound good! It’s tough taking notice to those “little things” when you’re busy taking photos and talking with the owner, but now that I know it’s there, I’ll have to go back and sample some! Now, you’re saying these “Hawaiian Drive-Inns” in Cali’ don’t serve Teri burgers? The nerve! In light of that thought, how about when they call a Teriyaki Burger with a Pineapple on it a “Hawaiian Burger”? He he.

    Alan, yeah, the variety and ethnic diversity offered at Marujyu Market is fantastic. Just like Alicia’s Market.

    Nate, hope you enjoyed your visit back home. Surely this one was a reflective time for you and the ohana. I gotta’ catch up with you at your blog.

    Dina, I’m sure they had (keyword: HAD) their onolicious Pickled Mango, but keep in mind, this is long after Mango season ended, and they must have sold out long time ago. But yeah, the Kalua Pig here was a winnah. Can’t go wrong with that choice.

    Robyn, we all do the same thing: drive by places in the neighborhood on a daily basis, always wondering about it, yet never go in. If you do drop in to Marujyu, get back on us on what your thoughts were!

  9. All the different kinds of food look sooo yummy! The kombo maki came out as my favorite, followed by the adobo! Thanks for that feast for the eyes 🙂

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