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
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
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…
$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…
$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?…
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!…
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!
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!)