Time for Zip Min

Zippy’s Zip Min – A signature favorite! Special menu recipe with noodles, wun tun, breaded shrimp, choi sum, fish cake, dried seaweed, egg, sweet pork and green onion. $8.25

Lucky we live Hawaii. Epecially during the winter season where, when much of the mainland continues to suffer epic arctic blasts, our temperatures rarely goes below 60 degrees at night, if even near that. The average daytime temperature in Honolulu in the last few days has been around 80 degrees, with nothing but clear and sunny blue skies. Just beautiful.

Not that we don’t have a few chilly days and nights every now and then, or at least it seems so to many of us islanders who aren’t acclimated to anything even below 70. Oh, that’s sooooo cold! lol

When them chilly winter Hawaiian days and nights do come around, it’s always a good time for good ‘n hot comfort food.  Which for me, soup is the first thing that comes to mind. Specifically New England Clam Chowder, Jook, Portuguese Bean Soup, Miso Soup, Ramen or Saimin — all of which are my personal favorites.

On this “chilly” occasion, it was time for another Zippy’s classic, the Zip Min, which is essentially a hybrid of wonton soup and saimin.

Here’s how it arrives at the table…

Diggin’ the stainless steel bowl with handles and handy-dandy integrated condiment keeper on the lid. Notice it comes with a dish of hot mustard on the side, which you add shoyu and use to dip the wun tuns (wontons) and other goodies in.

Zippy’s Zip Min – A signature favorite! Special menu recipe with noodles, wun tun, breaded shrimp, choi sum, fish cake, dried seaweed, egg, sweet pork and green onion. $8.25

Well, not much more to say, but “Hai, itadakimasu (let’s eat)!!!”…

Plenty of perfectly al dente saimin noodles lay within the minefield of wontons in the broth. Speaking of which, their saimin broth is EXCELLENT. It’s not just plain ole dashi and water, but has a more complex flavor to it, like they make a stock with shellfish.

Now let’s sample the wun tun (wonton)…

Just like the noodles, the wontons are perfectly al dente, not soggy, with a small ball of finely-ground pork and green onions within it. Dip ‘one in da’ hot mustard and shoyu sauce…

Oh yes, that’s money.  The sauce really kicks it up a notch. I watch too much Food Network. lol

Note, the Zip Min is only available in the dine-in restaurant and not available at the takeout counter, where you can get the scaled-down (and cheaper) version called Wun Tun Min. What sets the two apart is that the “saimin-on-‘roids” Zip Min also includes eggs, Choi Sum, Nori and a generously-sized Shrimp Tempura. Let’s try dip that bad boy in the shoyu mustard sauce…

Yumm-oh. lol Seriously, I think I like the hot mustard shoyu sauce better than regular tempura sauce. Of course the saimin broth softened the crispy batter, yet that soggy texture is actually rather pleasant in this case. They should make a ‘Zip Min Deluxe’ with more shrimp tempura in/on it. I’d definitely opt for that model.

Also including Charsiu, Choi Sum, sliced egg omelet, kamaboko (fish cake) and green onions, the Zip Min makes for a complete meal in a bowl. It was also very filling, where I could barely finish the last wonton in it.

Summing it up, I give Zippy’s classic Zip Min an, as Duff Goldman would say, “Awesome” 4 SPAM Musubi seal of approval.

Earlier I mentioned Zip Min’s smaller brother, Wun Tun Min, who hangs out on the menu at the takeout counter…

Zippy’s Wun Tun Min. $5.45

Here I transferred it into a regular bowl…

While not quite as colorful and pretty as the Zip Min, as it’s missing the shrimp tempura, choi sum and sliced eggs, it’s almost equally satisfying. It uses the same excellent saimin broth as the one in the restaurant, and the same wontons.Here I took one apart to see what’s in it…

I think it’s pork, though it could be a mixture of chicken and/or turkey too. Not sure, as I forgot to ask. It also has finely-minced green onion in it.

Overall I give Zippy’s takeout Wun Tun Min a very tasty and satisfying 4-SPAM Musubi.

On this takeout round, Diner A went with his regular Zippy’s favorite, the Teriyaki Hamburger Steak plate…

Zippy’s  Teriyaki Hamburger Steak. $7.65

“The cut”…

Diner A points out that the Nimitz Zippy’s doesn’t put the flavor-enhancing cross-hatched seared grill marks on their meats like they do at the Waiau location. However, all Zippy’s use the same onolicious Teriyaki sauce, so da’ buggah still stay winnahz.

My next chilly Hawaiian winter night Zippy’s fix will be a bowl of their also-excellent Portuguese Bean Soup. Looking forward to it!

Before I sign off, just wanna’ point out that I’m not the only Hawaii food blogger enjoying Zippy’s a whole lot lately, a place us Oahu folks often take for granted.

Turns out “HWN Pake” Nate, who recently moved back home from a long stint in Okinawa, has also been getting his share of Zippy’s Grindz. Check out his post on their Beef Stew here, the Portuguese Sausage Omelet Sausage here, Saimin here, and Beef Tomato, Meat Loaf and Tripe Stew plates here. That tripe stew plate looks especially ono!


13 thoughts on “Time for Zip Min

  1. I’ve got a pot of oden cooking on the stove right now and I have to agree this is good weather for hot, nourishing soups! That Zip Min looks crazy good; believe it or not I’ve never tried it, but I enthusiastically will now. (And speaking of hamburger steak, I just had the ground steak at Anna Miller’s yesterday and it was mind bogglingly (probably not a real word) delicious. I added sauteed mushrooms to it and the gravy was soooo good.)

  2. Pomai, the Sip Min I would give 4 musubis. It was not bad at all.They should not go to far to change their fast food image. As for oden in China and Taiwan 7-11 have it. Most popular food for take out.

  3. Zip Min rocks! I can’t remember how many times the whole band found our way to Zippy’s after gigs on Oahu…. an 9 times out of 10, it’s Zip Min for me. Just perfect, late at night.

    Thankfully we now have Zippy’s here on Maui!

  4. Pomai, the Zip Min I share with my friend it was big. I like the container they for it . Lately the cold front in San Francisco was freezing. 30 degree at one point that day. Headed to San Francisco Chinatown for hot bowl of Sampan Jook with lot of seafood in it and dim sums.

  5. Amy, 30 degrees in San Fran’? Whoah! I like the sound of “Sampan” Jook.
    Marcus, oh you live on Maui now. When I passed by the Zippy’s in Kahului, it looked dead (empty lot). I heard the Zippy’s up there isn’t/wasn’t doing so good. How’s the place look when you go there?
    Kimo, wow that’d be something (I think) to get Oden at 7-Eleven.
    Molly, I think sauteed mushrooms should go with hamburger steak by default. That, plus the sauteed onions is one gauranz winnahz combo! Diner A’s had mostly favorable impressions of the food at Ana Millers, which they go to quite often.
    But yeah, if you haven’t tried Zippy’s Zip Min yet, make it a point on your next stop (as their punch line goes). It’s certainly one of the best and most unique dishes on their restaurant menu, and a bargain at just $8.25. Guaranteed to satisfy.

  6. Yeah Pomai, I’ve actually lived here 25 years. I get over there for shows once in awhile. We waited a long time for Zippy’s over here. It’s probably not as busy as they would like…. but they still get a crowd sometimes.

  7. Pomai, some things in life are “timeless” and one of them is Zip Min from Zippy’s . I can’t remember when I first had it, but, it’s the same good quality experience over and over and over again. You just know that before you even swirl your soy and mustard mix in it’s small saucer, that, the Zip Min sensation is going to be great. Mahalo plenty Pomai!

  8. oh man this post has my mouth WATERING!!! I was on Kauai just a few days ago and missed my opportunity to get some saimin! Although, my mom told me that Hamura’s on Kauai has really gone downhill, the zip min sounds ono though! Too bad there isn’t a zippys on kauai anymore. Now i am back in Montana freezing my booty off! Its warm today though, just about 35 as the high… last couple of weeks its been in the negative 20s!!!

  9. Chiemi, I too wasn’t really impressed with Hamura’s. I think because they’re really the only game in town is why they get the hype. Still, I totally respect mom ‘n pop places like that, and really dig the old school family style vibe while eating there. I hope they preserve it, while making sure the saimin lives up to the reputation.
    As it stands, I think Zippy’s just might win the “Best Saimin in Hawaii” award with their Zip Min. It’s that good. The broth rocks. The noodles rock. The garnishes rock. It totally rocks. Best of all, you can get the same exact thing no matter where you are on the island. That ROCKS!
    Whoah, Montana in the negative 20’s? Crazy! Time for a trip to Hawaii for a warm and sunny foodie quest!
    Nate, which Zippy’s are you frequenting? You didn’t specify that in your write-ups. Or did you?
    Paki, indeed a timeless classic. I like your description about the swirling of the mustard and shoyu sauce. Almost makes it sound like a time to reflect the meaning of life. lol
    Marcus, well, I guess when we passed by it was during the work week at odd hours, which probably explains why it was slow. I imagine it picks up at night and on the weekends. What do you think about Tasty Crust?

  10. Kahala…went after work today. Had the teri pork special for the day…thin slices, grilled perfectly, then covered with their teri sauce. Same sauce used for their regular teri beef. Really good…think Zippy’s should bottle it!

  11. Tasty Crust? Boy, it’s been many, MANY years. The pancakes are really pretty nice, as I recall. I’m just glad it’s still there… but I don’t get over to Wailuku very often these days.

  12. Love the Zip Min! Whenever I’m back on Oahu visiting family I have to go to a Zippy’s restaurant to have a bowl of it. Talk about pure comfort food. I think the won tons are a bit anemic (would be nice to have a little shrimp in them) but still delish. It’s such an awesome combination of goodies in one bowl. And yes, I always have to have the hot mustard on the side.

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