This past week my girlfriend took a trip back to Maui to take care of some business. While there, one of the places she had lunch with her friends at was Sam Sato’s in Wailuku.
She noted how popular (crowded) this place is, to which they had to wait in line for about a half-hour just to get a table.
Sam Sato’s signature item is their Dry Noodles, or as the regulars call it, “Dry Mein”, which perhaps could also be spelled “Draimin”.
Made by the Iwamoto Noodle Factory in Pa’ia , these “dry” noodles were explained to me as being thicker than typical saimin noodles, and a bit firmer and more chewy. They’re cooked al dente and served as stated, meaning they’re not immersed in a broth. It’s topped with the usual Saimin style charsiu, bean sprouts and green onion garnishes.
A small bowl of hot dashi broth is served along side the noodles, which the diner uses to drizzle (not pour the whole thing) on the noodles for added flavor and moisture. Of course you could do that too, or not use the broth at all. Up to you.
She said the noodles alone (with or without the toppings or broth) are super ono and worth the visit (and wait to get in) to Sam Sato’s. A must-order dish when coming here.
If dry isn’t your thing, order the Saimin…
Ooh, that looks ono too!
Looking at the menu, there’s also wonton mein and chow fun to round out all the local style noodle favorites.
If a savory entree with rice is more on your mind, this Hamburger Steak plate looks like a winnah…
Then there’s the Chopped Steak…
And finally on the table on this visit was the Mahimahi plate…
All the plate lunches come with the protocol two scoops rice (white only) and your choice of tossed or mac’ salad.
Looking at the prices, it’s no wonder this place packs a crowd. Especially with the cost of living in Maui. My girlfriend went shopping at Star Market in Lahaina, where she said (at current retail/sale price) a gallon of milk was $8, a can of SPAM $3.50, bottle of Furikake $6, package of Nori $3, loaf of basic white sandwich bread $4 and a 20 lb. bag of Hinode rice $15.99. Ouch! It’s probably cheaper to eat at Sam Sato’s than to buy groceries and cook your own meal.
Back to Sam Sato’s, here’s the lunch menu…
There’s also a breakfast menu not shown here. Sam Sato’s is also know for their crispy Manju and peach, apple, coconut and pineapple turnovers. I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m up there looking for Omiyage to bring back to Oahu.
Here’s how the building (located in Wailuku) looks…
Soon-to-be Sam Sato diners await their turn for a table…
That window counter near that gentleman in green to the left of the gray entrance door is where you leave your name to be called for a table. Don’t forget to sign in or you’ll be waiting all day!
Slurping up oodles of noodles is likely a common site among diners at Sam Sato’s…
So next time you visit Maui and are craving some local style noodles or a good plate lunch, Get in line then get in on it at Sam Sato’s.
Sam Sato’s, Inc.
1750 Wili Pa Loop
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
(island of Maui)
Manju pick-up: 7am-4pm