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Return to St. Louis Delicatessen

Ah yes. No mistaking the wonderful array of choices on display behind the front window of your favorite local Okazuya, where we return here today at St. Louis Delicatessen.

Amongst all else, Musubi is usually my first visual allure at an Okazuya.  Case in point here where they have “Cone” Sushi, Maki Sushi and Nori Musubi ready for action…

To put into perspective how popular otherwise “obscure” places like St. Louis Delicatessen are, by the time I arrived here at around 8:30am in the morning, half of these musubi and sushi were already GONE! Wow. Imagine getting here around lunch hour where you just might be “S.O.L.”. lol

Once I’ve got my musubi choice selected, next on my radar is some salty, savory meat(s) to go along with that…

Specifically that would be fried “shoyu” hot dogs (where here they’re simply fried, then placed in a light shoyu “sauce”) and luncheon meat (not SPAM®).

Complimenting the salty meats, we have the hash patty in back, which is another starchy-meets-sometimes-savory staple at every okazuya.

Speaking of savory, here we have both shoyu chicken and fried chicken for your choosing….

Continuing on with da’ “shoyu-sweet” action, you can opt for teriyaki beef and long rice done both in that style…

Next to that, one of my favorites from “SLD” is their Nishime…

Behind that is simply what they refer to as ‘Tofu’, which I honestly have never ordered yet. Yet I will certainly in a future visit. By the looks of it, I’m guessing it’s simply fried and steeped in a dashi, shoyu and sugar based sauce.

Next to these warmer pans, there’s this warmer box of delights, including your choice of Vegetable Tempura, Potato Tempura…

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, you have what St. Louis okazuya is most famous for, their signature Chowfun!

Um, “hellerr?!”, I have my pick-up truck in the parking lot. You can drop that whole pan in the back there, thank you very much. lol

See, the beauty of St. Louis’ okazuya is the sheer simplicity of their menu…

You’re not going to find any complex preparations or myriad blend of herbs and spices in any of their dishes. Just simple, back-to-basics comfort food that’s done well, done right, with barely any questions to ask.

Oh, like say for instance Diner A’s choice on this visit of bento ‘B’…

Diner A’s SLD Okazuya ‘Bento B’ Plate: (clockwise from top left) Cone Sushi, Plain Rice Musubi, Potato Tempura, Shrimp Tempura, Luncheon Meat, Fried Chicken and Chow Fun. $7.50.

Folks, in this day and age, $7.50 for all that is a STEAL in the world of Okazuya, or any plate lunch for that matter. A steal of a deal.

Then we’ve got Diner E’s customized okazuya selections…

Diner E’s SLD Okazuya Custom Plate: (clockwise from top left) Fried Chicken, Shoyu Chicken, Nishime, Long Rice, Cone Sushi (plus Vegetable Tempura shown next) and Chow Fun. $6.75

He was kinda’ freaked out at first, thinking “mama san” forgot it, then we realized after checking that in a separate package there was his order of vegetable tempura…

Brah, no make! If dey ‘wen fo’get da’ tempura, I would have been all sick! (Dude…….. DUDE! If they forgot the tempura, that would suck!) lol

Finally my plate, which was also a custom order…

Diner P’s SLD Okazuya Custom Plate: (clockwise from top left) Kombu (marinaded seaweed), Nori Musubi, Hot Dog, Nishime, Vegetable Tempura, Hash Patty and Chow Fun. $8.25

All that’s missing in this equation is THE BEACH! Yes, them negative ions play a big part in making comfort food like these here Okazuya plates go from just that to AWESOME. Well, we have work to do, so we’ll save the beach for the weekend, never-the-less, we’ll still enjoy da’ grindz!

Starting off, I love-ee-love-love their Nishime, which is sort of a Japanese “stew” if you will…

A simple medley of huge chunks of daikon, sliced carrots and Kombu steeped in a broth of dashi, shoyu and mirin. Good stuff.

Diner E’s St. Louis favorite (besides the Chowfun) is their Long Rice…

This one is flavored similar to the Nishime. Then you have that MASSIVE stuffed Aburage Cone Sushi…

Personally I’m not an Inari (cone sushi) fan, mainly because of the strong taste of sushi-su (seasoning) flavoring the rice. I’ll stick with the basic Omusubi simply seasoned with salt and an Ume in it, thank you very much. For sushi, Maguro Nigiri Sushi with just a dab of Wasabi between the ahi and the rice, thank you very much.

Moving on, there’s the Shoyu Chicken, which Diner E said had a great-tasting sauce, while being very moist and tender inside…

While we’re on Chicken, Diner A shows off a bite of his also moist and tender piece of fried chicken from SLD…

I think I’ll blow this photo up to a 4 feet x 8 feet wide wall mural and hang it up in front of my treadmill. lol

Then you have the Vegetable Tempura and Hash Patty…

Notably it’s interesting on the part of the Vegetable Tempura, as the batter almost has the texture of Okinawan Andagi. Which makes sense, as like most Okazuya, SLD is owned by a Higa family, who are Okinawan (like Diner E), or “Uchinanchu”.

Even more Andagi-like is the Potato Tempura…

Seriously, their Potato Tempura tastes essentially like an Andagi filled with tender slices of sweet potato in it. Simple as that. Yet really ono! On that note, Leonard’s Bakery should try making sweet potato Malasadas. I bet it would work! Also, the Okinawan Festival should try selling Sweet Potato Andagi. Sounds GOOOOOOOD eh?

Finally there’s SLD’s most beloved dish, their Chowfun noodles…

No bells ‘n whistles, save for a little grated carrots here, green bean there. Barely any seasoning at all, with what only tastes like salt and perhaps just a dab of shoyu and/or oyster sauce, yet none of us are even sure what the heck they flavor it with. It’s just simple to da’ max’ and really, really good! This is da’ kine Chowfun that if you were surfing in the morning, then came to SLD around 11am for a fix on it, you’d be in major refueling BLISS and ready to go back and rip more. Ya’ know?

Along with the simple-yet-ono grindz, what I admire at SLD is how friendly the folks are there. Like Linda Hatori, who served me on this day yesterday…

Super nice lady, who I joked with about calling the Nishime “Namasu”, which she said lots of folks mistakenly call the dish. lol

If you didn’t know what or who they were, you’d just assume St. Louis Delicatessen was merely the service entrance for St. Louis Drive In next door, as to today, there’s no prominent sign in front of their shop…

Only store hours, the menu and “We’re OPEN”.

But NO! Don’t make that mistake! SLD is an entirely different kind of eatery and as hole-in-the-wall, ULTIMATE HIDDEN GEM as it can get in the city of Honolulu.

The prices are great, service is friendly, hours are typical of an Okazuya (open 7am to 1pm; or until food runs out), and most of all the grindz are really OISHII!

This blog has lots of readers who are past or future visitors to the islands. If you plan on visiting, I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you put a Honolulu Okazuya on your dining to-do list while on your next stay on Oahu. St. Louis Delicatessen is only about a 10 to 15 minute drive from Waikiki. Go here and get your plates, then head to Diamond Head or Kahala Beach which also just about 10-15 minutes drive down the street, take your food and sit on the beach while overlooking the ocean (and taking in the negative ions) and ENJOY. I promise you’ll have one of the most unique and delicious “like the locals eat” experiences you could ever have by doing that.

St. Louis Delicatessen
3147 Waialae avenue (Kaimuki)
Tel. 732-0955
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 7am – 1:30pm (closed Sundays and Mondays)

Menu (<—download PDF; 1 page; current as of 2/10)

The Tasty Island Rating:

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

Related links
Okazuya “Chowfundamentals” at St. Louis Delicatessen – The Tasty Island
St. Louis Delicatessen – Yelp user reviews

P.S. Just want to send out a condolence to the Fasi ohana. God Bless.

Courtesy of The Honolulu Advertiser

11 thoughts on “Return to St. Louis Delicatessen

  • February 6, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Your menu link is wrong.

  • February 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Hugh, oops. Fixed it. Try now.

  • February 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    The long rice is a heap of glistening yumminess! It’s okazuya-porn! I love it.

  • February 7, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Wow…. I wonder how many times I’ve been to the Drive-In, never noticing that St. Louis Deli was right there! Now that’s a hole-in-the-wall…
    Thanks for the heads up, Pomai.

  • February 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Okazuya is one of biggest things I miss about home. I remember in High School, I would hit 3 different places sometimes to get my favorites from each place. I think the original Gulicks has always been one of my fav places.

  • February 7, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Not what I was expecting at all with the “delicatessen” in the name, but I should’ve known! It’s Hawaii! :P Looks delicious as always.

  • February 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Marie, other okazuya shops here that go by that designation include Mitsuba, Gulick, George’s and Toshi’s Delicatessen.

    Mitcho, Gulick now has a second location on King street. They’re pretty expensive now, though. Same for Fukuya. Good, but pricey. Can’t beat St. Louis’ prices.

    Marcus, yup, only those “in the know” are aware there’s another shop sharing space with St. Louis Drive In. I suppose the owners feel they do enough business where they’ve never found a need to put up a SIGN! If there was a sign, shoots, they’d probably sell out all the food before 10am!

    hapabento, well said. lol

  • February 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    wow, that looks amazing. One thing I really liked in Hawaii which mainlanders unfortunately don’t eat are shoyu chicken. Why why why…?? :( Your photos make my mouth water!

  • March 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Try the Fried Chicken dipped in the Teri sauce


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