Founding chef and top chef candidate Sheldon Simeon no longer runs the kitchen at this fashionably cool noodle bar in Lahaina, but his inspiration still determines a large part of the menu. The noodle dishes here – from pork hapa ramen and star udon to lahaina fried soup – are second to none on Maui.
286 Kupuohi St., Lahaina, Maui • (808) 667-5400 • Web site
The menu at the two locations of this Honolulu noodle bar is every ramen lover’s dream. Will it be homemade char siu pork or tender chicken schnitzel in our sesame oil-infused tan tan ramen? Pork tonkatsu or wakame algae in our Shoyu ramen? And as a side dish, homemade gyoza with pork filling or crispy chicken fact days baked with mochiko flour? Decisions decisions.
Ala Moana Center (808) 947-9188 and Ward Center (808) 591-9188, Honolulu, Oahu • Web site
Belly Bowl at Lucky Belly in Honolulu, Oahu Photo: Derek Paiva.
From Chinese restaurants to Vietnamese pho stalls, the Chinatown neighborhood in downtown Honolulu has myriad places for noodles. Lucky Belly brings modern noodle bar flair into play, matching a small but solid ramen menu – the Belly Bowl with pork belly, smoked bacon and pork sausage is our favorite – with brilliant little dishes – lamb lumpia, oxtail dumplings among the offers.
50 N. Hotel St., Honolulu, Oahu • (808) 531-7888 • Web site
From our point of view, this Waikiki noodle house works like this: Choose something from the menu. Have your companion order it. You sip a bowl of tender, sliced duck and homemade soba in a rich broth, one of our favorite pasta dishes. Win win.
255 Beach Walk, Waikiki, Oahu • (808) 926-0255
You may have read the full story about this family-run restaurant’s most famous contribution to Maui cuisine: dry mein. (The story can also be found in our 2013 Food Edition.) Head to Maui and the city of Wailuku now for the best version of this favorite Maui food you will ever have. Make sure you take manju and baked dumplings to Sam Sato’s bakery as well.
1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, Maui • (808) 244-7124
Many locals say there is no better bowl of saimin – the classic, Hawaiian-born noodle soup made from a simple shot (broth) and few side dishes – than at this sacred, humble hole-in-the-wall eatery at heart from Lihue on Kauai. Some argue that the secret lies in the clear, slightly fishy broth. Others say it’s about the thin, firm homemade noodles that are made fresh every day. We don’t argue. We just eat.
2956 Kress St., Lihue, Kauai • (808) 245-3271 • Web site