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“Best noodle soup ever!”

Hamura Saimin Stand
Ranked #5 of 121 Restaurants in Lihue
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$0 - US$20
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Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Local cuisine
Dining options: After-hours, Lunch, Dinner, Takeout
Reviewed 22 June 2017

This hidden saimin stand is where the locals go. It can seat between 30 and 32 people at a time. There is usually a line to get a seat at this counter only restaurant. The counter is in a serpentine design to get more people seated and then there is a large table that people also share. The saimin noodles are the best ever. You have a choice of regular or a couple different specials. But don't leave without trying the Lilikoi pie it is like a chiffon pie made of passion fruit. It is Fabulous! If you're not into noodles stop and get a pie to go. We usually eat dinner there and get a pie to take back to our condo.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank DeeMi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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32 - 36 of 896 reviews

Reviewed 19 June 2017

If there is such a thing as Kauai's most beloved, most famous restaurant, a lot of votes would go to Hamua's Saimin Stand on Kress Street in Lihu'e. This simple, almost dumpy looking cafe has been here since 1950 and is almost universally loved, first by the locals, and as the years go by, by a steadily increasing number of tourists who have been clued in about it from other tourists or guidebooks, or reviews such as this one.

Walk in and you immediately notice the lack of ambiance. Indeed, it gives new meaning to the term, Plain Jane. It is a series of three squared off U shaped counters with a bunch of free-standing stools and can seat maybe around 30 to 35 or so. So if there are any stools available, you grab one or two and see if you can squeeze in somewhere between customers noisily slurping down their noodles and broth. But wait -- and you may have to, as in stand behind the people seated and wait for them to finish. And waiting for a stool or two to open up is often the case, as this cafe is wildly popular.

And the menu will remind you of the ultra limited one in the old Saturday Night Live sketch of "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi." with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. Plain it may be, but it does have an ultra limited menu of different sizes of bowls of saimin noodles, the Special Saimin Noodle Bowl, and Liliko'i pie. Along with water and a couple of soft drink options, that's about it. So-- it may be plain and the menu may be limited, and the service unsmiling and rushed, and you may have to wait for a seat. Golly, what is not to like about all of that? BUT -- it is all more than worth it for here you are in Saimin Bowl Heaven.

OK, you say, but what exactly are Saimin noodles? Good question. These are noodles cooked in a slightly salty broth of either chicken, pork or fish. The word itself is peculiar to only Hawaii, and local Japanese say the dish comes from China. Local Chinese say it comes from Japan. Wherever it comes from, (many locals say Heaven) it is a bowl of noodles cooked in a slightly salty broth, and then, depending on which bowl you order, the ingrediants can include fish cake, chopped ham (Spam?) pieces, dumplings, big chunks of beef or pork, green onions and a half of a hard boiled egg. Every visit to Kauai (this last one was our fourth time), we have to have at least a couple of lunches at Hamura's, and it is easy to get into conversation with your neighbor who is almost sitting shoulder to shoulder with you. And it is easy to notice that the majority of the customers here are Hawaiians, which says a lot to us. Get into a conversation with them as we have, and we found that some of them have traveled the length of the island to eat here, and on a couple of occasions, people had come from other islands on business or pleasure and whichever one it was, it had to include a stop at Hamura's.

It is a unique cafe to Kauai offering a bowl of slurpy deliciousness and you owe it to yourself to find this little eatery and settle in for a taste of authentic Hawaiian cuisine. Your eyes, taste buds and stomach will all give you a big, rousing Thank You!

2  Thank ThorneBirdGT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2017 via mobile

When we travel, we like to find the little local places where we can really experience the local people. Hamura Saimin let us do that!

The place was packed when we walked in - mostly with locals - and everyone was sitting together at long tables, with their faces buried in their bowls. A section of seats quickly opened up and we were seated. Ordering is done from the menu board, and explanation are a little sparse.

Watching the cook in the kitchen was a treat as she prepared everything. Food came out quickly and hot. I had the special and it was so full of different, complementary flavors! And we wrapped up lunch with some refreshing pie.

We all agreed that this was a fun place to experience.

Thank joewilk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2017

The two waitresses were excellent - never saw a place so busy! The food is definitely not geared towards vegetarians, but they were able to give us noodles/vegetables with a teriyaki sauce instead of their basic broth. It was okay.

Thank notpicky07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2017 via mobile

We've been coming here for almost 30 years. I was a bit disappointed in the food this time...she got my order wrong, the teriyaki sticks were very tough, but the people are so friendly and the atmosphere is like stepping back in time, it is definitely an experience not to be missed. Love the interaction with other patrons ...

Thank PrimroseLlane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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