Since we were out that way a few weeks ago, the wife and I stopped by Shiro’s Saimin Haven in Aiea for a local-style lunch.
Most of the time when we go there, we have saimin (from a menu list of dozens and dozens of varieties), but this time I wanted something a little more substantial – more meaty, something that reminded me of my Hilo growing-up days, and my days as a college student in Honolulu.
I saw something on the menu that I hadn’t had in a long time: Pork cutlets with brown gravy. Actually, I did have pork cutlets at Liliha Bakery Nimitz. But that was a little fancier. I wanted the equivalent of a plate lunch.
And that’s exactly what they brought me – two huge pork cutlets deep-fried with a crunchy, crusty breading, then cut in half and smothered in gravy. Plus two scoops of rice and a lot of frozen mixed vegetables straight out of the boiling water. Ahhh, just like my mom used to make (except she made fresh veggies; I’m the one who makes it with the frozen stuff).
Sometimes, brown gravy can have a slightly funky taste to it … kind of old-tasting, if you know what I mean. Not Shiro’s. Theirs was creamy and rich and I kept mixing it in with the rice.
I took notice of the table settings. Fake roses, plus Hawaii’s favorite condiments: Shoyu, Tabasco and Chinese (actually Coleman’s) mustard. Plus the usual salt and pepper, and sugar.
Notice the table promo sign. They have Green River drink, made from Harder’s syrup. Just like we had in Hilo when I was a kid.
No wonder we go back to Shiro’s when we're out that way.
Shiro’s Saimin Haven: 98-020 Kamehameha Hwy. (808) 488-8824.