SHIROKIYA JAPAN VILLAGE WALK
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. Honolulu, HI
Phone number (808) 973-9111
Here’s the thing about Shirokiya Japan Village Walk: The place is a madhouse. Don’t get me wrong, I mean that in the nicest way possible because it is all rather exciting, but damn. If ever you have had an aversion to crowds, brace yourself.
I am so thrilled the place is open again, though, and in a much bigger space. If you go at just the right time (around 11 a.m. worked out quite nicely for me this week), there are more than enough tables to choose from.
I imagine at some point the hype will die down and things will calm — at least I hope that is the case. For now, though, be prepared for long lines at certain places in particular (yes, like for those sweet and savory picture-perfect crepes everyone is raving about on social media), and a whole lot of indecisiveness.
See, with this much larger venue, Shirokiya has brought in a whole bunch of occupants — 32 food vendors, to be exact. Some are familiar, many of them new — and all of it features a wide array of cuisine. There’s Hikotaro, which serves up Japanese-style shave ice, and Malia’s Caf with its Hawaiian-style plate lunches, or a Seafood and Wagyu Plaza operated by Vintage Cave that offers more high-end fare.
If you’ve found yourself lost, dazed and confused, fear not. I’ve been multiple times and still find myself wandering around the entire Village Walk a few times, unable to make a decision and completely unaware of my surroundings or where my table was.
With so much to choose from, I’ve selected only a few things to highlight — all the more reason to return sometime very soon, right?
Here, I will let Metro staff writer Paige Takeya do the talking, as this is what she sampled:
“Remembering how old Shirokiya used to have kiosks from Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin and Kimukatsu, I thought I’d try a new katsu booth: Yoshida Meat. Everything is ordered a la carte for a DIY bento feel, so I got tonkatsu and a croquette. That croquette is damn good: Meat is mixed into the potato for a savory pocket of joy. The bad news is that the tonkatsu was a little dry, and the food was cold overall. Still, I’d go back for those croquettes any day.”
Ah, yes. This familiar favorite is back and with a lineup cuter than ever. You may recall its cream puffs decorated to look like a chick. Well, July’s Kulu Kulu Zoo is here with creatures that’ll make it almost impossible to bite into.
Take the Dalmatian Roll (pictured), which turns its soft and creamy roll cake into a spotted-eye puppy. Also be on the lookout for a Lilikoi Fox Cake, Hippo Cassis, Honu Puff and Pig Cheese.
Other familiar favorites still are available, too, like its coffee jelly drinks and mini-waffles that are now in the shape of Hello Kitty.
Once you take a few photos, trust me, all of it is indeed definitely worth eating.
A welcome addition to this new space is five service counters where you can pick up a glass or pitcher of beer, along with other items like sake. I have had my eye on a selection of iichiko Bar Fruits flavors like my forever-favorite yuzu.
All of it is very reasonably priced and, of course, I’m sure you’ve heard by now of the $1 beer — available all day long.
Yeah, you read that right.
VINTAGE CAVE BAKERY
For me at least, Vintage Cave has always felt like an elusive underground dinner club I long for, shrouded in secrecy and dark corners, with seductively plated meals and lots of champagne.
Here, though, Vintage Cave Bakery is a bright and airy bakery that feels very much like home. Items are not that different from any other Japanese-style bakery, with the typical bread offerings, as well as some made with sausage and the like.
The furikake bun I sampled was soft and flavorful, especially when I got to the bits that had furikake baked into it. (I love furikake so much.) Meanwhile, the tart I sampled was sweet, but with the right balance that left me feeling both indulged and guilt-free.
FOOD VENDORS A whopping 32 LINES YOU WILL ENCOUNTER Plenty BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A new spot opening soon serving up edamame-based shakes