I had one more absolute requirement before we left O'ahu, and that was to check out a serious ramen shop. We'd heard great things about Ramen Nakamura, and Crystal had given it a glowing review, so we headed over that way.
AND FOUND A PARKING SPOT AROUND THE CORNER.
I'm still shocked. There were garages charging $9 an hour, and we were just able to pull into a space. What?
Ramen Nakamura is teeny and a little hard to see from the street. Here's a photo to help you spot it:
The menu is in English and Japanese, but there's also plastic food in the window if you need more help deducing what's best to order.
Did I say teeny? Because TEEN-EY.
We got two ramen combinations with gyoza (oh, that gyoza...) and fried rice.
The fried rice was kind of bland, but well-made and comforting. I particularly liked the tangy ginger pickle, or benishoga, served alongside. It dressed the plate up.
But the gyoza! The savory little dumplings were the best version I've ever had! Porky and just a little greasy, with a toothsome yet light dough... yum. Japanese dumpling heaven.
And I haven't even gotten to the ramen!
Logan ordered their oxtail ramen. It's a house specialty and comes by default shio-style, which means it has a simple salt broth. There are also a ton of crunchy greens, slivered ginger, green onion and carrot. Alongside the bowl was a dipping sauce of soy and ginger for the fairly bland oxtail meat.
But how was it? GOOD. I preferred our other choice, which I'll get to, but this was quite tasty. It was not particularly spicy, or salty, or strongly flavored, but was subtle and comforting. The oxtail was really hard for us to pick apart with our chopsticks, though it was perfectly braised. By itself it was a little bland, but that gingery dipping sauce enlivened things considerably.
Our other ramen was a shoyu ramen, which came with a handful of bamboo, a pile of crunchy bean sprouts, green onion, and a slice of nicely-cooked pork. There was also a topping of fried garlic that added a real flavor punch to the dish.
The shoyu broth was freaking delicious, salty and a little porky and completely restorative.
Perhaps it should go without saying at a ramen shack that the noodles themselves would be done right, but I'ma say it anyway. Them noodles was extra-good, nicely al dente. AND the ratio of noodles to broth to stuffs was right!
Thumbs up, Ramen Nakamura.
Ramen Nakamura: 2141 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu. 808.922.7960.
After lunch, we went for a quick drive through the southeast corner of O'ahu to see the area we'd missed on our drive the previous day. First stop, the stunning Hanauma Bay.
Paradise, or what? I really liked our time at the Malaekahana State Recreation Area, but dang was this little curve lovely.
Driving a little further north, we found another ridiculously pretty bay, and this one was free to visit if you were willing to clamber down some rocks. No crazily picturesque palms, though.
What freaking ever, Hawaii!
Eventually we had to turn back towards Honolulu, and the airport, and return our car. The Honolulu Interisland Terminal is very small, so it took approximately 30 seconds to get ourselves and our bags checked in and through security.
We flew go! airlines, which is a great inexpensive inter-island airline. They have happy hour after 5. No, really.
Our flight was only 50 minutes. Nice. We landed in Hilo, where it was raining, a state of affairs I'd become really comfortable with over the next few days.
Well, that was a marathon blogging weekend! Six posts, I think? I start a short test-grading assignment tomorrow, so the pace is definitely going to slack off a bit, but I'm definitely going to follow through with blogging this trip.
SO. Coming up next! Banyan trees, my very first (and last) loco moco, and a decidedly average homestyle Japanese experience.
Logan gets back Thursday!