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Sunrise Restaurant

August 18, 2007


The food at Sunrise, which happens to be the first Okinawan restaurant I’ve ever visited, was good and I’ll be back for sure, but the best part of lunch wasn’t even the food. It was the conversation Shann, Marie, and I overheard. Seated at the table next to us that afternoon were three people: a mother, her child (about 4 years old?), and the grandmother.

When the bill came, the mom rushed to pay for it, but the grandma was also quick, pulling out her pocketbook and insisting on paying for lunch. But the mom refused to let her mom do so, saying, “Mom, it’s your birthday. Don’t pay!” The grandma still tried to pay, but the mom was faster cause she was younger, and mom ended up paying in the end. You could tell the grandma was really thankful, perhaps she was thinking in her mind, “I’ve raised a good daughter.” And I hope that we all continue to take our mothers out for their birthdays when they’re older, because I think it will mean a lot to them.


After the mom paid the check, the family sat there for a little longer talking and packing the leftover food in containers. The little boy was entertaining himself by playing with the little green crocs on his feet – such a cute child! And then all of a sudden he yells out to his mom, “I love YOU!” OMG. It was The Funniest I Love You of all time. He had all the emphasis on the wrong words so it sounded like he was yelling at his mom instead of telling her that he loved her. Our whole table cracked up. It was so funny. That totally made my day. The mom also laughed and looked at her son, “you love me?” she asked.

The son paused, glanced at the half eaten candy bar in his hand and said, “I love you CRUNCHY!” Bwahahahaha! The mom and grandma both started to laugh. It made no sense, he loves her crunchy?? We looked at the boy. And then at the candy bar. The mom did the same…ah-hah! The mom asked, “you mean, you like it (the candy bar) crunchy?” LOL! The boy paused. Confused. Then understanding. Ahhh. He had good intentions.

The yakisoba pictured above is different from your usual yakisoba in that this dish is made using Okinawan soba noodles, which are similar to flattened Japanese udon noodles. Read Reid’s review here for a closer look at the noodles. Not too greasy, and a good helping of spam, this was simple and satisfying.

Spareribs Soup

Sunrise is well known for their oxtail soup, but they were out that day. So instead we had the sparerib soup, which is cooked exactly like oxtail soup, and accompanied by a small dish of minced ginger. The soup was light, and savory, abundant with cilantro and four massive chunks of tender ribs. The ribs could have been cooked longer, but I’ve got no major complaints. Did I mention how friendly the service was? I felt like I was sitting in my grandma’s kitchen…or something to that extent. The interior of the restaurant is well worn, but cozy and clean at the same time.

Pork Tofu

Simmered pork, tofu and bean sprouts in a shoyu-mirin based broth, this dish called for a big bowl of hot rice, which was promptly delivered with the dish. During the busy lunch hour we only saw two people working in the restaurant, an elderly father who did all the cooking, and his son who did the front of the house work. I love local family businesses like this. Even when the food is not up to expectations (which rarely happens), you still feel really good about supporting such restaurants.

Quite content with lunch, we strolled on over to Waiola’s II next door for some shave ice. This location isn’t nearly as good as the original Waiola’s in Moillili. The girl behind the counter also seemed unhappy to be working there, never breaking the smallest smile. It never hurts to smile!

But the plus side to this location is that there is more room for seating. But our timing was a bit off as four boys took ‘our’ seats just as we walked in. “Awww man, poopy on those guys sitting in our seats,” I thought. 10 minutes later I found out that it was my cousin sitting in that seat! He’s the shirtless one on the right. Talk about small island!

I had the lilikoi and calpico shave ice, no mochi balls or ice cream this time, cause I was pretty full from lunch. It’s always hard deciding among flavors, cause there are a TON of options. For the most part, my mainstay flavors are: lychee, lilikoi, haupia, calpico, green tea, POG…and once in a big while, I’ll feel like getting a rainbow. There’s seriously nothing better than shave ice on a hot day!

Sunrise Restaurant

525 Kapahulu Ave

Honolulu, HI 96815

(808) 737-4118

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