HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >

Discussion

Where can I buy Saimin

When I was in college (1964-8) my Hawaiian roommates used to make a quick saimin which took about 3 minutes which came in a box. Does anyone know where I can buy it in the greater Boston area or order it over the internet from Hawaii? Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I'm not sure what the asian/chinatown market situation is in Boston, but I get my Saimin at the local asian supermarket called Uwajimaya. You may have to consider an alternative like ramen or udon. There are usually hawaii clubs at universities, would any of them be helpful? Good luck.

    1. zippy's has a website where you can order some foods. Saimin is in there
      http://www.zippys.com/zippys/dept.asp...

      3 Replies
      1. re: KaimukiMan

        Wow - that's great information! I'm ordering a few favorites for immediate delivery. Thanks Kaimuki Man!

        1. re: Hanads

          now if i could only find the crusty loaves of bread you can get in seattle...haha, nothing stays crusty and crunchy here.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            I swear that was like the bane of my existence for the first couple years I lived here.. Praise jesus for Fendu but it still must be consumed like within the day.

      2. Don't know where you can get it on the east coast especially in Boston but if you search for Sun Noodle, they probably have the best packaged saimin. S&S also has fresh and frozen but I dislike the type of noodles they use. Sam's Club and Costco in Hawaii sell them in bulk but not in other areas of the country it seems. Marukai has the S&S brand if they're in your area. Otherwise you'll probably need someone in the islands to ship it to you. Good luck.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Clinton

          Many regular supermarkets now have packaged ramen/saimin in the Asian foods section. Ramen is likely closer to what your roommates had from what you describe. Sapporo Ichiban is a typical brand. You might also try posting your question on the Boston board.

        2. Back then, Okahara used to make a great dry saimin that came in a box that looked like a small cereal box---I believe it was the first dehydrated saimin (the Hawaiian version of ramen). I haven't seen this in a while, only the frozen variety of Okahara---and even this is hard to find. Perhaps you could try contacting Okahara Saimin Factory 808-949-0588.

          10 Replies
          1. re: PDKL

            Haven't seen Okuhara saimin or even the fresh Maui Saimin which was my favorite here in LA for the longest time. Only can find S&S offered in the frozen section and the occasional Takahashi brand at Marukai..Sun Noodles is still the best but I've only seen it sold in Hawaii so far. Does anyone know who sells it here in LA? I tried calling the distributor in Hawaii and they just give me the deer in the headlights answer.

            1. re: Clinton

              I think the parent company of Sun Noodles also now owns S&S Saimin--- perhaps Marukai Costa Mesa can order it in (?) (I used to live in Costa Mesa---good Marukai and L&L there. Unfortunately, I now live in Boston, which has limited Hawai'i resources). The Marukai in LA is not as good for Hawaiian stuff. Marukai in Costa Mesa also sells the Nanka and Hula brand dry saimin, but those aren't quite the same for me. Hula is also sold online through Pacific Rim Gourmet and a few other site.
              In my opinion, the best local saimin used to be Oganeku saimin in Hanapepe---they made their own noodles. I haven't been to Shige or other local places.

              1. re: Clinton

                Actually, I just bought a pack of Sun noodles here in Seattle, so they must be exporting it outside of Hawaii. I've heard there are good local eats around Torrance, CA, maybe theres a retailer there?

                1. re: Hanads

                  Marukai in Gardena has the frozen S&S brand and a couple of others but no Sun Noodles. I used to buy the fresh Maui Saimin but they don't carry that anymore. S&S noodles tend to get mushy after sitting in the soup for a while but the Sun noodles stays al dente and has a better flavor.
                  While in Hawaii a few months ago, we had lunch at Likelike Drive In and ordered saimin. I happened to ask the waitress if they used Sun noodles and she say said yes. I knew right off the bat.
                  Costco and Sam's Club in Hawaii carry Sun Noodles in bulk but not here in LA. Haven't seen any place that carries them retail here in LA but I do know they export them outside of Hawaii because I inquired. The girl answering the phone hardly spoke English and had no clue on what I was asking?

                  1. re: Clinton

                    Clinton, with all the Hawaii transplants living in LA, I'm surprised good saimin is so hard to find, try emailing them (from their website). Good luck, info@sunnoodle.com

                    1. re: curiousgeo

                      I believe I did with no response. I also called them direct and got a person who had to ask someone there if they had an LA distributor. The person that did know was not in and said that they would call me back. No return call to date. I had to go back to the islands about a month ago and brought back several bulk packs from Sam's Club in an insulated carry-on bag. That's how much I like Sun saimin. Curious that both Costco and Sam's Club will either have S&S or Sun saimin available but not both at the same time. The previous time we visited, both places only had the S&S but no Sun. This time they only had Sun but no S&S in the refrigerated sections. They also carry Sun saimin at Don Quijote on sale for $1.09 apiece but at Sam's and Costco it sells at approx. $3.50 for 4 packs. We used to get Maui saimin here but I think they went out of business or stop sending it to LA?

                      1. re: Clinton

                        If it's that hard to find in LA, I can only imagine how hard it must be in the rest of the mainland. I warn my son who eats saimin at least once a week, that if he goes away to college he will be eating a lot of Sapporo ramen noodles.

                        Must make coming back for visits to your favorite eating places really special. I know my in-laws make Zippy's a must stop after arriving at the airport, and they hardly ate there when they were living here.

                        1. re: curiousgeo

                          Don't get me wrong. Saimin is not hard to find here in LA but GOOD saimin is an ultimate challenge. Marukai offer their own brand of fresh saimin which is comparable to S&S which I dislike. I think there are a few other brands but none to my liking. As I had mentioned before, my two favorites are Sun Noodles and the former(?) Maui Saimin which I can't seem to find anymore here in LA. My quest is to find something that replicates the old-time saimin of the past. Something you'd find at the old mama and papa-san's saimin stands back in Hawaii. It's something about the curly noodles and distinctive soup stock they used?

                          1. re: Clinton

                            I know exactly what your are going through! I miss the old time saimin. We once had a restaurant on Nimitz and Kalihi St. We bought fresh made saimin from this place in Liliha. The noodles came in a big pile wrapped up in paper which we seperated into little servings before cooking. I don't know if that noodle company still in business. Anyway for the soup stock we used dried opai (the small dried shrimp you see all over Chinatown) and boiled it for few hours until it reduced in quantity from which we would then use as a liquid soup base mixed with either chicken stock or pork bone stock. Broke da mouth! Anyway-does anyone know of any existing noodle factories that carry fresh saimin like back in da days?

                          2. re: curiousgeo

                            I still eat sapporo noodles even when I could go to foodland and make my own saimin, haha.. I swear those noodles are made with crack extract with how addictive they are. If we lived over on Kauai I don't know though, I'd probably give up my Sapporo habit for Hamura's on a regular basis... Mmmm.....

              2. Yeah! I lived there in 1968 & there were mom & pop saimin shops everywhere & it was soooo delicious, with little bits of green onion, egg & meat....
                When I lived in HI again from 2003 to 2007, the first thing I did when getting out of the airport was go looking for saimin. For the next 4 years I never did find the old time saimin. Even Shiro's fell short of my dreams. Around 1969, maybe early 1970's, there was a bowling alley in LA on Crenshaw that had old timey saimin, but then I moved out of the area & never found it again. While living in HI, a friend said that the reason saimin changed was that it used to be made with a chicken or pork base & now it's a fish base & it doesn't taste the same. It's been mostly replaced by this stuff called "pho", pronounced "fuh".
                If you find out anything further, please email me at nh7xm@hotmail.com
                Bernadette

                1 Reply
                1. re: navarrone

                  Bernadette, I have been asking that same question for years on several blogs and websites but no one seems to have any answers. The days of old time saimin are gone with mama and papa-sans to their graves. Answers which have been given to me were that they used dried scallops as the soup base or dried wakame (seaweed) as well as various other suspected guesses. I think I know what I'm looking for but that special flavor has eluded itself way back to my childhood days. Sad but all good things come to an end eventually with progress.

                  Oh BTW, Marukai n Gardena is now selling the Sun Brand noodles in the refrigerated section. I believe it was $1.59 a bag? I broke down and bought a couple at those inflated prices but it was cheaper than flying back to the islands. Life is good!