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Jul 10, 2009 10:38 AM

Saimin in San Diego

Anyone know of a restaurant in SD that serves good Saimin? Just got back from Kauai where I had a great bowl of Saimin. I am hoping to find a place at home where I can get a "fix." All input is welcome. I would even consider driving up to the OC if the food will be worth it. Thanks.

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  1. Lauren,
    Did you go to Haimura Saimin's in Lihue?
    They won the James Beard award a couple of years back..
    Some of the best in the world..will be there in September and I've been jonesing for it..Big time!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Beach Chick

      That name sounds right. I know its on Kress street in Lihue. The Saimin was AWESOME! Tho the customer service was interesting to say the least. While we were there some locals told us that the ownership had changed...tho the food was good to me.

      1. re: LaurenZ

        I'm originally from Hawaii and still occasionally crave saimin. Unfortunately, I don't know of any place that serves it here in SD. The closest approximation we have is ramen and the two best places to get it are Santouka (in Mistuwa Market) and Tajima. Sorry, I'm computer illiterate and don't know how to add links but everyone else on this board does so maybe they could help out.

        1. re: SDgirl

          I figured it out! Boy, I feel so smart!

          Tajima Japanese Restaurant
          4681 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

          Santohka Ramen
          4240 Kearny Mesa Rd, San Diego, CA 92111

          1. re: SDgirl

            Chopstix in Kearny Mesa is good too. Here are their links:

            4633 Convoy St Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92111

            Chopstix Too Sushi & Teriaki
            4380 Kearny Mesa Rd, San Diego, CA 92111

            1. re: Sampaguita

              Chopstix has good soup noodles, but technically no saimin. Probably the closest thing is their ramen.

              L&L Hawaiian or the Hawaiian plate lunch place in Liberty Station may have saimin.

              1. re: daantaat

                Although Chopstix has a broad assortment of noodle offerings, it doesn't really have anything close to saimin. The last time I went to Chopstix was the last time; I used to like that place a lot but something has gone terribly wrong in recent years and they have become mediocre at best. There are so many really good Japanese places to try, many of them right on Convoy -- I would advise skipping Chopstix.

                1. re: daantaat

                  You are correct Daantaat...but the Chopstix reference was to SDgirl's acknowledgement that ramen is the closest thing to saimin that you can get here in this city. The mabo ramen, although rather salty, is good offset by a bottle of Japanese beer...and an afternoon of bowling.

                  Although L & L has saimin, it doesn't quite taste the way saimin is served on da islands. The closest I've gotten to a good bowl of saimin was at Ono Ono's in Tustin.

          1. There is a little Hawaiian place in Sorrento Valley called Kayla's Island Grill, they had Saimin on the menu. I didn't try it though, but if you check it out let us know. I have only been once, and make it a rule to try the Kahlua Pig my first time to a Hawaiian joint. (which was pretty tasty BTW, smokey, salt, juicy, not bland like the L&L stuff)

            I think they have a website, but here is the Yelp link


            1. Just back from lunch at Tender Greens in Liberty Station, and I noticed that across the hall is Da Kine's. Popped in to see if saimin is on the menu, and indeed it is. Probably not the bowl of your dreams with just the right kind of fishcake etcetera, but it is saimin from a Hawaiian place nevertheless. Good luck!


              1. A&D Hawaiian Barbecue in National City and Imperial Beach has six different kinds of saimin on the menu (grilled Spam, Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, chicken katsu, Hawaiian BBQ beef, fried shrimp and plain fried),

                KirkK reviewed A&D in National City on his blog recently. Here's the link:

                The restaurants do not have a website printed on their menu, so here is the basic contact information:

                A&D Hawaiian BBQ "We Do Catering!"

                Grove Plaza Center
                2220 Plaza Blvd., Ste. D
                National City, CA 91950

                1555 Palm Ave., Ste. H
                Imperial Beach, CA 92154

                Good luck finding a good bowl in San Diego and please let all us Chowhounders know if you do! (Hubby was born and raised in Hawaii and is always hoping to find good kalua pork and lau lau in the SD area.)

                5 Replies
                1. re: Gypsy Jan

                  Went to Kayla's for lunch today to check it out. We had the saimin, kalua pork, and chicken katsu. The pork and chicken weren't bad; not the best I've ever had but not bad. The saimin was a disappointment, just a styrofoam cup/bowl (think Cup-o-Noodles) with noodles and a few small pieces of spam in a very weak broth. My memories of real saimin are mostly about the broth which should have a distinctly rich porkiness to it. Kayla's would be okay for a low key lunch, but if you're looking for a great bowl of saimin you won't find it here.

                  1. re: SDgirl

                    Thanks for the input everyone! I will definitely try the places in National City and Imperial Beach and report back.

                    1. re: LaurenZ

                      If you're looking for Good Saimin in San Diego.....stuff like what Tanoue and Washington Saimin used to put out, you're out of luck. Everything at all those Hawaiian BBQs are basically reconstituted S&S. At one time Teri Cafe, made some great noodles, but surrounded it with overly sweet sauces, and very badly produced broth. For my druthers, if you know how to make Saimin Shiro,,,,,go over and by the noodles.

                      1. re: KirkK

                        So true! Mahalo for that post Kirk! I do like Island Style in Tierrasanta for grindz though. Chicken Katsu is pretty good, even if it is a bit pricey. (But, still no saimin)

                    2. re: SDgirl

                      thanks for the report SDgirl, saves me some cash and a poor lunch.