|Royal Hawaiian Center
2201 Kalakaua Ave #A305
Honolulu, HI 96815-2585
Notes: They skimp on the meat ingrediants. Okonomiyaki is not for everyone
Tummy Points: 2.5/5
A common Japanese food rarely found in your typical North American Japanese restaurant but commonly found throughout Japan is okonmiyaki, Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pan cake made of various ingrediants. One of the more popular style of the dish is made of flour, eggs, cabbage, and grated yam. Inside you can layer some toppings of your choosing like sirloin, squid, prawn, avocado, pork , bacon, corn, and scallops. The okonomiyaki is usually cooked on a teppan or a special hot plates. It’s flipped only once during the cooking process. Finally, a layer of Japanese plum sauce called okonomiyaki sauce is drizzled over the okonomiyaki just before serving.
While in Hawaii, a few foodie friends suggested I visit Chibo which is well known in the area for their okonomiyaki. It is located in the very busy and touristy Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki Beach. Inside is dimly lit and I highly recommend sitting at the teppan cooking table so you can watch your okonomiyaki being prepared and get a chance to talk to the chefs.
Before any cooking, okonomiyaki batter is not very appetizing to look at. It resembles something like a oatmeal. One layer is poured onto the teppan then the layer of additional ingredients are added. I chose sirloin and scallops. Then another layer is poured on top.
A okonomiyaki while it’s cooking on the teppan looks really good. I love the browning. I watched some teppanyaki dishes being prepared like steak and later wished it was what I ordered and wished they didn’t cut up that fine piece of meat into tiny cubes. The chefs are really friendly but most only speak Japanese well.
A big handful of dried bonito flakes tops each okonomiyaki along with a Japanese plum sauce called okonomiyaki sauce. The sauce is overly sweet so I had to brush most of it off. The bonito flakes are overwhelmingly fishy and for those of you that are afraid of eating live things, they move ontop of the okonomiyaki at first.
The ingredients are fresh but the amount of sirloin and scallops added is very little. Sirloin ended up tasting more like ground beef and I didn’t even taste any scallops. You can easily taste the yams used as they’re still in strips as the middle of the okonomiyaki is still fairly raw and goo’y like the pre-cooked batter. After eating 3/4’s of it I was ready to hurl because the inside had the texture of puke to me and a very muted fishy flavor. There were a lot of Japanese people eating at the restaurant and they didn’t have my facial expression so I assume the food is good but it just didn’t agree with what my stomach is used to. If you’re curious for something new and willing for some food adventure, I’d recommend Okonomiyaki Chibo. If you end up coming here because of peer pressure I’d recommend getting the teppanyaki. Otherwise I’d recommend visiting somewhere else.