Waikiki is not exactly a gem when it comes to local Hawaii style food. Sure there are some good restaurants that serve Japanese food, but don’t expect to find good Hawaii food (I’m talking Hawaii food not Hawaiian food) when you’re in Waikiki – for that you need to head out of Waikiki and go somewhere else in Honolulu. But after hearing about Iyasume Musubi, I decided I needed to go check them out.
Located in the heart of Waikiki, Iyasume Musubi serves a menu of mostly Japanese style local Hawaii food, and as the name suggests, musubi is one of the most popular things to eat there. The restaurant is very small, and most of the people get their food for takeaway. But myself, having plenty of time, I decided to eat there, and luckily there was a spare table available when I arrived. I immediately noticed the the beautiful stack of bentos on the table, and to the left of that, was a beautiful tray of SPAM musubis – and that’s exactly what I came for.
So at Iyasume Musubi, there’s actually an entire menu of different rice balls (musubis), that you can order, and some of them are stuffed with some really delicious ingredients, but again I came mostly to eat the SPAM. There were three different types to choose from; the original classic, the SPAM ume, and finally the bacon and egg SPAM.
At first I began with an original and an ume (which is a Japanese pickled plum sauce), and I also ordered one of the bentos which was filled with rice, fried chicken, and some small sides. I first dug into the original SPAM musubi. Unlike at some places where you get a full block of rice, at Iyasume, it was more of a ball of rice – and it wasn’t just any rice, it was some of the best rice I’ve ever had in my life – somehow they cooked the rice to absolute perfection – it was moist, and each individual grain stood out – yet at the same time each grain was soft but not mushy. Okay I don’t really know how to explain how good the rice was, but I’ll just tell you, it was some of the best rice I’ve ever had in my life.
I also really like that Japanese pickled plum sauce, with SPAM, and a slice of cucumber, all wrapped into seaweed – that was quite a wonderful complementary combination. As for the bento, again the rice was beyond stunning, cooked with such precision and care. The piece of salmon was delicious. I guess I’m overall not a huge fan of fried chicken that sits for too long, it’s so much better if you eat fried chicken fresh out of the oil. So overall the fried chicken wasn’t as good as it could have been, had been hot and fresh, but it was still good.
And after I had completed two musubis, and one bento box, I somehow had the urge – that wouldn’t go away – to try the bacon and egg SPAM musubi. I reached over to the tray, picked out the fattest one, and sunk my teeth into that absolute beauty of a treat. It was the entire Hawaiian breakfast in one easy to hold food – fantastic!
Iyasume Musubi – Waikiki, Honolulu
Open hours: Monday to Friday from 6:30 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 am – 4:00 pm
Address: 2410 Koa Avenue, Hale Waikiki Hotel, #4, Honolulu, HI 96815
Music in this video courtesy of Audio Network
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