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Off Track: How Hawaii-Style Saimin is Making a Comeback

August 31, 2019

From the Hawaii Magazine website

Saimin (pronounced sigh-min) is a noodle dish that’s only found in the Islands. The word “saimin” is a combination of two Chinese words—sai meaning thin and min, which means noodle. The dish dates back to the plantation era in Hawaii—late 1800s—when workers from various ethnic camps would gather to eat, bringing with them various ingredients to share.

The noodles are what make saimin unique from other Asian noodle dishes like Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho. Saimin noodles typically contain the same ingredients as ramen—wheat flour, sodium and potassium carbonate and salt—but are darker in color, curly and slightly chewy when cooked, explains Hidehito Uki, president and CEO of Sun Noodle, the largest family-run noodle manufacturer in the state. (Some styles of saimin can also include eggs.) The noodles are served in a hot dashi, or broth, usually made from shrimp, mushrooms, ginger and konbu (dried kelp).

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