When I think back on my childhood, I reminisce on good times at shaved ice shops, candy man trucks, and okazuyas on the way to school. I reflect back to simpler times when a private message meant passing a note from the front of the class to the back, waiting for the teacher's back to be turned so you can check in about what's going after school. My how times have changed!
After carbon dating myself with stories of my childhood days, it makes me wonder where have all the OKAZUYAS gone? In 2018, there seems to be a just a handful of successful okazuyas that are still providing these savory lunchtime treats for the people of Hawaii.
I stopped by "NUUANU OKAZUYA" at 1351 Nuuanu Ave. Honolulu, Hi 96817 to grab a little lunchtime pick me up. I found parking on the side of the street and I felt my endorphins kick in. I reflected back to my youth as my father used to drive my brother and I to grab lunch at a nearby okazuya, and how excited we were to make our selections!
While attending college, I always took friends who were new to the islands to an okazuya to expose them to a variety of cuisines. From Japanese, Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, and just down right good local food that pulls on a blend of flavors so customers can always find something they'll enjoy! Musubi's, Shoyu Hot Dogs, Chow Fun, Chow Mein, Beef Stew, Shoyu Pork, Potato Hash, Gobo, Shrimp Tempura, Sweet Potato, Chicken Katsu, Hamburger Steak, the menu can span an entire day of reading.
As days go by, it seems that these types of eateries are closing down. I'm hoping the upcoming restaurant entrepreneurs can find a way to revitalize the days of old and make them current again!
But then again, if WE keep supporting small local businesses that are already making an impact in our lives, they may have a fighting chance at being here for the next generation. Cause truth be told, you can't TASTE a memory!