Saimin – Hawaiian Noodle Soup

Saimin is a noodle soup dish developed in Hawaii. Inspired by Japanese ramen, Chinese mein, and Filipino pancit, saimin was developed during Hawaii’s plantation era. It is a soup dish of soft wheat egg noodles served in hot dashi garnished with spring onions. Kamaboko, char siu, sliced Spam, linguiça, and nori may be added, among other additions.

Saimin shares a great deal of commonality to Okinawa Soba with regards to noodles and broth, with the biggest difference being the toppings. It is possible that an alternate explanation for the origin of saimin comes from the historical relationship between the two pacific island cultures.

Japanese pot stickers, called Gyoza, as well as Chinese wonton, may be substituted for or added to the dish’s noodles for special occasions. A pan-fried version, primarily inspired by Filipino pancit, is also popular, especially at carnivals, fairgrounds, and catered parties.


Saimin - Hawaiian Noodle Soup
The favourite local fast food of the Hawaiian islands (also considered the national dish of Hawaii) is Saimin, an inexpensive noodle and broth soup. It is considered the supreme comfort food of the Islands, eaten at any time of day. You can find this soup at snack bars, coffee shops, and even on the McDonald's menu (in Hawaii only). Saimin is basically the same thing as ramen, a Japanese noodle soup. In Hawaii, you will get the real thing, fresh, thin white noodles in a clear broth with spring onions, kamaboko (fish cakes), and sometimes char siu (barbecue pork). Some people add chicken, eggs, shrimp, and whatever else is desired. The Saimin is eaten very hot with chopsticks or spoons, and the broth is then drunk from the bowl. Do not be afraid to slurp, as there is simply no quiet way to eat Saimin.
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 15 g sachet bonito-based dashi (fish) stock
  • 500 g fresh, fine Chinese-style flour noodles
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 100 g kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), steamed, thinly sliced
  • 5 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 6 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, halved lengthwise
For barbecued pork (char siu)
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 450 g pork neck, skin removed, cut lengthwise into 3cm thick pieces
  1. To make barbecued pork, place hoisin sauce, half the honey, sherry, soy sauce, five-spice, spring onions and a pinch of white pepper in a bowl, mixing to combine. Add pork, tossing to coat, then place pork and marinade in a sealable plastic bag or non-reactive container in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place pork in an ovenproof dish lined with baking paper and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting occasionally with marinade. Remove from oven and brush over remaining 40ml honey while pork is still very hot. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine dashi with 1.5L water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In a separate saucepan, cook noodles in boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain noodles, then transfer to dashi broth and simmer for 1 minute. Divide noodles and broth among 6 bowls, then top each with spinach leaves, kamaboko slices, spring onions and egg halves.
  4. Thickly slice half the barbecue pork, divide among bowls and serve immediately.
You will need to prepare the pork a day ahead. Alternatively, buy 250g barbecued pork from a good Chinese roasting house.

Chinese-style flour noodles and kamaboko are available from Asian food shops.
See Dashi recipe if you wish to make your own


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