Gyotaku Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

I’m going to tell you a little bit about my history and through this story you will know how old fut I am and if you remember this, you gonna be one old fut too (sorry that’s just how it works). Gyotaku Hawaii used to be Kyotaru Restaurant, do you folks remember? They had their Pearl City location and the South King Street location but for those in the know, they also had two bento shops in downtown Honolulu. I was one young kid looking for work and found a job at the bento shops as the “breaker,” I’d come in during the busy lunch hours to help give full-timers at both locations their lunch break. One bento shop was located in Bishop Square and the other bento shop was located in Pioneer Plaza.

Oh man, those were the days, I had a great time working there. Probably wasn’t supposed to but I definitely kept some leftover bentos at the end of the day to take home. I remember some menu items vividly, including their “Special Bento” which I compare to 7-11 “Big Bento,” it was a great deal…a big bento with a soda for $3.95!! At lunch rush, me and the other cashier memorized all the totals for the bentos and would just ring with our drawers open and give change from memory. I also fondly remember the HECO ladies who would come and get a large cup of ice for 25 cents (26 cents with tax). Anyway, when Kyotaru decided to close down their operations, our managers decided to buy the restaurants and named them Gyotaku and ultimately decided to close down the bento shops. I was young still yet so for me it wasn’t a huge deal, it allowed me to move onto another job since I was just doing part-time work then. I got to visit Gyotaku the other week for lunch and their restaurant is nicely renovated (South King Street anyway)! Thanks for reading through story time, let’s get to the food!

Shrimp Tenpura & Sashimi | $26.95
shrimp & vegetable tenpura served with ahi sashimi, rice, miso soup & salad

Assorted Poke Don & Tenpura | $24.95
assorted fresh poke served over rice served with tenpura

This is my absolute go to dish at Gyotaku. And you gotta get the assorted poke don, not the all ahi poke don. This is one of my favorite all time pokes ever, forreal. The assorted seafood bring different layers of flavors in the scrumptious sauce over good ole white rice. A fair warning, the sauce is very strong in sesame oil flavor so if you don’t like sesame oil, you won’t like this don. Their tenpura is always coated and fried light and crispy. So good. Kind of pricey for lunch but it’s worth it. Comes with the salad and miso soup too!

Side Salad (with their famous Wafu Dressing)

Miso Soup

Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie | $5.50

STOP. If you come here, you HAVE to get this dessert. I’m not even like big on desserts all the time. I usually go without ordering dessert but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t order this. I would go as far as to say this is my favorite pie of all time. Is this made in-house? I don’t know, but if anyone has the hook-ups to the recipe, please let me know. I’d like to make it myself so I don’t have to pay $5.50 a slice but boy is it worth it.

Top layer is a light whipped cream, second layer is haupia, third layer is okinawan sweet potato and then the crust. Oh the crust, it’s gotta be like a sugared ginger graham cracker crust. I don’t usually like whipped cream but the whipped topping on this is so good, I don’t mind it at all. The haupia is the perfect texture and the okinawan sweet potato filling? Not at all dense…it’s just a perfect pie. Please try it and tell me I’m wrong.

8 comments

  1. Honolulu Aunty says:

    Good fun trip down memory lane!
    I used to go often to the Pearl City Gyotaku with my friend who lived on that side. He is diabetic so would order the ahi salad with dressing on the side. I usually got nishime because I love that stuff and they make it just right. Then we would split a dessert – the shave ice with ice cream and azuki beans – so refreshing and ono!
    But, now I gotta have the sweet potato pie.

    • Jenny says:

      Ahh your friend is so good. You’re right, Gyotaku makes some of the best Japanese home cooking kine dishes! I hope you get to try the pie and let me know how it is!

  2. Arlene says:

    Wow, what a fun job you had cashiering as a…toddler (?) Jenny, lol. You are forever 21 in my mind. Seriously, Gyotaku never disappoints and they really seem to strive to make their customers happy, which I really appreciate. I love their tempura too. I recommend their ginger iced tea if you haven’t already tried it, very refreshing.

    • Jenny says:

      Oh Arlene, can you just comment on every post saying you imagine me as a 21 year old? LOL. Wait, did you know me when I was 21 years old? Hahaha..

      Anyway you are right, Gyotaku is good stuff and the service was attentive too. A bit pricey in my opinion but you’re getting good food and supporting a local small business. So funny, I was totally eyeing out that ginger iced tea but decided against it since I was gonna get the pie…now I gotta try the tea!

Leave a Reply to Jenny Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.