At the end of a morning adventure in the Kaneohe-Kailua area, I was craving for a meal that would fill me up, yet wouldn’t break the bank. I had been walking around touring the different shops and even the Lokahi Kailua market. I wanted to try something other than my default stops. Hence, the trip to the Aikahi Park Shopping Center for Daiichi Ramen.
Even though there are other locations around the island, I hadn’t had comfort food from their shop in years! In fact, I haven’t eaten there since high school. I was reminded of times spent eating out with friends after band concerts. Perhaps I could relive those days while enjoying a comforting meal. So I called in my order and it was ready in no time. This is a preview of what I ordered, for my exhausted self, and also for my hungry family waiting at home.
As a foodie, I can’t help but take multiple photos of the food that I get to partake in. I got the easiest thing to snack on out of the way. That way, my family could be satisfied even as I took my time. In this case, it was the gyoza. One order comes with six of these plump pan-fried dumplings, along with gyoza dipping sauce, and hot mustard served on the side. Filled with cabbage, loads of ginger, and some ground pork, it was a surprisingly refreshing way to kick things off. The ginger adds a burst of herbal spice to what is usually predominated by pork filling.
Next is a dish that is also a staple at Chinese restaurants- shrimp crispy noodles. I appreciated that the crispy noodles were packaged separately from the sauce. This was very hefty; it was enough to feed two people. I personally split it between two of my meals. The sauce was thick, the shrimp was juicy, the vegetables were stir-fried until soft, and I was definitely satisfied by having eaten this.
What makes Daiichi Ramen great is that they have a combo meal to give customers a way to experience multiple things on the menu for a reasonable price. It’s a choice of mini ramen or udon, with one or two sides. Given the name of the restaurant, I chose the mini ramen with miso broth and a side of curry rice. The miso broth was admittedly salty, and the curry was savory but didn’t have any meat. I heard that you have to get the curry meat on the side. I’d still get this again with a different broth and a different side option.
The larger combo option includes one of the curry plate lunches, along with a soup, and a side salad. You can choose from the chicken katsu, calamari, croquette, mochiko chicken, fish katsu, shrimp katsu, and spam katsu. I opted for the most popular option. This happened to be the chicken katsu curry plate. I wished the outside of the katsu was crispier, but the chicken was juicy. The miso broth used in the miso ramen was salty, but the miso soup here was surprisingly not that salty. The side salad was a refreshing addition to round things out.
The last thing I ordered for my family and I was the Hiyashi ramen. I ordered this with my mom specifically in mind, because I know that she is a fan of lighter dishes. Both she and I love making somen salad, and I was elated to find out that this was very similar. Instead of the somen noodles, which are thinner, thicker ramen noodles are used. Topped with kamaboko, cucumber, bean sprouts, char siu, and an egg, it’s a perfect meal for any day, especially a humid one.
Just as it was years ago in my memory, Daiichi Ramen remains a perfect place for comfort food that fills you up and warms your heart. I was happy to have been transported back to the simple days of enjoying a filling meal with my bandmates.
I was pleased that the portions were big enough to satisfy my family for a couple of meals. It doesn’t break your bank, the food tastes decent, and it’s the perfect meal to share with friends and/or family. It is also open later than other restaurants in the area, so it is perfect for those who are adventuring around, or end work at later hours as well. I recommend checking them out, not just their Kailua location at the Aikahi Park Shopping Center, but their other locations around the island as well!
Hours: 10:00 am-10:00 pm daily.
Address: 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Ste 103, Kailua, HI 96734
Phone number: (808) 254-9988