Nori’s Saimin and Snacks making onolicious kau kau in Hilo, Hawaii

The menu items in this post were provided by Nori’s Saimin and Snacks but the opinions expressed here are my own.

BethAn Nishijima, being a Hilo resident since the 1980s, is definitely part of my ohana. She gave my dad his re-start into the culinary world back in mid-2000s. Her food is amazing and she definitely made a name for herself in Hilo. She has an omiyage shop next door where you can purchase Nori’s products and Hello Kitty items. Her food items like Instant Saimin, Nori’s Mustard Cabbage Koko, Shrimp Krackas, and Eurasia Dressings can also be found under the Mountain Apple Brand at KTA Super Stores.

Every time I come back home, BethAn feeds me like an Italian grandma. I just love her food and I think she loves to feed me.

Smoked Spicy Chicken Wings ($7.95) are chicken wings seasoned with Nori’s own naturally smoked special spice (which can be purchased in the omiyage store). The smoked flavor really came through and flavored the chicken as if it was cooked in a smoker. The mix of spices and Hawaiian salt worked well with the chicken. It’s great as an appetizer before dinner or pupu with beer or wine. Rating: 5/5

Fried Mundoo ($6.95), sometimes spelled mandu or mandoo, is a fried Korean dumpling. The Chinese have wonton, the Japanese have gyoza and the Koreans have mundoo. Nori’s version is filled with minced meat and vegetables like a meatball, pinched into a half moon shape, and deep-fried to a golden, crispy brown. The dipping sauce added a little bit more salt to bring out more of the flavors of the interior. Another dish that is great as an appetizer before dinner or as a pupu with beer or wine. Rating: 5/5

Hawaiian Chicken with Cake Noodle ($13.95) is Japanese meets Chinese in a bowl. The Hawaiian chicken reminded me of chop suey with the chopped-up chicken and vegetables with silky sauce. The noodle cake added a crispy texture along with the starch needed to sop up all the sauce. This is definitely the type of dish a person from Hawaii would create. Rating: 5/5

OM Fresh Smoked Meat Loco ($9.95) is a special loco moco made with smoked pork belly and onions. For those of you who do not know what a loco moco is, the original loco moco is Japanese rice topped with a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and a fried egg. It is one of my favorite foods and when I am in Hilo, I simply have to have one a day. The loco moco was invented here on the Big island at Café 100. But, getting back to Nori’s, BethAn should have called it the “OMG Loco” because it made me say it after I took the first bite. I am in love with pork belly. I like it braised, fried, smoked, etc. The smoked flavor just added sweetness from the wood it was smoked in and caramelized the fat. It was like pork belly candy. The caramelized onions played up the sweetness even more. But once I broke the yolk on those eggs, I was in foodie heaven! Rating: 5/5

Watch for these specials the next time you are at Nori’s Saimin and Snacks! You’ll go home in a food coma like I did. Mahalo!

Ambiance: 4 out of 5
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
688 Kinoole St. Ste. 124
Hilo, HI 96720
Reservations: First come, first serve
Hours: Closed on Mondays, Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dog-friendly: No, indoor seating only

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Nori's Saimin and Snacks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato