Victoria Inn

I really wanted to get a genuinely local experience of Honolulu, and my friend – who grew up there – was more than happy to oblige. On Day 2, she took me to lunch at the Victoria Inn, located in the neighborhood of Kaimuki. Its decor is really dated (or nostalgic, perhaps), and probably hasn’t changed for decades. My pictures here turned out with a sepia hue, which I suppose is rather appropriate. There were definitely no tourists to be seen here. It’s actually kind of a dive, but I can understand the nostalgic value of the place, and it serves up cheap local comfort food that people have probably been ordering for generations.

I decided to go full-on local and got the saimin, which my friend described as being like “Hawaiian ramen.” It wasn’t until after I ordered it that she also informed me that she doesn’t care for it much. She and I share a lot of the same taste in food, so I wasn’t surprised to find out that I didn’t care for it much either. In fact, I found it rather bland and unappetizing. The broth wasn’t like any kind of ramen broth I’d ever had before – and I suppose that’s fair enough, since it’s not technically ramen – but it was kind of this bizarre chicken broth-flavored thing that didn’t have much going for it. And then there was the egg! Too much egg. It overpowered the blandness of the noodles and broth until all I could taste was egg. I couldn’t finish it at all, and in fact it rather turned my stomach near the end.

I found out later from a saimin-liking friend that in fact, good saimin does exist…just not at Victoria Inn.

The rest of the meal was an improvement:

My friend got the chicken teriyaki sandwich, which was quite good. The chicken was nice and tender, and the sauce was flavorful.

We got a side of fried rice, which I enjoyed very much. It reminded me of how my mom makes fried rice, except this one had spam. It seems spam is a pretty common ingredient in local fare.

Aside from saimin disaster, not so bad overall. XD

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