Okay, back to Hawaii!

One of the things I loved about Honolulu was how there were SO many Japanese restaurants. And not just your typical all-in-one joint where you can get sushi, tempura, teriyaki, ramen, whatever at the same place. They had more specialized places like you would find in Japan, and one such place we went to was a Nagoya cuisine-inspired izakaya (pub) that served chicken tsukune’ or meatballs. The restaurant, aptly named Tsukuneya, had a very extensive list of various tsukune to choose from, which they cooked up on their robata grill. They also made tofu in-house, which I definitely took advantage of as well. ♥

This was actually my first experience having tsukune. In all, I thought they were pretty good, though some were a little on the bland side. I think it’s definitely a satisfying meal to have with a glass of beer (if that’s your thing), and relatively inexpensive. You can order as many different flavor combinations you like, and you pay by the piece.

Pictured above is the bainiku (dried plum) topped with fresh shiso leaf, one of my favorites. The tartness of the plum provided a nice contrast to the tender meat.

Many more under the cut:

Rice with salmon, wasabi and seaweed, served with tea. You pour the tea over it to make ‘ochazuke,’ which is a rice soup of sorts. This is really the kind of dish that speaks ‘home’ to me. I grew up eating this stuff, and simple though it may be, it still hits the spot like true comfort food.

Hearing that they make their own tofu in-house, of course I had to try their tofu dengaku, miso marinated grilled tofu. I liked this dish, but I have to say it didn’t blow me away like I expected house-made tofu would. I was expecting a richer soy bean flavor. Perhaps the miso glaze sort of overpowered the subtle flavor of the tofu.

Mmm…riceballs with shrimp tempura. Am sorry that the picture came out so fuzzy…the restaurant was pretty dimly lit.

I wasn’t adventurous enough to try the cheese tsukune, which is why we only ordered two, for my two friends to have. XD

Curry flavored, which was made with the sweeter Japanese curries.

Garlic, another favorite. One of the more flavor-packed ones!

Goma, or sesame. I’m not sure how I felt about this one…I think it was one of the blander ones.

Misonaisse, a miso-flavored mayo. Not bad, considering!

Piri piri. I liked this one a lot, actually. Kind of a herby, spicy number.

Spicy miso. Not bad, not bad at all.

Wasabi. Eeeh. Not sure it really goes with chicken…

On to dessert! Coffee jello, topped with cream. And I guess the ice cream must’ve come on the side, as I see it pictured in the background. I love coffee jello. It probably sounds rather strange to some people, but it’s actually quite good! I love the kind you can get at the Japanese grocery, though I can probably try making it myself..

Annin dofu is one of my favorite desserts ever EVER, so of course I had to get it. It’s almond-flavored jello in a sweet syrupy sauce topped with fruits (and sometimes, sweet bean paste). It’s called tofu, but it’s actually not really soy bean based. It’s made from almond milk solidified by agar. This one was just okay. I think the almond flavoring could’ve been stronger, and the texture was a bit on the grainy side. I like my almond jello to be smooth and silky!

I had a great time overall though, and it’s a shame they don’t have a Tsukuneya here, because it would be the place to BE for happy hour. I have great memories of this place. ♥ Special thanks to C, who took us here. (^O^)/

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