Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii

Hawaiian | Japanese
One of the best

The classic Hawaiian plate lunch follows simple, loose rules. Meats are scooped into styrofoam alongside rice and macaroni salad.  Common variations are fish plate lunch specialists, and Hawaiian BBQ versions. Some of our favorite varieties are the Japanese versions. The Japanese style is often known as Okazu-ya (Japanese for “with rice”). They are typically casual cafeteria counters, and sometimes known as Japanese delis. They offer teriyaki, katsu and udon noodles served with Hawaiian flair. Ichiban Okazuya is an old, and beloved example of the Hawaiian-Japanese deli on Maui. 

The crowd here is blue collar, and we found ourselves lined up behind construction workers and elementary school students getting their afternoon meal. Even at busy times, the family that has been running this place for over thirty years is very sweet and willing to help guide you through their unique options for plate lunch sides and mains.

The vegetable choices may be the best part of the plate, and it’s hard to find good veggies on usually gloppy Hawaiian lunch plates. Picked daikon and carrots, with nori make a cool, refreshing choice. Stewed potatoes, burdock and lotus in a sweet sauce, nishime, are comforting. Which one to choose, may depend on the weather in Wailuku. For plate lunch purists, mac salad is available, but we can’t fathom choosing it again over the excellent veggies. Local favorite, chicken long rice, was another memorable side. This resembles the Korean noodle dish jap chae, but with the starch (not rice) noodles already chopped up into pieces. This warm noodle salad has large pieces of tender dark meat chicken and shiitake mushrooms. The flavors are savory and rich with absorbed broth.

The garlic sautéed mahi mahi is average, and the Korean chicken tastes like take-out General Tso’s. Neither were offensive, and their lack of impact left us to focus on the thing that the restaurant does very best, Japanese-style Tonkatsu cutlets. Pork or Chicken are given the schnitzel treatment, but with Japanese panko breadcrumbs and an unusually dark fry. The dark brown color brings out the sweetness in the bread. The crust stays crispy and the meat within is moist and juicy. If you have a sweet tooth you can punch it up with a drizzle of the Tonkatsu sauce served alongside, but we thought that the katsu was good enough to be enjoyed without any sticky condiments. A katsu with perfectly steamed rice and the pickled vegetable salad made for one of our favorite plate lunches ever. 

What to Eat
Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii, Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch
Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch
The chicken kastu is as good as we've had on either side of the Pacific.
Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii, Chicken Long Rice
Chicken Long Rice
A flavorful, filling Hawaiian classic done excellently.
Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii, Mac Salad
Mac Salad
Thsi place makes great noodles, but the mac salad is just average.
Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii, Korean Chicken
Korean Chicken
Korean Chicken is a nice substitute for any take-out cravings.
Ichiban Okazuya Hawaii, Garlic Mahi Mahi Plate Lunch
Garlic Mahi Mahi Plate Lunch
The Garlic Mahi Mahi was flavorful, and generous, but a tad firm.
Directions and Hours
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Sam Sato’s

    Wailuku, Hawaii

    Sam Sato’s specializes in Saimin, Hawaii’s riff on Ramen. However, dry noodles are the “mein” attraction: one of the best noodle bowls anywhere.

  • Hana Farms

    Hana, Hawaii

    A working organic farm with a superb concession shop, Hana bakes special treats that include famous banana bread.

  • Tobi’s Shave Ice

    Paia, Hawaii

    The shave ice is nice at this surfer spot, and made-to-order poke is one of the best best bites on the North Shore of Maui.

  • Pono Pies

    Kahului, Hawaii

    Pono is a warehouse kitchen open six days a week for retail, selling great custard pies that are gluten- and dairy-free. Breadfruit is the key.

  • Coconut Glen’s

    Hana, Hawaii

    A coconut ice cream purveyor on a lonely curve on the Road to Hana, Coconut Glen makes dairy-free ice cream that’s even better than some with butterfat.

  • Thai Mee Up

    Kahului, Hawaii

    A jewel in the Kahalui airport adjacent “Plate Lunch Plaza” food truck park, Thai Mee Up serves the flavors of Thailand with Hawaiian sensibilities.