Why is a realtor writing a blog about food? A few reasons, actually.
First of all, who doesn’t love food. Feed your realtor and he or she will search the ends of every rainbow in Hawaii for the perfect house for you. Well, honestly, we’ll do that even if you don’t feed us.
Second, Aloha Boy realtors Jason Larsen and I are foodies. We love puttering in the kitchen, trying out new things, putting our own spin on existing recipes, or creating our own new recipes.
Third, our broker, knowing that both Jason and I went to Le Cordon Bleu’s Culinary Arts program in Seattle, suggested that every home has one thing in common – a kitchen. And we should capitalize shamelessly on that!
So, we’re always looking out for great new restaurants, as well as good old standby’s. And I can’t believe we missed Tetsumen Tonkotsu Ramen in Hilo. It opened in April of 2018, and we wandered in on an afternoon when the place looked open, but discovered they were holding an invitation-only soft opening, to give their employees a chance to become the well-oiled machine they now are.
We forgot about them. Until a year later, when a friend from the Netherlands “discovered” the place and requested his farewell dinner there before going home.
The title of this blog post is “NOW I’m a Ramen fan.” And for good reason. Of the many places I’ve tried ramen on the Big Island, Tetsumen is the first that demonstrates they get the range of preferences people might have for their ramen. And so far, all I’ve experienced is “gummy” anywhere else.
But Just like Americans and Italians (and probably Liliputians too), some of us like our pasta al dente, and some of us prefer it absorbed full of liquid, making it a creamy conduit for all manner of sauces. And Tetsumen gets that, offering their “firm”, “regular”, and “soft” (interpreted as “al dente”, “done”, and, well, “pillowy soft”.)
The variety of ramen bowls is pretty large, and interesting. Flavor profiles include regular, shoyu, miso, curry, spicy (but not too), and a handful of others that almost everyone can enjoy. From there, you can choose additions, like cut-corn, pork belly, pork roast, butter (yep), green onion, boiled eggs, to name a few.
Finally, you’ll be asked if garlic is ok (DUH!), and whether you want yours with loads of pork fat or just a little. Personally, I found “just a little” to be “just enough.” And being a little cheeky, I have to say if you’re a Vampire Jew It Sucks To Be You! (yeah, don’t jump all down my throat – I’d LOVE to sell a house to a Vampire -- Jewish or not), and anyone else too!) We’ll make real Bloody Mary’s at your house warming.
There’s a lot to love about Tetsumen. Including many other non-ramen, non-pork, non-garlic dishes that anyone can find pleasure and not feel left out. It’s flavorful, varied, and you’re highly unlikely to leave unsated. The restaurant is small, decorated in a way you’d expect to see in Tokyo, colorful, comfortable and accommodating to singles, couples, and groups at family style tables.
People are giving rave reviews of this place. On my most recent visit, the owner stood on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, wearing his Japanese Geta shoes, and welcomed me to my front row parking spot! I didn’t understand a word of his greeting, but it was fun to arrive the clop-clop-clop sound of his shoes on the sidewalk and holding open the door.
Go soon. Just get there. Go on with ya, now.
Located in: Manono Street Marketplace
Address: 697 Manono St suite 103, Hilo, HI 96720
Hours: Daily, 11 AM to 9 PM
Phone: (808) 934-0516
www.Tetsumen.com (translated to English)
Jeff Calley is a Realtor® in East Hawaii, whose background also includes work and management in varied industries, such as travel and tourism, electrical contracting, health care, and on-air broadcast, producing and content management for radio stations in Seattle and Palm Springs. During a sabbatical he took in 2009, he drove (literally) around the USA before undertaking a full curriculum at Le Cordon Bleu, graduating with top honors at the end of the year. When he's not helping people realize their real estate goals, he keeps busy with website management for AlohaBoysProperties.com as well as other websites. And if there's enough time left over, he photographs and makes video content for real estate websites and Multiple Listing Services. He's presently working on acquiring his commercial drone pilot's license (though he finds it funny that his helicopter pilot's license doesn't qualify!)