No Ramen in Shreveport? Say ‘Aloha’ to Saimin

Featured photo: A photo of a bowl of saimin soup, a popular Hawaiian noodle soup that is a lot like Japanese ramen.

If I were asked to name one food item that’s popular across the U.S. but strangely unavailable in Shreveport-Bossier, I’d say “ramen.” The national ramen craze of the last few years may have come and gone, for the most part, but there’s still not a great bowl of artfully made ramen in North Louisiana, as far as I know (and if I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments!). But, in the unpredictable style of Shreveport-Bossier’s food community, we honestly may have skipped ahead to something better than traditional ramen. Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine, a food truck that debuted earlier this year at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market, will be introducing a winter menu on Nov. 1, 2016 that includes saimin (pronounced sigh-men), Hawaii’s answer to ramen.

A photo of Ono's Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine
Sione Maumalanga is the owner of Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine, a food truck based in Shreveport. Photo: Jim Noetzel

The soup consists of a rich, bracing bowl of broth filled with springy noodles, soy sauce-flavored chicken (called “shoyu chicken” in Hawaii, after the Japanese term for soy sauce), baby bok choi, scallions, carrots, a boiled egg and sliced SPAM. The soup broth is a four-hour broth according to Ono’s owner Sione Maumalanga, but it possesses a complexity and a depth of flavor that I’d expect to find in a broth that had simmered for 18 hours. At the risk of sounding a little too starstruck by this bowl of soup, it was simply one of the best things that I have eaten in 2016. When Ono’s rolls out their seasonal menu on Nov. 1, I highly recommend tracking down their truck and giving saimin a try – especially if you are among those who’s been craving local ramen.

The best way to keep up with the location of the Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine food truck is by checking their Facebook page.

318 Restaurant Week is Coming!
If you love local food, please check out what the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and The Times are doing with the first-ever 318 Restaurant Week, Nov. 1-5, 2016. There’ll be nightly food events, prix fixe lunch and dinner menus and more at 16 restaurants in downtown Shreveport. Please consider supporting this event so that it can expand in 2017. 

There’s also a foodie-friendly giveaway going – sign up here to enter to win a two-night stay at Eldorado Resort Casino in Shreveport and $150 in dining credit at The Vintage Steakhouse

3 comments

  1. I lived in Hawaii for 13 years. My wife worked for S&S Saimin in Honolulu.
    I have never seen Saimin like this. Mine always had char siu, kamaboku, scallions, etc. Never had bok choy, chicken, or carrots. Whether from food truck, Anna Miller’s, or McDonald’s.

    1. Isn’t it awesome how everyone puts their own unique spin on things, Mr. Stinson? Sione Maumalanga, the Hawaiian native who owns and operates Ono’s, certainly has a right to prepare saimin how he’d like, as do you. I loved the Ono’s version and would enjoy trying yours!

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