What Is Saimin?

A popular noodle soup that was first developed in China and was developed by various immigrants in Hawaii is Saimin. This dish is inspired the Chinese Mein, Japanese ramen and the Filipino pancit, but it was developed during the plantation era in Hawaii. It is served with soft egg and wheat noodles that are served in hot dashi broth and is topped with green onions.

This dish is sharing some common features with Okinawa Soba like its broth and noodles yet with big differences when it comes to the toppings. Okinawa and China have close relations at first and have shown great relationship with where the noodle soup has originated. Aside from the contributions of these countries, there is also a pan-fried version of this soup and is inspired by the Filipino pancit. This is popularly served at fairgrounds and carnivals and during parties.

It is also recognized as one of the traditional dish in Hawaii. Traditionally, it was prepared with the dashi or broth along with other ingredients like green onions, eggs, and charsiu. Through the following years, more ingredients were used and are added as toppings or mixed with the noodles to get more flavors and improve its garnishing.

Saimin gained popularity for being a fast food dish served on the plantations especially in the 20th century at the Honolulu Stadium. This was a popular dish served during sporting venues along popular dishes like hamburgers and hot dogs not only in various restaurants and other fast food chains within the islands. It was also chosen as the healthy alternative for various school meals and was served as regular meal for students.

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