Waikiki is hardly considered a hub for local Hawaiian food, but luckily there’s a gem hiding behind the Grand Regency Hotel: Iyamuse Musubi.
At Iyasume Musubi the menu is actually quite extensive, with all sorts of bento mixes and matches, Japanese curry bowls, and even udon noodles, but I went to investigate the musubis, SPAM musubi to be exact.
You order at the counter, pay, and they get everything together for you, whether you get takeaway or sit in.
Though it’s a really small shop, there are two tables inside, and one table outside – but the majority of customers grab and go.
The tray of SPAM musubis is the highlight (at least for myself), but there were also a bunch of different other musubis to order, as well as a pretty nice selection of pre-made bento boxes.
The musubi tray was pretty full when we arrived to eat, but due to my hunger an excitement I failed to take photos of it before eating, and when I had finished, the platter was getting low (I’m sure they were working on more to replenish the stock).
So anyway, let’s get on the goodness of the food.
There was no way I could eat at Iyasume Musubi without just a classic original SPAM musubi.
The SPAM was cut nice and thick, nicely covering a handmade ball of rice (not a black this time, but more like a small ball), and tied together with a strip of seaweed – it looks liked an oversize nigiri sushi – a beautiful thing.
Immediately after taking my first bite, the rice stood out to me.
The rice was impressively delicious, perfectly cooked, and I could just tell it was of utmost quality. And after reading the review on The Tasty Island, I saw that they use the super premium extra fancy rice.
The combination of SPAM, a drizzle of soy sauce, and some of the best rice I’ve ever had, made it amazing.
Price – $1.88
I had never eaten a cucumber SPAM ume (which is plum sauce) musubi, so that was another I had to try.
It was equally delicious, the same glorious rice, but this time topped with a spread of ume plum sauce, and thinner piece of SPAM, a slice of cucumber, and seaweed.
Price – $2.48
Now you can see that interior of this wonderful treat.
I loved the fresh crunch from the cucumber and the sweet saltiness from the plum mingling with the SPAM. It was great.
To round things off for my mid-morning lunch at Iysasume Musubi, I dug through the stack of bentos and decided on rice with karaage fried chicken and a piece of salmon.
It was really good, and the flavors were fantastic, but I’m not all that big of a fan of fried chicken that’s not fresh out of the oil. But overall, a good bento, though I loved the SPAM musubis the best.
Again though, the rice they used was superb.
I almost couldn’t believe how good the rice was, and not only that it was super high quality, but it was cooked with precision. You can just tell that’s some artisan rice that’s cooked with care.
I was going to try to hold back from eating three SPAM musubis in a single sitting, but finally, there was nothing I could do; I couldn’t resist a taste of the bacon and egg SPAM musubi.
Price – $2.48
It was just as delicious as the previous two, the rice cooked with expertise, and the SPAM, egg, slice of bacon, and seaweed all complementing each other like a family.
It was all you could ask for in a single handheld treat.
Again, Waikiki has some good Japanese restaurants, but it’s not exactly the best are to pick up good local Hawaii food in Honolulu. Luckily, Iyasume Musubi stands out as a gem in Waikiki.
Iyasume Musubi – Waikiki, Honolulu
Open hours: Monday to Friday from 6:30 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 am – 4:00 pm
Address: 2410 Koa Avenue, Hale Waikiki Hotel, #4, Honolulu, HI 96815
How to get there:
Iyamuse Musubi is located on the back side of the Grand Hyatt Regency. I parked at the zoo, walked down Kalakaua until Uluniu Ave, made a right and then made a left on Koa Ave. Iyasume Musubi is on your right hand side, on the back side of the hotel, and tucked down the side of a building.