WEI WEI BBQ & NOODLE HOUSE
I’ve been feeling sick for the past couple of days: sore throat, fever, sniffles. I was horrified when I found out the early symptoms of the dreaded swine flu were similar to those of the common cold/flu. After a doctor reassured me that I just had a bad cold, I realized I would need some serious comfort food. However, chicken soup wouldn’t do for this island girl. When sickness or merely the urge for saimin kicks in, I head over to Wei Wei. Their broth is hot and their noodles are long, essentials for any saimin. And if I really am as sick as I feel, I can always head over to the nearby church for last rites. 210 Imi Kala St., Wailuku, 242-7928.
HOME MAID CAFE
Saimin is a magical substance. It recalls happy memories of childhood and the warm steam from the broth temporarily clears clogged sinuses. Furthermore, the noodles are easy to eat. You don’t want to be struggling with your food when you’re also struggling to get out of bed. If you’re sick on the South side, Home Maid Cafe is the place to find scrumptious saimin for breakfast or lunch. And if you really need an additional pick-me-up, they serve yummy malasadas as well. 1280 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 874-6035.
It’s tough to feel miserable at A.K.’s Cafe. The servers are friendly and you’re almost always guaranteed a table. The restaurant is casual enough that you could show up in your sweats, but the food is good enough for a business lunch. (Not that you’d go on a business lunch when you’re sick, of course.) Sit yourself down at a table with tissues in one hand and chopsticks in the other. When you’re done with the local version of chicken noodle soup, go ahead and slurp up the broth. You’re sick, people will forgive the lapse in manners. 1237 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 244-8774.
Sam Sato’s is one of the last great saimin spots on Maui. It seems that all the other historic saimin houses have left the island for good, yet Sam Sato’s still stands tall. Here you can order your food and know that they’ve been serving the same delicious saimin since your hanabata (little kid) days. Maybe your mom can’t write a note excusing you from class anymore, but at least you’ve got saimin. 1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, 244-7124.
There’s something to be said about quantity. If you’re looking to scare that cold away with the sheer quantity of noodles you can eat, you should definitely head over to Ramen Ya. They’ll serve you bowls of noodles bigger than your head (unless you’re, ahem, a certain contributing writer for a certain alt weekly). Don’t worry; your stomach won’t be able to tell the difference between ramen and saimin. To be honest, saimin is just the Hawaii version of ramen. But, if you’re a purist and only want saimin to cease your sniffles, Ramen Ya has saimin listed on the menu, just for you. Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, 873-9688. MTW