What are Saimin Noodles?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Saimin noodles are the star of saimin, a dish native to the American state of Hawaii. These noodles are egg and wheat-based, and are cooked to a soft texture. Some people confuse ramen noodles and saimin noodles, since the noodles look very similar and are used in similar dishes. Saimin noodles, however, are not naturally crinkly like ramen, instead becoming crinkly as they cook, and they are larger and softer than traditional ramen noodles.

These noodles can be rounded or squared, depending on the type of equipment used to make them. They are traditionally made long and folded for sale, and can be found in fresh and dried form. Dried saimin noodles can be extremely brittle, which is something to watch out for, and many people prefer to work with fresh noodles for greater flavor and flexibility.

In the dish known as saimin, saimin noodles are served in dashi broth with garnishes such as eggs, green onions, various preserved meats, and vegetables. This dish reflects the cultural fusion in Hawaii, blending Chinese style noodles with Japanese broth. The dish also includes a variety of ingredients and may be influenced by Filipino cuisine or other cultures prevalent in Hawaii.


Hawaiians treat saimin noodles as a food that can be eaten at any time of the day. It is also often considered a comfort food. Numerous noodle stands and restaurants across Hawaii offer saimin made with fresh noodles and other locally produced ingredients, and saimin is a common late-night snack across the islands. People also make saimin at home, using fresh, dried or frozen noodles and whatever ingredients they happen to have around the house.

Because of the egg, traditional saimin noodles are not suitable for strict vegetarians, and since the broth is often seafood or meat-based, it is important for flexible vegetarians to inquire before tucking into a bowl of saimin. Some ingredients which can be included in the broth in addition to those listed above are: radishes, dried fish, pineapple chunks, Spam, sprouts, Maui onions, and seaweed flakes. Saimin may also be garnished with soy or hot sauce.

Outside of Hawaii, saimin noodles can be difficult to find, although since the dish of the same name has spread to some American cities, they are growing more readily available in some regions. People can make a close approximation of saimin using any egg-based soft wheat noodle available in Asian markets, cooking the noodles in the broth and adding ingredients at the end so they have time to warm through while still remaining crisp and flavorful.


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Post 5

I grow radishes in my garden every year and usually eat them with a salad or even munch on them for a snack.

I had never had them served in a broth before. During my first visit to Hawaii I was served a broth that had saimin noodles and radishes in it. I didn't know if I would enjoy the radishes this way, but it tasted better than I thought it would.

It was a good reminder to me that there are many different ways to enjoy my favorite foods. This was also something I could easily make at home. If I am unable to find saimin noodles, I will use ramen noodles as a substitute.

Post 4

We went on a Hawaiian cruise a few years ago and I saw saimin noodles used in many ways. This was the first time I had heard of them. Since I like any kind of noodle, I knew these would taste great too.

One of the best dishes I had was a saimin noodle soup that was served on the cruise ship. This was perfect for a light evening meal. Since I was usually so stuffed from eating so much during the day, this hit the spot at the end of a long day.

Post 3

@simrin-- I have relatives that send me saimin noodles but I know that there are lots of online shops that sell Hawaiian grocery. You might want to pick one that's located in Hawaii, it will probably be more fresh that way.

I've tried my luck at Asian groceries before but haven't found any saimin noodles there.

Post 2

The best part about saimin noodles is that you don't need loads of ingredients to make it taste like something. I've tried all sorts of noodles over the years and something I've noticed with many is that they can be completely flavorless. You have to create amazing sauces and broths to infuse these noodles to actually taste like something. But that takes a lot of knowledge and lots of time.

Saimin noodles are already very flavorful and tasty on their own. So you can basically use any simple broth or sauce you want and the food will be on the table in 10-15 minutes. It doesn't have to sit in the sauces to absorb them, you can eat it right away.

That's why I always like to keep some saimin noodles at home when I'm tired and don't feel like cooking. I just boil the noodles, throw in some broth, spices and veggies and it's done.

Post 1

I also confused saimin and ramen when my family visited Hawaii last summer. They look really similar, but I think the broth and ingredients make saimin noodles more tasty. It may have seemed that way because I had the fresh kind too. My brother and I discovered a really good saimin stand and stopped by there for a snack everyday. The best part was that it was really affordable.

Saimin noodles are also served in McDonald's at Hawaii. They were a little different from the saimin stand's, but still really good. I wish American McDonald's had saimin noodles on the menu as well. It's really filling and also like soup, so it's nice to have that choice when you

feel like having something hot and comforting.

I think saimin noodles would be a great food when I'm sick. I actually saw saimin noodle mixes with the powder broth packets inside at the Hawaiian grocery but didn't think of bringing any with me. I wonder if I can purchase them online and make it at home?

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