One of the joys of traveling is discovering tasty cuisine in hole-in-the-wall restaurants beloved by locals and unknown to tourists. Tokyo Tei is one of those types of spots that provides excellent, authentic Japanese dishes in an inauspicious setting.
Tokyo Tei has two secrets to its success. First, it has authentic, tasty Japanese food that keeps people coming back. The food comes out piping hot from the kitchen when ordered. Plus, when you order a full meal, you get complimentary miso soup, pickled cabbage (koko), rice, and hot tea. The value and quality are both second-to-none, which keeps it a popular spot with locals and those who find this hidden gem.
The second reason behind Tokyo Tei’s success is that it serves as a staple among locals who feel like family when they dine here. Many members of the staff have served customers for decades, and visitors to the restaurant feel authentically welcomed as soon as they walk in. Many people come in with fond memories of visiting the restaurant years before and are pleased to find equally good food and service.
Visitors seeking to sample great-tasting food should ask for local recommendations. Tokyo Tei is one of those places that hotels might not tell visitors about but one which locals praise. Located in an unassuming office plaza with its entrance at the back of a parking garage, the approach to this restaurant does not indicate the flavorful food you’ll have inside. Even foodies venture here for the food, despite the exterior’s lack of ambiance. Trust the local advice and discover why Tokyo Tei has been serving those in Wailuku for decades.
Don’t miss the following recommended by previous visitors to Tokyo Tei:
Lightly fried vegetables in a crisp batter will make even non-vegetable loves addictively crunch into this dish. You can order Vegetable Tempura as an entree for lunch or dinner. When ordered like this, it comes with rice, miso soup, and koko. However, you may also substitute it for the shrimp tempura on any of the Teishoku Trays, which provide samples of three different entrees.
You won’t regret ordering the Shrimp Tempura from Tokyo Tei. Like the Vegetable Tempura, the shrimp version has a light, crispy batter coating each piece. Visitors have called it the best version of this dish in Hawaii. It is one of the signature dishes from Tokyo Tei. It is so popular that it appears in more than one place on the menu. You may choose a full entree order of this tempura. However, you also have the option to sample it as part of four out of the five Teishoku Trays.
A favorite Hawaiian dish, Misoyaki Butterfish uses Japanese ingredients, such as miso, mirin, and sake, and marinates black cod (black-skinned sablefish) with them to create the distinctive flavor of butterfish. The salty miso, sweet mirin, and dry sake blend together to balance well with the flavors of the fish. Occasionally, the restaurant may use the freshest fish in season if it cannot get quality black cod for this dish.
Grilled beef sliced into strips and served with a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce is one of the house favorites of Tokyo Tei. Buttery tender steak strips may not require a knife to cut through. The mild flavors and well-cooked beef elevate this simple dish to the top spot for many visitors. Plus, long-time visitors report that the Teriyaki Steak tastes just as good as they remember it. You can find this dish as one of the entrees on the Teishoku B Tray or as a dinner served with rice, miso, and pickled cabbage.
Dine at a local favorite spot for Japanese food and visit Tokyo Tei. You’ll experience a no-frills restaurant that focuses on quality food and friendly service. Next time you’re hungry, go off the beaten path to Tokyo Tei.
-Plenty of parking in the covered area in front of the restaurant, but it can become busy if you visit late due to crowds at the nearby bars taking up spots. There is also more parking behind the building in the uncovered lot.
-You cannot see the restaurant from the street. Look for Puuone Plaza, which is a two-story building with an open parking garage on the first floor. Tokyo Tei is located at the back of the parking area.