Saying Goodbye to Ishihara Market – A Beloved Kaua’i Institution
Ishihara Market a cherished westside institution serving fresh poke, plate lunches, and bentos in Waimea, Kaua’i will be closing its doors for good on Sunday Feb 12, 2023, at 6 pm.
Founded by Shoko Ishihara, a Japanese immigrant who arrived on Kauai in the early 1900s to work the fields at Kekaha Sugar Company has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1934. The family-run business was sold to Foodland an Oahu grocery chain store back in 2018 but kept the Ishihara name.
When I found out the news early this week morning, I knew we had to go. I got my oldest son in the car and with heavy hearts off we went to get one more meal. Upon arrival you could tell there was a different feel to the place, workers were only notified the day before and everyone in the building seemed a bit in shock, but the customer service that I grew to love was still there.
Too Many Great Options
We stood at the poke counter and ordered a good spread of ahi poke, shoyu ginger, Ishihara Original, and Chili Pepper. There’s so many to choose from it’s almost overwhelming but those 3 are my go-to.
I couldn’t forget about my wife Lynell, and I got her favorite – the Raw Kimchi Crab, she’d be ecstatic when we’d return.
I soon realized it was 11 o’clock, and local plate lunches were available to order I was just in time. Kalbi beef ribs with steamed vegetables and Roast Pork with Filipino noodles sounded perfect.
Upon coming home, we put everything out and proceeded to have a perfect lunch, the poke was fresh and flavorful, and plate lunches were piled high and amazing.
We couldn’t have asked for a better meal and we’re so thankful for all the memories Ishihara has given us throughout the years.
I hope to make it one last time before Sunday.
Ishihara Market – you will be sorely missed.
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Yoshi Yonemura is a Kaua’i based food and travel writer.
A Chef is in his own right – Yoshi and his partner & wife Lynell own the Dim ‘N’ Den Sum Food Truck located in Old Koloa Town/
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More Ishihara Market Photos