It’s been a year since I’ve joined the Nonstop team, and during this time, I’ve eaten some of the best meals of my life and shared them with a fantastic group of people. With big changes upon us, it’s a good time to reflect and look back at the food that brings me back. Way back.
I remember playing with pogs, being frustrated with AOL’s dial-up service, blowing into Super Nintendo cartridges to make them work and watching Pokemon at four in the afternoon. I grew up on school cafeteria pizza, Koala Yummies, Snack Pack Pudding and Raven’s Revenge. Mom would cook quick and easy home meals like hamburger corn, cream of celery and tuna over rice, golden curry and chicken tofu casserole, but never Kraft mac and cheese or Chef Boyardee. I would go to grandpa’s and grandma’s house to watch cable TV, drink Coca Cola, eat Dinty Moore beef stew, TV dinners, Hot Pockets, pizza bagels and Meadow Gold ice cream cups.
Growing up on the Leeward side, I had a very different upbringing than my “townie” friends in high school. They missed out on some of my favorite eats from “our side of the island.” Although we’ll never again be able to run through the aisles of Arakawa General Store or taste the sweet nectar of Pepsi Blue or Sprite Remix, many places remain that have the “hanabata days” charm we often forget living in an age of smart phones, text messaging and cable Internet. To this day, the draw of nostalgic places like Tanioka’s, Sato’s Okazuya, Forty-Niner and Kilani Bakery still pull me in for a taste of childhood.
Long gone are the days of watching Nickelodeon while eating Gushers, but the indelible memories of food shared with mom, dad, grandpa and grandma remains. Here are my comfort food dishes that bring me back to the carefree days.
Dong Yang Inn (2 of 5)
My father grew up in Wahiawa and used to bring me to the places he loved as a child. Dong Yang Inn is a small Korean restaurant that has stood the test of time with a menu and recipes unchanged for decades. The meat jun is arguably the best on the island with thick cuts of tender beef piled high on each takeout plate. The batter is just the right amount of fluffy egg balanced by the oil of frying on cookware where this dish has been prepared thousands of times. The rice is packed tight in the bottom of the container, making it easier to pick up with chopsticks. And the veggies are crisp and refreshing in this delicious meal.
My first meal back each trip home from college would be a Dong Yang meat jun plate. I still find myself craving this huge plate lunch regularly and venture out to Wahiawa just for this hidden gem.
Dong Yang Inn
546 Olive Ave., Wahiawa