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Hawaii: In Real Life ~ Tanioka’s

We visited the Waipahu hotspot to grab a plate lunch, a dozen musubis, and talk story


Posted January 9, 2013 by Melissa Chang

Whenever you mention Tanioka’s to local people, they get crazy and start salivating like Pavlov’s dog. Never mind that they’re all the way out in Waipahu; people seek them out for their fried chicken, poke, musubis, and assorted plate lunch selections. Get this: they once had an outlet downtown on Bishop Street, and had to close in less than a year. No, not because they were slow; they couldn’t keep up with the demand for their food, and couldn’t hire more staff fast enough to meet that demand. Talk about brand loyalty.

I was overwhelmed by the line — which goes out the door during peak hours — just to get some lunch. Tanioka’s marketing manager, Casey Fujimoto (@TaniokasWaipahu) said that you can just call ahead to order your plate lunch, as long as you know what you want, and not have to worry about lines or running out of food. Brilliant! I’m doing that from now on.

Anyway, as you know, I recently went to Paris to visit my nieces, who have been backpacking through Europe for the last few months. Now, when I travel, nothing hits the spot like a spam musubi, so I thought I’d surprise them with a variety of ricey goodness from home. Tanioka’s offers a wide variety of musubis, so they are the perfect choice if you want a little smorgasbord of snacks for yourself or your group. The problem was, how was I going to get these to Paris, which would be about 20 hours of flying, without them spoiling? Here’s Casey’s recommendations, and here’s how my nieces liked them:

(I know I could have chopped about 30 seconds out of that, but this was like a video postcard to their mom.)

We did stop to eat a plate lunch with Casey, and got to talk story about Tanioka’s, what’s new and popular, and their catering operations. Visit HawaiiIRL.com to see more!

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You can read all of Melissa’s blogs at www.nonstophonolulu.com/UrbanMixPlate. Follow Melissa on Twitter @Melissa808, on Foursquare as Melissa808, or email at Melissa@nonstophonolulu.com.

About Melissa Chang

Melissa has been blogging regularly since 2007 and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and public relations. She is currently an independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media. 

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