Visitors to the March 3 “Noodles and Bread” event at Hawaii’s Plantation Village on the grounds of the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park could choose from a variety of ethnic foods representing the diverse cultures of Hawai‘i’s immigrant history. Anchoring the day’s festivities was the rededication of the Shiroma Saimin Stand exhibit, featuring a saimin noodle-making machine that was donated to the outdoor museum in the former sugar plantation community of Waipahu in 1997.
Dozens of Shiroma family members, friends and well-wishers gathered around the newly renovated saimin stand for the rededication ceremony. A replica of the saimin stand was constructed years ago for HPV. The ceremony included a blessing, songs and a detailed history of Kama and Yukichi Shiroma, who, by all accounts, were hard-working and enterprising immigrants from Okinawa. They opened the saimin stand in 1932 in Waipahu’s Higashi Camp and kept it open more than 17 hours a day, seven days a week. The family-operated business sold its homemade noodles and hot broth, as well as a few other food items, for more than two decades.
Although the saimin stand is no longer operational, attendees could purchase hot saimin and teriyaki meat sticks as part of the rededication event in a nostalgic nod to the stand’s founders and their descendants. A number of Shiroma relatives went on to start their own food service businesses in Hawai‘i, carrying on the family tradition beyond Higashi Camp. At the conclusion of the rededication, a descendant of the Shiroma Saimin Stand founders presented a generous donation to Hawaii’s Plantation Village on behalf of the family, to help maintain the exhibits for future generations. — by Kevin Kawamoto