Kamikaze Sushi & Vietnamese Food: Banking on Broth
by Nate Gaddis
As a cauldron of fragrant, simmering liquid sits on the stove, Ray Miyazono explains what sets his newly opened restaurant apart from others.
“The Pho…our broth is simply the best,” asserts the co-owner of the newly opened Kamikaze Sushi & Vietnamese Food.
Miyazono has partnered with chef and Vietnam native David Leng to launch a restaurant concept featuring the culinary highlights of two very different cultures. The two met while both were working for Foodland Supermarkets, where Leng was a sushi chef.
“Originally, we were just looking for a place to do sushi” explains Miyazono, “but David felt like we really should add on Vietnamese food, which he’s so familiar with.”
Pho, a staple soup of Vietnam, has seen a surge of popularity in the West. Known for its rich broth and bright, flavorful condiments, it is quickly becoming a hit with health-conscious diners. Miyazono feels their version is among the best, and describes an hours-long process to prepare the all-important soup base for service.
Chef Leng also prepares Vietnamese-inspired entrees in the restaurant’s 440 square foot kitchen. The same four entrees appear on the menu from Monday through Wednesday, with a set of four new items from Thursday through Sunday.
Sushi selections range from Nigiri and Inari to the ubiquitous “California Roll.” Diners can pick up their sushi “bento style” or wait for it to be assembled to-order.
With Leng busy preparing Vietnamese food, Miyazono is interested in hiring an additional sushi chef. “We’re currently taking applications,” he says. “David is here all-hours now, and it’s time to bring someone in.”
According to Miyazono, the most difficult part of the process was finding a good location. “There just aren’t that many good places to open up,” he explains. When their current space became available in the Waiakea Food Court, next to the Hilo Wal-Mart, the pair moved quickly to secure their three year lease.
To market the business, Miyazono is relying for now on word-of-mouth and social media, explaining “my wife has started a Facebook page, but other than that we wanted a soft opening.”
Kamikaze Sushi & Vietnamese Food is located in the Waiakea Food Court at 315 Makaala Street, Hilo. Prices range from $6-10.
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.