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Tiny Dragon Slays Sushi in Hilo

July 1, 2016, 3:00 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 11:26 AM
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Hiroshi and Hikaru Sawamoto. Photo by Marla Walters.

Hiroshi and Hikaru Sawamoto are on a roll. Well, not literally, but they are cranking out some super-popular sushi rolls in their restaurant, Dragon Kitchen.

I found them in around the corner from the Hilo Farmers Market, (on the Kamehameha Street side), inside a storefront that houses, or incubates, a few fledgling businesses.

All Dragon’s sushi and poke is made to order.

You won’t find rolls that have been sitting in clamshells, languishing for a buyer, at the Dragon. There is an emphasis on freshness.

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What’s different about the Dragon? They use brown rice, only. This is important if you are watching your glycemic index. Brown rice also contains more fiber, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals than white rice.

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Nutrition science aside, let’s talk about the menu. They have the standard favorite rolls: California, spicy ahi, shrimp and Philadelphia rolls (eight pieces). If you aren’t into raw, the Tuna Mayo Cucumber contains no raw fish.

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Vegetarians will enjoy the Avocado Cucumber and Warabi (bracken fern) with avocado. Prices range from $4 (California) to $5.75 (Philadelphia). These are also available as Hand Rolls (Temaki) for $2.50 to $3.25.

Small rolls (hosomaki) are also on their menu and, aside from ahi, they have interesting vegetarian combinations: pickled plum and cucumber, cucumber, and sweet shiitake mushroom. Prices range from $2.75 to $3.50.

My office loves getting their takeout for office potlucks, and I am noting a few of our favorites:  salmon avocado, ahi Philadelphia, spicy ahi and the ume cu.

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The Dragon also does nigiri—rice, wasabi, and ahi, salmon, shrimp or inari—for $2 to $4.25.

Keeping up with the poke craze, the Dragon Kitchen is offering poke bowls. The ahi or spicy ahi bowls are only $7.50 each.

They also serve soba salad ($7), cold soba ($4) and a salad of local greens ($4).

Although there is some seating inside, I’d recommend getting it to go and heading for the beach!

Dragon Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Thursdays and Sundays. Located at 330 Kamehameha Ave.  (808) 386-9153. Parking: Street. Limited inside seating; cash only.

Poke specials at Dragon Kitchen. Photo by Marla Walters.

Poke specials at Dragon Kitchen. Photo by Marla Walters.

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Dragon Kitchen menu. Photo by Marla Walters.

Dragon Kitchen. Photo by Marla Walters.

Dragon Kitchen in Hilo. Photo by Marla Walters.

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