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that ordering system does suck! I'll stick to eating (and ordering normally) this at home (in Hawaii).


They have a regular ordering system at the Kua'aina in Yokohama (red brick warehouses), but that's the only one I've been to.
I never tried thier bugers, but I did enjoy the onion rings!

Alan from Makiki

OK so I am finally driven to post.

The Kua'aina here in HI is pretty much a normal burger joint. From what I gather it started on the North Shore and spread from there mostly due to write ups in travel books. I haven't eaten there in quite a few years as I feel that it isn't as good as it once was but after reading your post I will be going there this week.

That being said - I really enjoy reading your blog not just for the foodie posts but also because I find it interesting to read about daily life in Japan.

Alan from Makiki


I had some tempura battered onion rings over the weekend and decided that tempura onion rings were all I wanted from now on.


I've eaten there, and I think the reason for the screwy system is otherwise it would be too crowded in the shop for people to both line up and sit down to eat. The area in front of the cash is quite small. I was there on a Saturday afternoon, and the line stretched all around the outside eating area! As for the pressure, I just hum a bit and only look at the menu - I never make eye contact! It just makes me nervous.


Thanks Kat.

Saint, glad to know not all the shops do that!

Thanks for the post Alan! I think a place like Kua'aina would be far less impressive outside of Japan. Real burgers are enough of a novelty that it probably doesn't take much to please foreigners with cravings and Japanese who've never tasted the real thing.

Vanessa, those do sound good but I don't think tempura batter can ever be as thick and crunchy as a proper onion ring calls for...

Nakji, yeah that makes sense but I can't help suspecting they also want to have a line that is visible to passersby, as nothing attracts customers here like a long line!
Hmm, not making eye contact is a good strategy, I'll have to try that. My husband will line up and not even look at the menu until he is at the counter, and happily make the cashier wait while he carefully reads the whole thing and slowly makes up his mind. Having worked for many years in the service industry I could never do that, as I know how annoying it must be!

Ms J

Hi Amy!!

It's definitely more expensive and certainly not burger related, but you *must* try the lunch set at Salt (Shin-Marou bldg, 5F).



hi amy, i've been meaning to try this burger place! Chris from egullet said it's one of her favourite burger places in Japan. There's branch in Omotesando right near where I live. I don't think I've ever seen a line outside but that's probably b/c I'm always too busy looking at the giant bubble tea poster.
On another note, we had dinner at a Brazilian BBQ place with some of Leigh's colleagues and it happened to be right next door to Salt (the chef/owner is Australian and was quite popular on TV back in Melbourne), and I quickly read the menu and it was very interesting. I guess Jane liked the set lunch!?


You know the burgers here in the UK must really suck, because I swear the BEST burger I've ever had in my life was in Japan at Lotteria ...

Mama BoK

You are right about willing to pay extra for a taste of home. It's the same for me here.. but i can't even find anything close to home.


My Hawaii brother introduced me to the Kua'aina on the North Shore of Oahu years ago and I still love going there when I'm home for a visit. When I lived in Japan many years ago, hamburgers of any sort were completely unknown and hotdogs tasted like fish. Enjoy the improvements!


"I also wanted to order a bubble tea (this is the only place I've ever seen it sold in Tokyo)"

If you find yourself near the new Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara, there is bubble tea down on the 1st floor right outside the entrance. Pretty good approximation of what I used to get in Chinatown in Toronto...


no such system in Hawaii - the avocado burger is the best, they put on an entire half avocado and sprinkle it with rock salt. the fries really need to be rethought, The Grass Skirt Grill has the best garlic fries around now..


Ms J, I definitely haven't forgetten your raves about the place! Nice meals out will be few and far between for the next little while, but I do have a plan to take a certain special someone there on a certain special occasion...

Shan, if you're missing real burgers than Kui'aina is the place to go for sure. And I've heard Salt recommended by so many people, can't wait to try it!

Meemalee, that's funny! I do think that Japanese fast food franchises do a good job with fast food burgers, but that type of burger is an entirely different animal to the big, juicy "gourmet" type that Kui'aina serves.

Poor Mama Bok! I'll consider myself lucky.

Zoomie, those fish sausages are still around, and I've kind of grown fond of them! Glad I came to Japan when I did though!

Thank you Drew! It's funny, since I posted this I've suddenly discovered a few places that do bubble tea: Denny's and DomDom. Maybe it's making a bit of a comeback here?

Oh Wendy, I wish I liked avacado! I want to like it, it looks so good and I love your description...

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