Waikiki is back, fresher and more vibrant than ever and ready to welcome visitors back to the islands. Like the rest of the world, the pandemic rocked Waikiki as the neighborhood experienced a dramatic shift from a bustling tourist hotspot to dead-quiet and empty streets for nearly two years. But the long pause on tourism brought about the opportunity for an influx of transformations, multi-million dollar renovations and exciting new businesses to enter the Waikiki scene.
Here’s a glimpse of what Waikiki looks like today: Hotels like the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the Hale Koa Hotel completed major renovations, and the sprawling Hilton Hawaiian Village is currently building a new 515-room tower. Visitors may be surprised to see T Galleria by DFS is closed down for renovations. The energetic (free!) hula shows are back, starting Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Kuhio Beach. And, the weekly Friday evening fireworks by Hilton are bigger and brighter than ever.
The most exciting addition to Waikiki is Hawai‘i’s ONLY Asian food hall STIX ASIA, which opened its doors in February 2023 on the lower level of Waikiki Shopping Plaza. Positioned to be the ultimate cultural epicenter for food and education, STIX ASIA is the only place in Hawai‘i where visitors can explore Asian cuisines from countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and more through 17 food vendors – all in one place.
Explore popular original eateries to Michelin Guide-rated establishments and even an Asian-inspired cocktail bar featuring some of the most sought-after spirits. There’s a wealth of options ranging from noodle soups, A5 wagyu yakiniku, from-scratch dumplings, green tea parfaits using authentic matcha, crisp tempura, freshly made udon noodles, and fresh sushi reminiscent of Tokyo’s fish auctions in Tsukiji and Toyosu. Gracing the walls throughout STIX ASIA are posters and murals that share the cultural roots of Asia so patrons can learn about the history and evolution of these iconic Asian cultures and dishes.
“We are thrilled to open in Waikiki. This bustling, eclectic and exciting neighborhood is truly one-of-a-kind,” says Frank Clark, CEO of STIX ASIA. “One of the many things we are proud about Hawai‘i is the acceptance and diversity of different ethnicities and cultures. I love how STIX ASIA reflects that diversity by sharing various Asian countries and traditions in one space.”
“It is my hope that visitors will stop by on their next trip to Hawai‘i, experience everything this space has to offer and leave with a better understanding and appreciation of the countries STIX ASIA represents,” says Clark.
The 13 of 17 tenants already open are:
- Honolulu Noodle & Co. – Authentic Taiwanese cuisine blended with Western and Hawaiian flavors for a uniquely island experience. Signature soup noodles, dry noodles spruced up by mala spices or soothing sesame sauce, and piping hot potstickers will have patrons noodling for more.
- nana’s green tea – Matcha-based lattes & parfaits, plus traditional Japanese sweets, in a modern, minimalist space makes its return that earned it the number one slot among Japan’s cafes.
- Shingen – Honolulu’s beloved authentic Japanese noodle specialty eatery settles in with noodles made in Hawaii using fresh buckwheat flour imported from Hokkaido. A variety of small dishes, fish and meat plates, ethereal tempura, and rice dishes complement the variety of soba and udon noodles, including the original light red udon noodles crafted by kneading ube sweet potato powder into the dough.
- Nabe Aina – Savor an exquisite collection of Pan-Pacific hotpots featuring an alluring signature golden broth or grill an assortment of seafood and meat (including A5 wagyu meat) for a fun yakiniku experience at your table. Traverse the spectrum of Asian flavors with the nabe sets including kimchee nabe, tom yum nabe, ma la nabe, miso nabe, and seafood & tofu nabe that come complete with a selection of meats, seafoods, and vegetables.
- Cafe Nala – This island-style cafe features a one-of-a-kind, locally-made “croffle” which is a hybrid between a croissant and waffle. Also available are boba tea drinks, gelato and home-grown coffee, satisfying both the sweet and savory cravings.
- Udon Yama – Homemade Sanuki udon noodles are crafted from a renowned family recipe, hailing from Kagawa, Japan. The thick cut noodles that feature a firm, yet springy texture are bathed in an aromatic soup stock made with dried sardines, kelp, soy sauce, and other seasonings. Enjoy them with a variety of toppings, complemented by tempura-fried specialty sides.
- NANAMUSUBI – This musubi, or rice ball, specialty counter uses only the finest ingredients. Featuring organic rice, the savory musubi are paired with a variety of fillings which seduce the palate via the natural aromas and flavors.
- Shanghai Bar – The Asian fusion bar located in the heart of STIX ASIA offers innovative and trendy cocktails, along with an impressive selection of whiskey, bourbon, scotch, including their Asian counterparts, as well as gin, tequila, vodka, sake, shochu, and draft beers. The upscale ambiance certainly has an air of sophistication but is still welcoming for people from all walks of life.
- Baikohken – The famous Michelin Guide ramen shop known for their shoyu broth from Sapporo, Hokkaido makes its way from Asahikawa to Hawaii.
- K Street Food Waikiki – The variety of traditional Korean street food makes for one of the most impressive selections in Hawaii. Enjoy tasty dishes such as tteokbokki and Korean-style battered corn dog with a variety of customizable filings. Experience K-town in Waikiki!
- Sushi Matsuri – Using only the freshest seafood and local ingredients, this sushi concept from Setouchi, Japan features a variety of authentic nigiri and maki-sushi.
- ao gelato – Delightful tropical fruits and premium teas are transformed into alluring gelato, made locally in Hawaii.
. Gashoken – The authentic tonkotsu ramen from Kobe boasts an exclusive broth with an abundance of flavors that is sure to please the most discerning of ramen fans.
These four will be opening soon:
- Ramen Akatsuki – A new ramen sensation in Japan featuring handmade noodles wading in a savory clear tonkotsu-style broth.
- Tempura Kiki – The traditional Japanese tempura here is the result of a dedicated effort to use premium ingredients, resulting in light and crispy textures.
- Tangmi – Southeast Asian food offering a combination of rice, fish, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs, and other fresh ingredients are integrated into vibrant, fragrant and complex flavored dishes.
- love & eel – Taste the various grilled eel dishes and experience authentically prepared unagi.
A retail space is also slated to open, offering logo items and specialty products.
STIX ASIA is located in the lower level of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza, at 2250 Kalakaua Avenue. The food hall is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.stixasia.com or call (808) 744-2445. For press inquiries, please contact Maria Kanai at (808) 457-2525 or email@example.com.