HONOLULU (KHON2) — McDonald’s locations in Hawaii have bid aloha to a local favorite.
Saimin is no longer available at the fast-food chain and KHON2 learned it is because their local supplier closed after nearly 90 years in business.
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Okahara Saimin told KHON2 that the employees who made their noodles are retiring and the company needs to close for good after being an island favorite since the 1930s.
McDonald’s was a 40-year client of Okahara Saimin and said they stopped selling the snack without an immediate plan to start up again.
One Honolulu resident told KHON2 that he grew up on Okahara Saimin at McDonald’s.
“It’s good, one of the best ones,” Frankie said. “I don’t know, my mom loves it.”
Another Oahu resident said he will need to go somewhere else for the snack; Both L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Zippy’s said they are not affected.
“I mean, L&L always has saimin too, so you know, I gotta support local. Other than that, not really sure where else I’ll be going, you know?” Pearl City resident Josh Nicely said.
One big concern folks told KHON2 was that saimin is such a huge staple in Hawaii and having it at a fast-food chain provided accessibility while they were on the go.
“That’s kind of a bummer honestly, being able to get saimin specifically at McDonald’s has always been one of the cool things about Hawaii and growing up as a kid I’ve always eaten saimin,” Nicely said.
Locals told KHON2 that Okahara Saimin has not only been around for as long as they can remember — it was good, too.
“It’s been here for a while, they actually have good saimin. So, it’s sad to see they’re not going to have it anymore,” Ala Moana resident Kawika Duyao said. “I think saimin is an all-time favorite for everybody over here.”
Another big client of Okahara Saimin was the University of Hawaii at Manoa Athletics, which sold the noodles through Sodexo at the Stan Sheriff Center, Les Murakami and Rainbow Wahine Softball stadiums.
Sodexo said the following in a statement to KHON2.
We are currently looking for and working with local shops/producers to see if they can meet the needs/requirements to bring in their product.”Patrick Baugh, General Manager of Sodexo
Local YMCA’s commonly used Okahara Saimin for fundraisers and campaign events as well.
“And everything in between, we’ve even used them just for program itself, have them drop off a couple cases and teach the kids how to make fried noodles,” YMCA Senior Program Director Bryan Murphy said.
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“Feels like a little bit of a piece of our extended ohana is gone now, but we wish them well in retirement, for sure,” Murphy said.