Gluten Free Fried “Saimin”

Saimin is a dish unique to Hawaii, and a marriage of the many cultures found on the islands. Chinese egg noodles are served in a Japanese broth with garnishes taken from Chinese (char siu), Japanese (fish cake), Filipino (adobo), Korean (won bok cabbage), and Portuguese (sausage) cuisine. My favorite saimin in Hawaii is found at Shiro’s Saimin Haven, which features 70+ variations of the dish (my favorite is “dodonpa” – 10 garnishes!). Likewise, fried saimin is a stir-fried version of the soup, and is also popular in many saimin shops. It’s a refreshing break from noodle soups and your everyday lo mein-style dishes. Unfortunately, saimin noodles are made with wheat.

To remedy this, I settled on sweet potato-based noodles, which as far as I know are a Korean invention. They are made with just sweet potato starch and water, and are similar to glass/bean noodles used in dishes like chicken long rice.

You’ll Need:
1/2 lb sweet potato noodles
1 cup roasted pork (I used leftover roasted pork shoulder)
1 cup won bok (“napa”) cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 each carrot and celery, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup kamaboko fish cake (look for the MSG-free variety)
1 packet (.35 oz)
Dashi Shimaya soup stock (MSG free)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black pepper

To begin, boil the noodles in a large pot of water for about 7 minutes. Remove and strain, and rinse with cold water (they will firm up under the cold water, which is fine). Toss the noodles with your hands every five minutes or so to keep them from sticking together.

Prepare your other ingredients. Cook the beaten eggs in a pan without scrambling, and flip it over. Take this egg “pancake” and set it to the side, and once it’s cooled, cut it into large slices. Warm up the meat and set it aside. If your fish cake is frozen, soak it in warm water for five minutes.

Warm up the coconut oil in a wok on med/high heat for five minutes. Add the noodles and stir fry for a few minutes using tongs, adding the dashi packet and black pepper. Then add the ingredients in this order: meat, carrots, celery, fish cake, cabbage and egg. As you add each ingredient, stir fry them for a minute or two to warm them up. The egg should be added right before the dish is finished. Overall, you should be stir frying this dish for about 10 minutes – the carrots should be a little crunchy and the cabbage should be slightly opaque.

Serve immediately. Also holds up well as leftovers!

6 thoughts on “Gluten Free Fried “Saimin”

    1. Erin, fish cake is a relatively strange food when you think about it. It’s made from pressed fish meat, and is a little spongy – think of it like a fish hot dog (man that sounds gross!). You should be able to find fish cake at any Asian grocery. Being mindful of where the fish cake came from is good – Japanese fish cake is the most spongy and mild tasting (and the best in my opinion), Korean fish cake can be slightly firm and pungent, and Vietnamese fish cake (usually sold as fish balls) is usually pretty fishy tasting. Fish cake can often have onions or chunks of other vegetables mixed in as well. Hope that helps!


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