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With its sandy beaches, lush landscapes, and laidback culture, Hawaii is a tropical paradise that beckons visitors from around the world. For food lovers in particular, the diverse cuisine of Hawaii is a huge draw. Chee hoo, a Hawaiian noodle soup packed with flavor, is one local dish that you won’t want to miss during your island adventures. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or frequent flyer to Hawaii, read on to learn all about this iconic bowl of noodles.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Chee hoo is a Chinese-influenced noodle soup dish that is unique to Hawaii. It features a beef or chicken broth flavored with ginger and green onions and often contains thick, chewy wheat noodles along with boiled egg, char siu pork, kamaboko fish cake, greens, and sometimes wontons or pot stickers.

Origins and History of Chee Hoo in Hawaii

When it comes to iconic dishes in Hawaii, Chee Hoo stands out as a local favorite. This mouthwatering dish has a fascinating history that dates back to the early days of Chinese immigration to the islands. Let’s explore the origins and history of Chee Hoo in Hawaii.

Derivation of the Name Chee Hoo

The name Chee Hoo has its roots in the Cantonese language. “Chee” means “to eat” or “food,” while “Hoo” translates to “good.” So, when combined, the name Chee Hoo conveys the idea of “good food” or “delicious eats.” It’s a fitting name for a dish that has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike.

Chinese Immigrants Brought the Dish to Hawaii

The origins of Chee Hoo can be traced back to the late 19th century when Chinese immigrants arrived in Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. These immigrants brought with them their culinary traditions, including a dish similar to what we now know as Chee Hoo.

The dish typically consists of marinated and grilled meat, such as chicken or pork, served on a bed of rice and topped with a tangy sauce. The flavors are a delightful blend of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy, creating a unique taste that has become synonymous with Hawaiian cuisine.

It Became a Local Favorite on the Islands

Over time, Chee Hoo gained popularity among the locals in Hawaii. It became a go-to dish for family gatherings, beach picnics, and local festivals. The delectable combination of flavors and the ease of preparation made it a beloved choice for both casual and special occasions.

Today, you can find Chee Hoo being served at local restaurants, food trucks, and even in family kitchens across the islands. It has become an integral part of the vibrant food culture in Hawaii, showcasing the diversity and fusion of cuisines that make up the island’s culinary scene.

To learn more about the history and cultural significance of Chee Hoo in Hawaii, you can visit They have a comprehensive article that delves deeper into the origins and evolution of this beloved dish.

Common Ingredients and Regional Variations

When it comes to Chee Hoo Hawaii, a popular dish in the Hawaiian cuisine, there are several common ingredients that are used across different regional variations. These ingredients come together to create a delicious and satisfying bowl of noodles. Let’s take a closer look at some of these key components.

Base Broths: Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Stock

The base broth is an essential element in Chee Hoo Hawaii. It serves as the foundation of flavors for the dish. Traditionally, you can choose from three options: beef, chicken, or vegetable stock. Each type of broth adds its own unique taste to the dish. The beef broth provides a rich and savory flavor, while the chicken broth offers a lighter and more delicate taste. On the other hand, the vegetable stock brings a fresh and earthy essence to the dish, making it a great option for vegetarians or those looking for a lighter alternative.

Noodles: Thick Wheat or Egg Noodles

The choice of noodles is another important aspect of Chee Hoo Hawaii. The most commonly used noodles are either thick wheat noodles or egg noodles. The thick wheat noodles have a chewy texture that adds a satisfying bite to the dish. On the other hand, the egg noodles are slightly softer and have a rich and silky mouthfeel. Both options are equally delicious and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Protein: Char Siu Pork, Wontons, Kamaboko Fish Cake

Protein is an essential component of Chee Hoo Hawaii, adding depth and substance to the dish. Some popular protein options include char siu pork, wontons, and kamaboko fish cake. Char siu pork, with its sweet and savory flavor, is a favorite choice among many. Wontons, filled with a tasty mixture of seasoned ground meat, add a delightful burst of flavor. Finally, kamaboko fish cake, with its delicate taste and unique texture, brings a touch of seafood goodness to the dish. These protein options can be mixed and matched to create your own personalized bowl of Chee Hoo Hawaii.

Vegetables: Bok Choy, Bean Sprouts, Green Onions

Vegetables play a crucial role in Chee Hoo Hawaii, adding freshness, color, and crunch to the dish. Common vegetable choices include bok choy, bean sprouts, and green onions. Bok choy, with its mild and slightly sweet flavor, provides a pleasant contrast to the rich broth and protein. Bean sprouts bring a refreshing and crunchy texture to the dish, while green onions add a hint of sharpness and aroma. These vegetables not only enhance the overall taste but also provide essential nutrients, making Chee Hoo Hawaii a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Condiments: Chili Oil, Soy Sauce, Hot Mustard

Condiments are the final touch that brings all the flavors together in Chee Hoo Hawaii. Some common condiments include chili oil, soy sauce, and hot mustard. Chili oil adds a spicy kick, while soy sauce provides a savory and umami taste. Hot mustard, with its sharp and pungent flavor, adds an extra layer of complexity to the dish. These condiments can be added according to personal preference, allowing each individual to customize their bowl of Chee Hoo Hawaii to suit their taste buds.

Where to Find the Best Chee Hoo Bowls in Hawaii

If you’re visiting Hawaii and looking to indulge in a delicious and refreshing treat, you simply cannot miss out on trying a Chee Hoo Bowl. This popular Hawaiian dish is a delightful combination of shaved ice topped with various flavors and toppings. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the best places to find Chee Hoo Bowls across the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Iconic Spots on Oahu

Oahu, the most populous island in Hawaii, is home to some iconic spots where you can find the best Chee Hoo Bowls. One of the must-visit places is Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa. This legendary shave ice shop has been serving delicious treats since 1951 and is known for its wide variety of flavors and generous portions. Another popular spot is Waiola Shave Ice in Honolulu, where you can customize your Chee Hoo Bowl with unique flavors like lychee and passionfruit.

Neighbor Island Favorites on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island

Heading over to the neighbor islands of Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island, you’ll find some hidden gems that serve exceptional Chee Hoo Bowls. On Maui, don’t miss out on Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice in Lahaina. This local favorite offers a wide range of flavors and toppings, including their signature macadamia nut ice cream. In Kauai, JoJo’s Shave Ice in Waimea is a must-visit spot known for its generous portion sizes and friendly service. And if you find yourself on Hawaii Island, make sure to stop by Scandinavian Shave Ice in Hilo for their unique flavors inspired by Scandinavian heritage.

Food Trucks Serving Chee Hoo on the Go

For those who love to explore and try new things on the go, you’ll be pleased to know that there are food trucks across Hawaii serving mouthwatering Chee Hoo Bowls. One highly recommended option is Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha in Honolulu. This food truck is known for its refreshing flavors and high-quality ingredients. Another popular choice is Ono Yo in Kihei, Maui, where you can enjoy Chee Hoo Bowls with a twist – they offer dairy-free and vegan options, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions.

Now that you know where to find the best Chee Hoo Bowls in Hawaii, it’s time to embark on a culinary adventure and treat yourself to these delightful creations. Whether you’re enjoying them at an iconic spot, exploring the neighbor islands, or grabbing one from a food truck, you’re in for a truly delicious experience. So go ahead, indulge in the flavors of Hawaii and let the Chee Hoo excitement take over!

How to Make Chee Hoo at Home

If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, chances are you’ve tried the delicious local dish known as Chee Hoo. This popular noodle bowl is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, with its flavorful broth, tender noodles, and an array of tasty toppings. But what if you could recreate this mouthwatering dish in the comfort of your own home? With a few simple steps, you can bring the taste of Hawaii to your kitchen. Here’s how to make Chee Hoo at home:

Gathering the Necessary Ingredients

The first step in making Chee Hoo is gathering all the necessary ingredients. You will need:

  • Fresh noodles – preferably ramen or udon noodles
  • Chicken or vegetable broth – for the flavorful base
  • Protein – such as sliced pork, chicken, or tofu
  • Assorted vegetables – like bok choy, bean sprouts, and green onions
  • Condiments – soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, and garlic
  • Garnishes – sliced seaweed, soft-boiled eggs, and sesame seeds

These ingredients can be found in most grocery stores or Asian markets. Make sure to choose fresh and high-quality ingredients for the best results.

Making the Flavorful Broth

The key to a delicious Chee Hoo is a flavorful broth. Start by heating up the chicken or vegetable broth in a large pot. Add in the condiments like soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, and minced garlic to enhance the taste. You can adjust the amounts of these condiments according to your preference. Let the broth simmer for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Preparing the Noodles and Toppings

While the broth is simmering, cook the fresh noodles according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and rinse them with cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the toppings and vegetables. Slice the protein of your choice into thin strips and cook them in a separate pan until cooked through. Blanch the vegetables like bok choy and bean sprouts in boiling water for a few minutes until they are slightly tender. Drain and set aside.

Assembling the Finished Bowls

Now comes the fun part – assembling the Chee Hoo bowls! Start by dividing the cooked noodles into individual serving bowls. Ladle the flavorful broth over the noodles, making sure to distribute it evenly. Next, add the cooked protein and blanched vegetables on top. Garnish with sliced seaweed, soft-boiled eggs, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Your homemade Chee Hoo is now ready to be enjoyed! Serve it hot and savor the flavors of Hawaii right in your own home. Don’t forget to slurp the noodles and savor each bite. Chee Hoo!

Chee Hoo Etiquette and Dining Tips

Using Chopsticks and Spoons

When dining in Hawaii, it is common to find chopsticks and spoons as the primary eating utensils. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with using chopsticks; many restaurants also provide spoons as an alternative. However, if you want to give chopsticks a try, here’s a tip: hold one chopstick between your thumb and index finger, and use your middle finger to hold the second chopstick like a pencil. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you find it a bit challenging at first!

Slurping is Acceptable

In Hawaii, it is perfectly acceptable to slurp your noodles while enjoying a Chee Hoo meal. Slurping is believed to enhance the flavor by mixing the broth and ingredients together. So go ahead and embrace the slurping culture! Just make sure to be mindful of others around you and avoid making excessive noise.

Add Condiments to Taste

One of the joys of dining in Hawaii is the opportunity to customize your Chee Hoo dish with a variety of condiments. Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find your perfect flavor. Common condiments include soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, and vinegar. Start with small amounts and gradually add more until you achieve the desired taste.

Enjoy the Range of Textures

One of the unique aspects of Chee Hoo cuisine is the emphasis on a variety of textures in a single dish. From crispy vegetables to tender meats and silky noodles, each bite offers a delightful sensory experience. Take the time to savor the different textures and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating these dishes. Allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors and textures that Chee Hoo cuisine has to offer.


With a complicated history and diverse interpretations, chee hoo represents the blending of cultures that make Hawaii’s cuisine so special. Digging into a steamy bowl of these soft noodles drenched in savory broth is a sensory experience you won’t soon forget. Whether you prefer the porky decadence of char siu or the light crunch of fresh bean sprouts, chee hoo has something for every palate. On your next trip to the Aloha State, make sure to seek out this local favorite and savor the complex flavors of Hawaii in each tasty bite.

The next time your cravings take you on a Hawaii-bound daydream, remember that you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy chee hoo’s bold flavors. With a little effort, you can recreate this island classic in your very own kitchen. From the first whiff of simmering broth to the final satisfying slurp, making chee hoo at home is a way to temporarily transport yourself to the Hawaiian Islands through your tastebuds. Aloha!

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