Over Memorial Day weekend I was visiting my grandfather in Rhode Island, and used this as an excuse to visit one of my favorite breakfast joints down that way. The Modern Diner is tucked away in a quiet corner of Pawtucket, RI, and is your classic Streamliner “diner car” diner that’s since been augmented with some additional kitchen space and seating. The Modern sports quite an extensive menu, including several dozen specials posted on the wall by the entry. Pretty much anything I’ve craved for breakfast, they’ve had, including most any type of fruit-covered waffle, and about a dozen varieties of Eggs Benedict (including lobster). They are also pretty inventive, I’ve seen some pretty fancy french toast dishes here as well…
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
While I’ve talked about many of the dishes that demonstrate the ethnic fusion of Hawaii, few of them embody the multicultural fusion of Hawaiian cuisine as much as “saimin”. Saimin is basically a noodle dish that is a mild fusion of elements taken from each the major cultures of Hawaii’s plantation era: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Hawaiian, and Portuguese. The resulting dish is a noodle soup that bears a lot of resemblance to Chinese “mein” and Japanese “ramen”, usually with some other ethnicities adding ingredients, such as Spam, gyoza, udon, or wontons. In any case, much of the Kahili neighborhood had Saimin joints popping up during the middle of the 20th century, usually run by recent Okinawan families. And pretty much everyone I know that grew up in Hawaii has told me stories about how much saimin they ate as a kid, either as soup, or as the related “fried min” (pan-fried noodles with the same sorts of toppings). Oahu has dozen of Saimin places, and one of the older, more classic, and, quite frankly, no-frills places is Palace Saimin.