On the rare Saturday morning off, my husband managed to get me out of bed and off to the KCC Farmers Market. After an hour of shopping, full from breakfast and inspired by all the produce, we continue through Hawaii Kai and further on east. Still fresh off our farmers market high, we decide to check out what else we can find in the back road farms and nurseries of Waimanalo.
On my list for some time now, I look up the address for OK Poultry “Home of Waimana TKG Eggs,” and we arrive in a matter of minutes. As TKG (tamago kake gohan) is eaten raw, the company sites their quality, freshness, and cleanliness, as top reasons to choose their eggs for the classic comfort food. They also feed their chickens a special diet to enhance the flavor and give their yolks that prized orange color. Just like Japan.
OK Poultry: 41-656 Kakaina St. Waimanalo, 96795 Open Wed-Sun 7:30am – 1:00pm.
Directly in front is a small plantation style building with french doors that open up onto a wooden porch. Inside is a small fruit and produce stand, an eclectic mix of antiques, and of course eggs.
A small menu above a glass case displays the days prices, ranging from $3.15 per dozen small to $9.75 per tray of XX large (30 eggs). I order one-dozen medium. The woman behind the counter opens the door and disappears into a chilled walk-in. The blast of cold air is refreshing on the warm day.
While the menu appears simple, ordering is more like your morning coffee ritual. Think barista, for your eggs. The woman pops back out. “Brown or white?” Unsure of the difference, she explains to us, brown eggs come from their brown chickens. The shell is thicker, with a longer cook time. Usually more expensive, but currently selling for the same as white. Brown it is.
She disappears, popping out again. “Are you eating these raw?” I give her an enthusiastic, Yes. She disappears one last time and returns with my customized carton of eggs. “Raw, good up to 14 days, cooked up to 30.” She says.
Feeling like I have the most perfect eggs on the planet, I throw in a small bunch of apple bananas and a 5lb. bag of premium, locally milled rice also sold at the counter.
The woman helping us, turns out to be the former owner’s daughter, Wendy. Her father owned the farm for 50yrs and only recently sold to a Japanese company. She and her family still work on the farm. And while no longer owners, the pride in what they do still shows.
While OK sells their eggs at Don Quijote and Nijiya, if TKG is your plan, the fresher the better. The experience is completely different than a routine walk down the dairy aisle and if you let them know you’re eating it raw, you’ll get the freshest they have. Prices are also about 50% cheaper as they sell their Grade-B, which in my opinion is still much better than the store.
On the way out, we stop to check out the mini chicken coop out front. It holds a small sampling of their birds. Very clean, with happy and healthy looking chickens, both brown and white.
Back at home, I get the rice started. For such a simple dish, all the ingredients must be of the highest quality. The Rice Factory Honolulu, ships premium rice from Hokkaido and mills it in their facility in Honolulu. According to them, rice is best when it’s freshly milled so all their labels prominently display the mill date. To ensure freshness, OK Poultry stores it in their walk-in and we’re advised to do the same.
Next I start on some side dishes. Another savvy lady at the farmers market clued me in on a recipe she swears by. Marinated daikon leaves and stems in salt, simply mixed with some quality tuna.
Along with some sliced Aloha Tofu, Okara, Natto, and Kawanaka Shoyu we purchased fresh from Aloha Tofu Town, and sautéed garlic spinach sprinkled with choy sum blossoms from the market.
If you’re new to natto, you might want to start with Aloha brand natto. When fresh, it smells almost sweet and nutty. It’s a very different taste than other brands and paired perfectly with our egg and rice.
Normally a breakfast food, with enough protein and sides, it’s a simple, yet comforting dinner.
Last but definitely not least, the star of the show–our Waimanalo TKG. For the perfect tamago kake gohan, start by separating the yolk from the white. Then with your chopsticks whisk the whites over a bowl of HOT steamed rice. Mix till it’s nice and frothy and each grain is coated, glistening with eggy goodness.
Then make a little well, slide the prized jewel on top, and drizzle with a high quality shoyu. Unlike the typical TKG that mixes everything together, I love this method because it looks beautiful, like a sunny side egg vs. a slimy bowl of pale yellow rice.
It also separates the flavors of the egg. Keeping the best part–the yolk, in tact. Allowing you to control the amount of flavor and richness in each bite. Delicious with no leftovers in sight. Good thing breakfast is only a few hours away.
Note: Consuming raw or undercooked eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. But if you’re local or Japanese, you already know this…and don’t care. Kind of like fugu. I mean, it tastes better with a little adrenaline on the side no?
But in all seriousness, OK Poultry stresses that Waimana TKG eggs are not a brand of safely consumed raw egg. It’s simply the flavor, freshness, cleanliness, and quality control that make it a good choice for TKG. Enjoy!