Taiyo Ramen: Chicken Curry, Gyoza

My old standby, Taiyo Ramen, has never lost its tradition of great tasting food at a reasonable price, served up by hard-working, graceful people. My first trip was back in the 1990s when it was located in the old Chicken Alice's spot. I used to eat there with friends while I visited from the Big Island, and when I moved back to Oahu, I took my mom there many times. Seeing her enjoy the food and casual atmosphere was always a treat for me.

The chicken curry on rice and — my opinion — world's best gyoza are my favorite items. The gyoza is loaded with garlic, and Taiyo has a smoky chili oil, vinegar and gyoza sauce on every table. That smoky chili oil is unlike any other I've seen and tasted anywhere else.

Taiyo Ramen still offers meal stamp card that rewards customers with a free entree when it's filled up. Those sure come in handy, but I've been a devoted patron for more than two decades, so I'm all in with or without the card.

The restaurant has long been at its Piikoi location near Ala Moana. The old location is long gone, now replaced by Macy's. The food remains awesome. I'm just glad they're still around, unlike a lot of classic local eateries that have disappeared over the years.