Back to the Beginning: Hapa Sushi in Boulder, CO

There really is ‘No Place Like Home’, and I owe it all to Hapa Sushi Grill in Boulder, CO. Hapa is my culinary home; the place where I got my start, learned lessons in life and fish, and created my second family through sushi. The name ‘Hapa’ is derived from a Hawaiian word that refers to the ‘harmonious blend of Asian and American cultures.’ Fusion at it’s finest, Hapa serves up non-traditional sushi along with old favorites in a modern setting with a fun vibe. Have a seat at the sushi bar in any of Hapa’s four locations, and strike up a conversation with your new best friend — the sushi chef. At Hapa, you’re in good hands.

Green Eggs and Ham, Statue of Liberty Roll

The Man, The Myth, The one who gave me a chance. Thanks Ken! I owe you one a ton.

Hapa’s selection of sake and specialty cocktails is bar none. Try the famous ‘G-Spot’: Raspberry infused sake, raspberry vodka and ginger ale. Hit up their Happy Hour (twice a daily!, varies upon location), for an unbeatable deals on the best bites in town.

Banana Bread Pudding. MMMMMMMM.

Hapa’s Signature Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding. Note:  be careful if it’s your Birthday, and you’re at Hapa. The sassy chefs will serve this up with a special surprise…

On the Web:

Boulder (Pearl Street): 1117 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO   (303)473-4730
Boulder (The Hill): 1220 Pennsylvania Ave., Boulder, CO  (303) 447-9883
Denver (Cherry Creek): 2780 East 2nd Avenue  Denver, CO (303) 322-9554
Denver (Landmark at Greenwood Village): 5380 Greenwood Plaza Blvd #101
Greenwood Vlg, CO (303) 267-8744

Perfect Rice (sushi rice recipe)

As a sushi chef, I get asked on a daily basis what the secret to making good rice is. I’d love to tell you its years of practice and a little bit of the magic touch, but its basically all about understanding how rice and water work together. Here are a few tips before you get started:

  • If you’re making white rice, the end product should result in light, pillowy grains. If you get a gummy, sticky mess — keep trying. When using short to medium grained white rice, you’ll need to wash the rice sufficiently before cooking to remove some of the extra starch, or else it will turn out just so. Generally, filling the rice pot 4-5 times with water while swishing your hand around through the rice works just fine.  You will see the water gradually become less cloudy.
  • The water to rice rule for short grain rice is about 15% more water than rice. An easy trick is to fill the pot with water just so that the level reaches knuckles if you place your hand palm down on the rice.  
  • For cooking, I prefer to use a rice cooker as it yields a consistent product every time. If you’re using a pot on the stove you’ll need to make sure you bring the water to a full boil, add the rice and stir, then cover and turn the heat down to medium-low for about 20 minutes. Never stir the rice while it’s cooking. continue to cook until water is absorbed. Patience is key.


(makes 3 cups cooked)

  • 1.5 c uncooked short grain rice
  • 1.75 c water

For ‘Sharizu’ (rice vinegar dressing)

  • 6 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice

1. Wash the rice thoroughly: rinse 4-5 times with water until the water is only slightly cloudy. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cooking

2. In a rice cooker, add water and proceed to cook. If using a pot on the stove, bring the water to a boil. Add rice and slowly stir once. Let boil for 2-3 min. Cover, and reduce heat to simmer (med/low). Let cook for 20 minutes. If the water has not all been absorbed, continue to cook.  DO NOT stir rice while it is cooking.

3. Remove rice from heat, and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Put the rice into a bowl, and fluff or ‘cut’ the rice with a spoon, spatula or rice paddle to get rid of the clumps. If you’re making sushi rice, add the sharizu (recipe below) during this process. Fan to cool. Cover with a damp cloth.

Sharizu (rice dressing)

1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar & lemon juice into a small pot and bring to a simmer.

2. Stir until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat.

3. Pour over rice to taste. Make sure the dressing is hot. Hot rice, hot dressing.