The oxtail soup at Kapiolani Coffee Shop isn’t just food—it is a flavourful adventure, a blend of cultures in a bowl. Whether you prefer it with rice or paired with noodles, each mouthful shares a story of tradition, community, and the welcoming spirit of Aloha. It is not just a dish; it is a journey, inviting you to taste the heart of Hawaiian hospitality in every delicious slurp.

Hawaii’s oxtail soup is comforting and tasty. The oxtails, which come from the tail of a steer, are slow-cooked in a flavourful broth with ginger and spices like star anise and bay leaves.

Locals in Hawaii adore oxtail soup. While on the mainland people enjoy oxtail stews, in Hawaii, it is all about the oxtail soup!

This soothing soup features a clear broth with plenty of meaty and tender oxtail pieces. The broth is infused with the warmth of ginger and spices. Oxtail, being a tough but flavourful cut, is perfect for slow braising, especially for soups and stews. The bones add collagen, making the stock wonderfully gelatinous.

If you are wondering where to find oxtails, they can be a bit elusive in regular markets, but Costco and Asian groceries often carry them.

Oxtail, derived from the tail of cattle, earned its name from times when people used the tail for cooking. Its fatty content and gelatinous nature make it an excellent choice for stews and soups, resulting in a rich and flavourful broth.

The story behind the recipe

In Honolulu, Hawaii, the Kapiolani Coffee Shop has a culinary story deeply connected to the diverse influences of the islands. While the exact details of the oxtail soup’s origin are not extensively documented, it likely takes inspiration from Hawaii’s multicultural food scene.

Hawaii’s culinary world is a mix of Native Hawaiian, Asian, European, and Polynesian flavors. The Kapiolani Coffee Shop’s oxtail soup reflects this diversity, featuring a savory broth with Asian influences and hearty oxtails, drawing from European culinary traditions.

Oxtail soup, in general, has roots in resourcefulness across various cultures, using parts of the animal that might be overlooked. In Hawaii, where a mix of communities has shaped local cuisine, the Kapiolani Coffee Shop probably embraced these influences to create a dish loved by both locals and visitors.

So, when you enjoy a bowl of Kapiolani Coffee Shop’s oxtail soup, you do not just taste a recipe; you’re embarking on a culinary journey shaped by Hawaii’s multicultural heritage. It is a dish that captures the essence of the islands and the people who have contributed to its delicious evolution.

How to make Kapiolani Coffee Shop Oxtail Soup


  • 2.5 to 3 pounds oxtails, trimmed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 daikon radish, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-star anise
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Sesame oil (optional)

Step-by-step instructions for making Kapiolani Coffee Shop Oxtail Soup

  1. In a big pot, brown the oxtails over medium-high heat until they’re brown on all sides. Get rid of extra fat.
  2. Add chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Cook until it smells good.
  3. Pour in beef broth and soy sauce. Put in star anise. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer.
  4. Cover and let it simmer for about 2.5 to 3 hours or until the oxtails become tender.
  5. Add daikon radish and carrots. Let it simmer for another 30-45 minutes or until the veggies are cooked.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  7. If you want, add a few drops of sesame oil for extra richness.
  8. Serve it hot, topped with chopped green onions.

Tips for making Kapiolani Coffee Shop Oxtail Soup

  • This recipe includes carrots and/or daikon. You can decide to skip all the vegetables! The main focus of this dish is on the oxtails and the broth.
  • Season the soup gradually and taste as you go. Oxtail soup tends to get stronger in flavor as it cooks, so be careful when adjusting the levels of salt and pepper.
  • To keep a bit of crunch and vibrant color, add the daikon radish and carrots later in the cooking process.
  • If you’re using sesame oil, start with a small amount. A little bit can add a lot of flavor, and you can add more if you like

Flavourful substitute

  • Soy sauce: You can use tamari or liquid aminos as a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce.
  • Oxtail: If you don’t have oxtails, you can substitute them with beef shank or short ribs for a similar rich and meaty flavor.
  • Daikon radish: You can use turnip instead of daikon radish, it provides a similar crunchy texture.

Serving suggestions

  • Rice or Noodles: Serve the oxtail soup over steamed rice or noodles for a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro, green onions, or parsley to add a burst of freshness.
  • Crusty Bread: Accompany the soup with crusty bread or garlic bread for a delightful dipping experience.
  • Chilli flakes: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, offer chili flakes or hot sauce at the table.
  • Salad: Serve a light side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a simple vinaigrette to balance the richness of the soup.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here