saimin, said to be developed during the sugar plantation era (meaning more than 150 years ago), mostly of Chinese origin, with touches of Japanese ramen and Filipino pancit. Why China? Saimin combines two Chinese words, sai = thin and min = noodles, and char siu is a Chinese red-colored barbecued pork. The first foreign laborers into the sugar industry came from China.
Franz Shiro Matsuo because he also graduated from McKinley High School, but his very first saimin shop opened exactly 50 years ago at the Aiea Bowling Alley.
pho, from Vietnam, had a similar evolution with different politics. It probably came to be as a French influence 130 years ago, for pho is a corruption of pot au feu, French beef stew. And, by the way, pho is not pronounced FO, but something closer to FA. Anyway, it is said that the USA came into the history when during the Vietnam War we were wasteful, and much of the beef came from Army camps, which the Vietnamese boiled to make the soup. Certainly, pho became known when immigrants escaping that war ended up in the U.S. There is a distinct difference between the pho of Saigon and that of Hanoi, for the latter adds more stuff, including proteins. If it is pho nam, it comes from the north. To pho is added fresh basil, cilantro, lime and jalapeños. The big difference is that the noodles for pasta, saimin and ramen come largely from wheat, whereas pho has rice-based noodles. To repeat, while pho is beef-based, all the others use ocean products, with variations, of course.
I haven't been to Shiro's from many years, but I've pretty much expanded my tastes to any kind of noodles, even cold soba (buckwheat). I like them all. Yesterday, though, maybe because it was conveniently located in downtown Honolulu, I went to Lucky Belly, for they probably now serve my favorite noodle in soup, a Belly Bowl: