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Fast, affordable and healthy are three adjectives that don't usually go together when describing chain eateries. Some are fast and cheap, but a few dollars at lunch will buy you all the fat you should eat in one day. Others have healthy options, but are not always easy on the wallet. Mirai bowl is bending the rules and offering fresh, figure-friendly at reasonable prices.

Tommy Hwang opened the first Mirai Bowl in 2003. It was the first Japanese express eatery in town, he says, and the bowls of teriyaki rice, noodles, chicken and beef went over well in the Sun City.

"I make my own flavor based on my knowledge of Japanese cuisine, with some Korean flavors mixed in, "Hwang said. Our specialty is our chicken teriyaki - everybody loves it."

Hwang is a native Seoul, South Korea. He moved to El Paso in 1989 and learned to cook authentic Japanese food at Shogun Japanese restaurant, where he moved up the ranks form dishwasher and kitchen helper to sushi and line cook and then chef. When it came time to branch out on his own, Hwang said he chose to open an "express" Japanese restaurant because it would be easier to mange while raising his daughter, Mirai who was three when she posed for the smiling face ont eh restaurant's logo. "Mirai" means future in Japanese.

Mirai Bowl offers take-out and catering, but dining in is also a nice option at the small and casual restaurant. You can watch the cooks stir-fry your dish and catch a whiff of someone else's while you wait. Prices range $4.50 - $9.50. the menu also boasts flavorful soups, salads, vegetarian options and kids meal.

"The Best Chicken in town, Even though it's express, I still make it fresh." Tommy said. "It's also great to be able to serve family and friends healthy meals."