Pros:Inexpensive, Tasty And Filling Local Food
Cons:Not A Wisp Of Ambience, Unless You Count Local Color, Plenty of Carbos
Whenever people tell me how expensive it is to eat in Hawaii, (Honolulu in particular), I have to chuckle. Dollar for dollar, I can eat as cheaply, and as well, in Honolulu as in any other major U.S. city. Do what locals do, and eat cheap and filling plate lunch.
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What This Isn't:
This isn't gourmet food. It isn't diet food, and often it isn't even heart smart food. It isn't served in fancy settings with words like ambience, motif or cuisine. It won't be served by waiters, on bone china or by candle light.
What It Is
It is filling, carbohydrate laden, local food. It will be served from lunch wagons, in strip malls, drive ins and hole in the wall mom and pop places. It will be cheap, it will be go-up-to-the-window and order and will generally be served in portions to suit a starving surfer. It will mostly be served in compartmentalized styrofoam to-go containers, and will often contain 2 scoop rice, (pidgin, eh?), and sometimes with an additional scoop of macaroni salad.
Where To Get It
My favorite bang for the buck is Local Boy's Cafe, 1803 Democrat Street.
A tiny greasy spoon, the "plates" run between $4-6. Since I'm not a starving surfer, (far from it), I generally order the mini plate for $3-4, which has plenty of teriyaki beef, fresh grilled mahi mahi with lemon caper butter, or lemon chicken. If I do get the regular plate, I know I'll have enough left for another meal. A good reason to make sure your hotel room or condo comes equipped with a mini frig!
Other typical fare includes chili dogs, BBQ pork, beef stew, (often made with curry powder, check before ordering), Hamburger Steak, homemade beef hash, Kalbi (Korean)ribs and the ubiquitous Loco Moco. I never can decide, and have always done right with the combo plates. There is a wall in front of the kitchen with index cards tacked up with the daily specials. You already know about ordering specials, right?
In Hawaii, when the food is good, it is called ono, or broke da mouth.
Other worthwhile plate lunch stops include Ono Ono, on Kapahulu and the many L&L Drive In locations, such as Ward Center.
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