Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Midsummer Top 10

It's sweltering. It's July. It's time for the Pickled Mango Hawaii Top 10! 

1. Taiyo Ramen ... best gyoza. 
2. Rainbow Drive In ... chili plate and slush float are unbeatable in the plate lunch value category.
3. Pho' South King ... beef pho and $1 tapioca/coconut milk are steals.
4. Bangkok Chef ... affordable and always good. Love the cashew nut chicken and curry.
5. Blue Truck Teppanyaki ... downtown at lunch, UH YWCA evenings.
6. Hukilau Cafe ... every meal is thumbs up good.
7. Chodang ... hardcore Korean grinds super cheap.
8. Sunnyside ... can't go to Wahiawa without a stopover.
9. Faith's Drive In (formerly Tasty Freeze) ... can't go to Waianae without those homemade fries with mustard-mayo sauce.
10. Ray's Cafe ... awesome rib-eye steak plate in the heart of Kalihi.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chodang: Special #3

Late-night authentic Korean and so affordable. The beef bone soup (no chili pepper) soothes any cold symptoms, yes it does.

(Photo by Mark Ganialongo) Tuesday, July 14, 2010: Special #2 at left, Special #3 (beef bone soup) at top. I had #3 and it hit the spot. The side dishes are also good. My favorites were the turnip kim chi (far left) and sweet beans.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Young's Kal Bee: Best meat jun?

Quality Korean cuisine with a melt-in-your-mouth meat jun as the trump card.

(Photo by Mark Ganialongo) The full spread: Young's Special (BBQ chicken, meat jun) at left and kal bi/meat jun combo at right.

Had never been to Young's, but thanks to Mark, Sunday was my first visit. Won't be my last.

Best meat jun on Oahu? Possibly. The kal bi is also tender and succulent, very sweet.

Slightly out of focus. Bummers.

Crunchy on the left, crunchy on the right. Some say crunchy, not soft/crunchy, is true kim chi. I like both, but prefer soft/crunchy.

Seaweed soup was excellent. Salty and good.

No frills. Just good, simple white rice.

Young's Special, plus mandoo. Mark consumed this in approximately 1 minute, 20 seconds.

Mark checking his iPhone photo of the spread, a moment before the carnage.

Kim of Young's Kal Bee. See the awards on the wall?

Pay a little more for a lot of outstanding quality.

Chinatown Express: Closing-time deal

This little spot at Makai Market (Ala Moana Center) offers the standards. If you get there just before closing time, two-choice plates are just $3.50. Pake Special!
July 8, 2010: Beef broccoli, roast pork, chow mein and white rice. Yes, it tasted as good as it looks. I shouldn't be giving away secrets like this, but if you're there just before closing time (9 p.m.), this is just $3.50, and no, this is NOT a mini-plate.

Bangkok Chef: Cashew Nut Chicken

One of my favorites from Bangkok Chef.

June 17, 2010: Cashew Nut Chicken from Bangkok Chef, Nuuanu. Just the right mix of chicken, cashews and chili pepper (roasted). I like mine with jasmine brown rice. Pupule Rating: 4 stars (out of 4).

Siam Garden Cafe

Over the span of two nights, I gorged and feasted at Siam Garden Cafe, a previously secret spot (to me) on Nimitz Highway, located in a strip mall next to Sensually Yours and Eagle Cafe.

Despite the generic setting outside, the ambience is quite sedate and inviting indoors. The food is even better.

Day 1
(Photo by Donald Salvador) Tuesday, July 6, 2010: From top left, clockwise: jasmine tea, brown rice, chicken sateh, spicy beef stir fry, sticky rice, shrimp/noodle, red chicken curry.

(Photo by Mark Ganialongo) Tuesday, July 6, 2010: From left, clockwise: sticky rice, shrimp/noodle, red chicken curry, chicken sateh, jasmine tea, brown rice, spicy beef stir fry.

Day 2
(Photo by Mark Ganialongo) Wednesday, July 7, 2010: Back to Siam Garden for more! From top left, clockwise: panang curry, sticky rice, brown rice, seafood papaya salad, pad tai, shrimp stir fry.

(Photo by Mark Ganialongo) Wednesday, July 7, 2010, clockwise from top left: shrimp basil stir fry, brown rice, panang curry, sticky rice, seafood papaya salad and pad tai.

(Photo by Donald Salvador) Wednesday, July 7, 2010: summer rolls.