Food Review

Food Review – Mike’s Huli Chicken, Kaneohe, HI

This past summer, I traveled with Benita and The Urchins (and a good bit of Benita’s family) to the great state of Hawaii for a few days on Oahu and then a cruise to several of the other islands. While out for an excursion on the island, we found ourselves a bit peckish, so on the trip back to our hotel in Honolulu, we stopped at a roadside stand for a bite to eat. Little did we realize that what we had stumbled upon was Mike’s Huli Chicken, a renowned stop noted by Guy Fieri on his show Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and visited by Adam Richman of Man vs. Food fame.

Mike’s Huli Chicken specializes in large plate lunches. You can choose from any number of entrees and find the plate filled with rice, pineapple and either macaroni salad or a cabbage salad (not quite a cole slaw, but awfully tasty). As the urchins were clamoring for lunch, we sized up the plates and determined that with all of the food, we could probably get by with four plates instead of five. Once we sized up the menu board, our selections ran the gamut so that we could sample as much of the local flavor as possible. We ordered the pork and shrimp combos that came with steak, chicken and ahi tuna.

The pork was fantastic as it was cooked in the traditional Kālua method that involves a fire pit, hot stones, and slow cooking. The chicken was prepared Huli style (cooked over a mesquite wood variety called kiawe and seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt). If not for the pork, this would have been the hands-down favorite. The steak (Pulehu style; grilled and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic) was very good but paled in comparison to the pork and the chicken. Naturally, my pick of the Ahi tuna was the least desirable of the four and my youngest abused me for most of the day as we could have had a second plate of pork if not for my poor choice.

Three of the combos came with shrimp that was heavy on the garlic and oil and even heavier on the flavor. We would have shrimp several other times during the trip, but none matched the flavor or quality at Mike’s Huli Chicken. And of course, none of those other establishments even had a sink onsite to wash your hands (and remove the excess garlic and oil) after lunch, so they clearly weren’t in the same league as Mike’s.

Lunch ranged from $11.75 (for the Kālua pig) to $17.50 (for the Huli chicken) per plate so Mike’s Huli Chicken wasn’t shy with the pricing for a plate lunch from a food truck. However, the food was so good that I thought the price was actually a great value relative to other options in Hawaii. If you ever find yourself out and about and looking for lunch in Kaneohe, try Mike’s Huli Chicken. You won’t be disappointed!

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