Once a month, there’s a food truck rally in the parking lot of the Honolulu Market, in the Ala Moana-Kakaako neighborhood. Here about 15-20 food trucks set up on the outer edges of the parking lot, leaving organizers to set up sponsor tents in the center, and entertainment stages on ends of the lot.
The middle “ring” of the parking lot is occupied by hundreds of foodies, there to sample the variety provided by the mobile food trucks. Some families seemed to arrive very early, and staked out spot on the grounds, but setting up picnic blankets, coolers full of bevvies and collapsible garden chairs.
The theme for this month’s event was supposed to be “Hawaiian Luau”, and while there were a few trucks that specialized in local cuisine, there were plenty of trucks offering fare that seemed to have little or no relevance to the theme.
1) Upon arrival, I spotted the Soul Patrol truck, featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners Drive-ins and Dives. They specialize in Louisiana soul food. They had a full range menu, but I chose the Chicken and waffles, which was one of the dishes featured on the D,D&D segment.
This is two pieces of buttermilk marinated chicken dredged in highly seasoned flour, deep-fried to a light crunch, and drizzled with a honey butter sauce, served over three small lightly crisp waffles. The chicken was made to order, and it came out hot and delicious, cooked to the right doneness. The skin has a hearty crunch, and some serious seasoning spices (think KFC chicken). This is offset by the sweet honey butter sauce served over the top.
The waffles are small (about the size of a hockey puck), crisp around the edges and tender in the middle. Slightly heavier than most waffles I’ve had (but not nearly as heavy as a belgian liege waffle, for example).
I understand these guys have a cafe now.
2) Leonard’s Bakery had a mobile truck set up at the event. Leonard’s is something of a local institution. Although the bakery has a full range of products (cookies, bread, cakes, pies and pastries), they are most beloved for their malasadas.
It’s an egg-rich hole-less doughnut of Portuguese origin, best when eaten while still warm from the deep fryer, sprinkled with sugar. I ordered the custard filled “puffasada”.
This is light and spongy, warm and melts in your mouth, with a slightly sweet custard filling. These are addicting, given the opportunity, I could eat a half-dozen of these things without even blinking.
3) We spotted a taco truck, called Xtreme Tacos and decided to give it a try. It had a fairly long line up, and it’s entirely hispanic work crew lent the truck some serious credibility.
We started with the carnitas
This is a helping of pulled pork, served in a soft double corn tortilla shell, with a dollop sour cream and slaw. They provide a selection of sauces to dress your meal, ranging from sweet, mild, hot, very hot, and xtreme hot. This was topped with “hot” and it was indeed quite spicy. Quite tasty, and inexpensive.
We also ordered a deep-fried beef burrito.
This was seasoned ground beef, rolled in flour tortilla and deep fried to a light crisp, cut in half, and served with a small side of sour cream. We topped it up with a mix of mild and sweet sauce. This was a fairly generous portion, and very tasty. One of the best burritos I’d eaten in quite some time.
4) This entry is a bit odd because, it’s not a restaurant, nor a food truck, it’s a farm.
Otsuji Farms is a local farm on Oahu (located near Hawaii-Kai) that supplies local restaurants and small markets with fresh produce. But since it’s a food truck rally, they needed to provide something that people can eat on the spot to evaluate their product, so they had a green vegetable smoothie of sorts (which we did not sample), and something they referred to as “sushi sliders”.
I think this is a bit of a misnomer, since sushi is fundamentally a rice dish, and sliders are (as far as I know) small burgers/sandwiches. With a name like that, I was expecting two layers of sushi rice, with something sandwiched in between. Nope, no rice here, nothing remotely sandwich-like.
These were actually tempura battered kale, deep-fried to a light crisp, topped with (what seemed to be) fresh guacamole, garlic aioli, and a thick sweet teriyaki sauce. Despite being complete not what I was expecting, this was really good. A little more heat, and some brightness from a little lime juice would have rounded this out perfectly.
5) And not satisfied with our dessert intake, we stopped by the Cakeworks Bakery tent and picked up some macarons.
This was a Blue Hawaii macaron, like the cocktail, is flavored with pineapple, coconut, citrus and rum.
This was a salted caramel apple macaron.
These macarons were excellent, light and delicate with just enough sweetness, and natural flavorings.