Japanese BBQ Yoshi – Honolulu, HI

Do you want to find a place where you can get high quality Japanese meat at low price? No? How about a place with high quality Japanese meat and high prices? Yes? Okay, Japanese BBQ Yoshi is your place, lol. And I’m not saying this to be a smart mouth, they really do offer up high quality stuff but you’ll be paying a price for that quality. So unless you can afford that big slab of meat at J-Shop for like almost $1000, settle into this post! Wait, does J-Shop still sell those cuts of meat? Hmmm…

Iichiko Set (x2) | $24.00 each
pork belly, prime kalbi, flat iron steak, thin cut steak

I hope I got the meats right on this set. Was it good? Sure. Was it so great and mind blowing? Eh, honestly this set wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t like the meat was melt in your mouth. And for $24 a person, not great at all. By the way, it’s actually $25 set because you could pay $1 for a cup of Iichiko (hence the name). I don’t drink so they said I could get soda, which I got charged the same rate as I would have for Iichiko (hmmm…)

Garlic Kimchee Fried Rice | $12.00

Was this good? Yes, it was tasty! Was it worth $12? Hmm…a lot of hmm’s…in this post.

Yukke | $27.00

I think you know where I’m going with this…but you’re wrong! I won’t say it was too pricey. Okay, practically, it was. But…for me, any meat dish that can be consumed raw and deliciously will cost more! It’s hard to find meat that is safe to eat raw here in Hawaii. Yukke is a Korean dish, basically an Asian seasoned beef tartar dish. The yukhoe dish from Cali still tops the list!

Wagyu Beef Nigiri “Zukke” | $20.00 (2 pcs)

I know, I know. Another pricey dish. $20 for two pieces of sushi?? This is definitely an extravagant dish. This is the one my cousin and I absolutely love and is why we come to this restaurant. Honestly, we could just order this and leave but I don’t know how much the restaurant would appreciate that. What is it with us and raw beef? I don’t know but it is absolutely delicious. So soft and tender…mmm…

This restaurant is definitely more of a treat meal, maybe once a year? Once a lifetime? I don’t know. You see the prices we paid. By the way, the meat set we got was just for the meat. It does not come with any sides which is why we had to pay for the the kimchee fried rice. The end.

Pho King – Wahiawa, HI

I had to do it. I had to go to the restaurant called Pho King. Yes, I am childish. Do you know why I am being immature? Say the restaurant name outloud fast kine and you will understand. I am sure they totally know what they did in naming this restaurant and fully embrace it.

All jokes aside, I actually wanted to try this restaurant because people rave about their food! They are closed on Saturdays which is a boo from me, that’s one of the only days I can make it out there! Well, I took a weekday off for vacation and made the trek out there. Small hole in the wall shop, how was it?

Nice assortment of greens for our pho! Yum! They give a lot of lemon, lol.

Pretty generous with the rare beef! This is the serving of beef you get when you order the pho with just meatballs and rare beef. Nice!

Beef and Meatball Pho | $12.95

Delicious! Great broth with depth in flavor. Looks at all those onions and green onions, can’t go wrong there. Each bowl was licked clean.

Oxtail Pho | $17.50
contains peanuts and carrots

This is my pho! Yes! Oxtail pho! I enjoyed it. Well, not sure what I was expected. Honestly, if you’re expecting it to taste like the oxtail soup you get from Asahi Grill, you will be disappointed. I actually found that the broth and oxtail was much milder in seasoning. I don’t mind that because I love using their hot sauces. They were pretty generous with the cuts of meat, I would definitely order this again!

Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich | $8.75
served on french bread and contains mayonnaise, cucumber, chinese parsley, pickled daikon and carrots

I had to try their banh mi since I don’t know when I would be out here again! I ate this sandwich way later in the day and it held up okay. The bread was a bit chewy but I knew that going in. My biggest complaint was the veggies. Do you see how big the carrots and daikon are? My god, it was like eating my sandwich with carrot sticks inside. They were not seasoned enough or preserved enough, they need to slice their carrots and daikon thinner! The chicken was marinated perfect and tasted great.

Recipe: Nori Chicken

Chicken marinated, ready to be fried up!
Nori sheets cut and ready to wrap the chicken…
Taking a swim…

Like, I didn’t even remember to take a picture of the finished product so you can look to the left of this picture for a slight view. How did it go? Really well. The people I fed enjoyed it! It’s a nice recipe and it’s basically mochiko chicken with some nori on top. Can’t go wrong there. Would I make it again? Perhaps for a party, it’s best eaten fresh out of the oil.

Nori Chicken

– 1/4 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
– 1/4 cup cornstarch
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 6 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
– 2 eggs
– 1/3 cup shoyu (Soy Sauce – I used Yamasa)

– 2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
– Oil for frying
– Nori (Japanese dried seaweed ) – cut into strips

Mix marinade ingredients with chicken and soak for at least 4 hours, the longer you soak chicken the better. Wrap a small piece of nori around each piece of chicken and deep fry.

Recipe inspired by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wAkICflo9E

Tori Ton – Honolulu, HI

Tori Ton is one of my favorite Japanese restaurants and you will see why as I share pictures of the food! While I recommend this restaurant, the parking lot is abysmal! I usually chance it and drive to the parking lot to see if I can score a spot before I call and inquire about a reservation. So far, when I have found a parking spot, I’ve been lucky enough to get a reservation when I call. Sometimes, it’s with a warning that I would have to leave within a certain amount of time, which has always been reasonable! They share a parking lot with Sweet Home Cafe which explains the crazy full parking lot.

Yummy Cucumber Sesame Flavored | $3.90

Hands down, my favorite cucumber pupu ever. And Tori Ton is the one that sparked my love for it. The seasoning is always good, not always consistent. Sometimes it’s saltier but it’s okay because I always get the next dish…

TKG Rice | $3.90
premium rice with fresh egg from ok poultry

Pretty sure that’s the price, it might be wrong by like 10 cents, haha. Fresh Waimana TKG egg to mix in with the hot rice. They give you the seasoned soy sauce to mix in and well, it’s just heaven in a bowl. No need to worry about raw eggs here, it’s all so good and I have never gotten sick. Funny story, I must have looked like I was struggling because I pour the egg straight into the rice and enjoy stirring it together. One of the waitresses told me it might be easier to scramble up the egg in its bowl before pouring it into the rice to mix. Funny how I never thought of that. Also, I am stubborn and like mixing the whole egg into the rice. Maybe it looks like I was having hard time. On an unrelated note, I think there are many times that I look like I need help (no jokes please) because people always try to help me. Can’t figure out if that’s a good or bad thing.

On a related note! Have you folks been watching the new season of Terrace House? Oh my, this new season is so good and fast moving. But there was quite a chatter about TKG rice in it since one of the cast members said she never tried it before the show! What the what! Anyway, I recommend this dish.

Anchovy Potato | $4.90

Another must-have pupu for me. It’s really just french fries sprinkled with like an anchovy aji? Anchovy dashi powder? I don’t know, it’s just so good. I love it. Perfect with a beer (I don’t drink beer lol).

Assorted Sashimi | $13?
3 items chef’s selection

Ah, so sorry for the crappy price keeping this time. I am pretty sure it is 12 something but I can’t say for sure. When we first started coming here, it was $9.80, what a deal right? 12 something is still okay but I can’t forget how much it USED to be. Anyway, basic, nothing special so it’s not something I’m raving about.

Pork Wrapped Flavored Quail Eggs | $2.90 (each)

The quail eggs are perfectly seasoned and cooked. I love biting into this and the yolk is creamy. And let’s be real, it’s basically an egg wrapped in bacon so how can one go wrong? Delish.

Pork Wrapped Japanese Premium Rice | $3.90 (each)

Okay, haha another pork dish! More raw egg! I mean the title of the dish says it all. I’m just finding more excuses to eat more raw egg and this dish checks all the marks.

Whole Tomato w/Root Vegetable Salad | $8.90
broccoli, lotus roots, whole tomato, sprouts, mizuna, mushrooms, burdock, paprika (bell pepper), yamaimo (mountain yam)

This salad is a recent addition to my usual dishes at this restaurant and WHAT TOOK ME SO LONG? $9 bucks and look at all the guts you get. You wanna eat salad? You want to eat healthy? Hey, I think 9 bucks for a salad like this is a pretty good deal right. It’s a very interesting salad, no romaine lettuce, sorry to all you lettuce lovers. It’s certainly packed full of fiber…and it’s all dressed in a goma dressing. And yes, it really is a whole tomato smack dab in the middle. But you know what’s cool? It’s a peeled tomato!

Everything in this salad just works together so well, I would love it if they added natto. I just love all the slimy foods! If the ingredients listed above appeal to you, give the salad a try! Give Tori Ton a try if you haven’t been!

Yellow Cab Pizza Co. – Kalihi, HI

Funny story time! Sort of. Don’t get your hopes too high. Okay so Yellow Cab Pizza Co. is located in the Costco Iwilei parking lot and we know how nuts Costco is…all the time. So Labor Day comes along and Costco is closed, yes! I decided this was the perfect chance to drive to Yellow Cab and see if they are open…gonna have choke parking.

I was right. Well first of all, everyone stopped knowing how to use their phones because so many cars are zooming in and out because they don’t know Costco is closed. So anyway, I parked my car near Yellow Cab and noticed staffers and the lights on inside. Then I see from my car that their open/closed sign says closed! Oh no! We go to the door and they have a paper sign that shares their Labor Day hours, they were open! Mind you, they were “open” from 10:30 am and I was there at about 2:30 pm (yes, late lunch). So I open the door and walk to the front counter and ask the young worker, are you folks open? He says yes and I told him, your sign says closed. He is completely surprised and runs out immediately to turn the sign around.

Let’s think about this a little bit. It took them 4 hours to realize their sign said closed, and yes I was the only customer in there. I just think about how many customers they lost that day because get plenty people driving through the lot seeing the closed sign along with a closed Costco and just driving away! *facepalm* Anyway, after I order and am waiting for my food, a huge group of tourists come in to order. I don’t want to say I’m a hero, but I’m just gonna say not all heroes wear capes. Okay haha, let’s check out the food!

10″ Manhattan Meatlovers Pizza | $11.95
italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, bacon, ground beef, and salami

Wasn’t my meal but man if you like meat, what meat is missing from this pizza? You would love it!! It was gobbled up.

Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta | $8.95
tender chicken strips, shiitake mushrooms and roasted peanuts sauteed in a spicy oriental sauce garnished with spring onions…uniquely our own!

First off, offended by the name of the pasta. Weren’t the films portrayed by a Caucasian actor? Okay, let’s not go down a rabbit hole. This pasta is very good, I enjoyed it. I should have asked for no peanuts. There were too many nuts. You see a bunch here but there was a whole bunch throughout the pasta too!

Shrimp Alfredo | $10.95
shrimp, black olives, and pasta tossed in a made-to-order creamy alfredo sauce

Not my dish, it was once again enjoyed by the diner. I don’t think it’s worth it for $11, they have a chicken version for $8.95, probably more worth the money.

Garlic Parmesan Wings | $6.95

Oooh, these chicken wings are good! You know, looking at chicken wings on other menus…they are pricey yeah?? I thought this was a pretty good price compared to the other wings places. And it’s delicious! Could really taste the garlic and parmesan seasoning.

Now we turn to the “this stuff can only happen to me” news segment, remember how I told you that the parking lot is EMPTY because Costco is closed? And remember how I told you a big group of tourists came in after us? Check out this picture.


Okay, sorry for the yelling. I laugh now about it but boy was I peeved when I first saw it! They could have at least left one spot in between us! Plenty people had to jump out of this van!!! Okay guys, have a good Monday, lol.

Recipe: Spam Musubi

Spam in all its glory

I know what you’re thinking, a recipe for spam musubi? Is that really needed? And guess what? This is not even a real recipe, it’s a total lazy day/cheat recipe. However, I am always curious about how people make their spam musubi! I found this new way to make it and wanted to share! Please feel free to share any recipes you are willing to in the comments!

Yup, the secret ingredient.
Boil up and down, get that sauce nice and thick!
Pretty generous with the rice…(nice photobomb from Hurricane Popcorn in the back)
Generous with the slices of spam too. Makes you want to be my friend and have a picnic right? A picnic for me to bring the spam musubi!

Spam Musubi

1 12 oz. jar of Halm’s Hawaiian Bar-B-Que Sauce

2 cans of Spam

5 Cups of Cooked White Rice

6 full sheets of Nori, cut in half (vertical, long way)

Spam musubi maker

Makes: 12 Musubi

Cut 8 slices of spam per can, you should have 16 slices at the end. Pan fry each slice of spam both sides in batches (if it doesn’t all fit in the pan you have). Place all the spam slices back into pan (it’s okay if they are stacked on each other), pour entire jar of Hawaiian Bar-B-Que sauce, lower heat to medium and allow sauce to thicken. Occasionally turn over spam slices to make sure each slice gets nicely sauced up. 

Use your spam musubi maker and layer rice and spam slice according to your taste! Wrap with nori and EAT!

Note: 5 cups of rice made 12 musubis perfectly! Eat the leftover spam slices as a side dish for another meal! Delish and kids love it!

3660 on the Rise – Waialae, HI

I had a wonderful birthday dinner last month at 3660 on the Rise and can you believe it, it was my first ever visit! This restaurant has been around for quite a while, not sure what I was expecting. Somehow I envisioned an interior as a big ballroom type venue, not sure why. Not to say they are not fancy! It’s a nice upscale restaurant but nothing too stuffy. I really enjoyed it! The wait staff were attentive and the food was delish. Let’s get on with the review!

Left: Island Iced Tea: bacardi limon, triple sec, fresh limeade, tropical iced tea (thumbs down)
Right: 3660 Mojito: bacardi limon, light rum, fresh limeade, fresh mint leaves (very good drink!)
Ahi Katsu | $18.50
sashimi-grade ahi wrapped in nori and deep fried medium rare, wasabi – ginger sauce

This dish looked familiar and it’s no wonder why, Sansei serves a similar dish! Well now that I’ve tried both, I can safely say, this one is the WINNAZ. I think I could eat this dish on its own as an entree.

3 Course Dinner Special | $67
Clam & Corn Chowder
3 Course Dinner Special | $67
Duet of Braised Short Ribs of Beef Truffle Jus
Oven Roasted Lobster Tail with Roasted Red Pepper Butter Sauce

I can’t comment too much on the 3 course meal, I can say the person who ate it enjoyed it! $67 for a three course meal is pretty good, especially with lobster??

Roast Rack of Macadamia Nut Crusted Colorado Lamb | $49.50
Cabernet Mint Sauce

Now this dish, this dish I can comment on. It was mine oh mine and it was absolutely delicious. Cooked perfectly medium rare and the seasoning was on point! What a great way to celebrate.

3 Course Dinner Special | $67
Mixed Berry Trifle with Pound Cake

Certainly looks appetizing right? It was pretty good, I enjoyed the fresh berries. I had one really good piece of pound cake and then the rest was blech. Like powdery/flour-y somehow, a bit weird and gritty. I would pass on this dessert.

Granny Smith Apple Tartlette | $11.00
caramelized apples in puff pastry topped with homemade vanilla caramel sauce swirl ice cream

I wish I could do the heart face emoji for this dessert. It was AMAZING. I love myself some apple desserts and this one was perfection. The puff pastry was so buttery and flaky, lovely baked apple slices inside…CARAMEL AND CARAMEL ICE CREAM? Well I know what dessert I will order next time, no regrets!

Spicy Pavilion – Honolulu, HI

This post is almost worthless, as I write this post, they have permanently closed their doors. I actually came on Friday night for a family dinner not knowing they were closing this weekend, boy was that a wrong decision. My posts always include my truthful rambling, oh boy, get ready for this one.

I arrived at Chinese Cultural Plaza parking lot and was about to pull a ticket but was told by the attendant, “$3.” A bit flustered, I pull out my wallet and pay and she gives me a ticket. She tells me to keep it on the dash and that it is good until 11 pm. I learned later that this is what they do after 5pm. I was meeting my family at the Spicy Pavilion so I head in first and ask for a table. There are a few empty tables but I am informed by the waitress that they are very busy that night because they are closing that weekend so their reservations are full. I am upset but I don’t make a fuss and leave the restaurant. I call my family and ask what they want to do, they finally decide on Hunan Cuisine across the street. My Chinese heart is relieved, I can walk there and take advantage of the parking fee I paid.

So I walk to Hunan, very slow and I get seated right away. Very nice gentleman, he brings out the plates/silverware and a pot of hot tea. I then get a phone call from my family and GUESS WHAT. They said they got to Spicy Pavilion and GOT A TABLE. WHAT THE WHAT. I was very upset at this point because they just turned me away and I am already seated at a new restaurant. They tell me to come over so I have to eat crow and tell the nice man (who is now in the kitchen cooking – very small crew) that I will be leaving and apologize. He is very nice and tells me it’s okay. Oh man, that alone deserves a future visit. I felt awful.

Anyway, I get back to Spicy Pavilion and maybe swung open their door a bit hard (I was mad okay?). I sat down and behaved myself, don’t worry. It looks like our family (six people) got seated at a table for 4, does it take a Chinese to Chinese interaction to score this? Whatever, I got to try them before they closed so I was glad for that at least. Was it worth all the hassle? Let’s take a look…

Deep Fried Potato Salad (Mr. Wong Special)
thin strings of potato deep fried and tossed with spices and cilantro

A great starter! Perfectly fried and light crunch – loved the spices and the fresh cilantro tossed in! So good.

Griddle Cooked Shrimp
shrimp, onions, bell peppers, and celery

Another great dish, I loved the shrimp. This was cute…this little wok was being warmed with a tea light…great dish! Spicy.

Stir Fried Garlic Green Bean

Great plate of beans. The beans were nice and fresh, not at all old (I’ve had too many of that), perfectly seasoned and cooked.

Fish with Spicy Pickled Vegetables
spicy and sour soup based; longli fish filet with pickled cabbage and pickled chilis

Okay, it says spicy and sour soup but this was probably the mildest dish we had. How was it? Eh…sour soups aren’t my jam. It was edible but probably my least favorite dish of the night.

Diced Chicken with Chili Peppers
fried diced chicken, dry red chili peppers, onions, bell peppers, and scallions

Meh. This dish was just okay. Nothing special about it, I wouldn’t order it again.

Beef in Hot Chili Oil
spicy soup based; sliced beef with bean sprouts and cucumbers drizzled over hot oil

Okay, we ordered too much food. And why did we get basically the same dish but with beef this time? We were kind of full by now so I didn’t eat this one too much. I have the leftovers so let’s see how I feel about it this week, haha.

Pan Fried Jiangxi Noodle
jiangxi rice noodle pan fried with ground pork and vegetables

I am a carb queen and was excited to try this noodle. It was delicious! I loved the seasoning (probably MSG, no judgements). I wish it wasn’t brought out so late in the meal, I would have eaten more of it.

Garlic Fried Rice

Such a simple dish, yet such a good dish. This was brought out last (why???) and I knew it would be good. Yes, it was the end of the meal but we devoured it. I would have ordered a take out of it if I wasn’t so mad and also dying of spice. Haha, well we found out they were closing because the father is the cook and his hands/arms hurt from all the cooking. Totally understandable. It was a good restaurant so I do hope they find a new cook one day and reopen. I will be sure to make a reservation next time or not go during their closing weekend.

Don e Don – Keeaumoku, HI

I did not know a lick about Don e Don before I ventured out here for a visit. I wasn’t feeling for anything in particular as I drove down Korea-moku but decided to give this new restaurant a try! Well, I am certainly glad I did! This restaurant was a pleasant surprise, good food AND service. That’s a lot for me, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Haha, just kidding. Check out the pics!

BAN-CHAN. Looks basic? Oh let me lead you through the dishes…

Clockwise from left to right:
Shoyu Potatoes – Yum
Kimchee – Yum
Seasoned Choy Sum – Yum!
Korean Green Salad – OKAY I HAVE TO SAY THIS IS THE BEST KOREAN SALAD I EVER HAD – I usually don’t touch this and well I helped to polish this off. The dressing was perfect, a good balance of sweet and tang.
Preserved Mustard Cabbage – First time I seen this as a banchan in a Korean restaurant. Delicious! Light seasoning, not at all salty or bitter. Was good.
Daikon/Onion/Pepper Pickles – Delicious! Wait a minute, was I just super hungry? Nah, I liked all the banchans!

Water and Barley Tea

Why don’t more restaurants do this? I like it when they bring the pitchers and leave it at your table. I drink a lot of liquids so I appreciated this lots!

Lunch Set Menu (Meat and Stew Combo) – Soft Tofu Pot Stew

They have an awesome lunch set menu and the price varies based on the meat you choose. I’ll show the two meats we choose for our combos after this. The soondubu is delicious! The serving is not small by any means, was a perfect portion even though it was part of a set!

Lunch Set: Marinated Sliced Rib Eye (Bulgogi) | $14.99

They were pretty smart to name this marinated sliced rib eye, makes it sound all high class right? While I’m not usually a fan of marinated thinly sliced beef, this was surprisingly good! I liked that it was served on a bed of onions that cooked down with the sweet marinade. Would I get it again? Well, probably not but mainly because I would rather get the pork ribs below. But if you’re a fan of bulgogi, for sure get it!

Lunch Set: Pork Spare Ribs | $16.99

Omigosh! Okay, get mostly bone but I am not shame to pick these bones up and gnaw the meat off. Get some pretty meaty pieces in there though. They are known for these pork ribs so I give it a thumbs up! I would definitely return to get this again! They have a sea salt pork rib which I would like to try next time.