Saturday, November 1, 2014

Highway Inn Kaka'ako

 I am a fan of all things Hawaiian food. Laulau, Kalua Pig, Poi topped with Lomi Salmon, Squid Luau, Beef Stew, Pipikaula, Poke, and end with a big slice of Haupia. YES. Now, don't get me wrong, I have and always will be a loyal client of Young's Fishmarket (See post HERE). You won't find anywhere else that makes a better Laulau. Moist, lots of luau leaves (my fave!), seasoned with just the right amount of salt, and loaded with lots of pork and butterfish inside. Oh and don't get me started on their Roast Pork. If you're lucky to get an order fresh and just cut, you are one lucky buggah. It will be the best Roast Pork you've ever tasted, even counting all those Roast Pork/Charsiu butcher shops in Chinatown. But, being the foodie that I am, I just had to try out Highway Inn to see what the hype was all about.

Now, this is the NEW Highway Inn, located in Kaka'ako by Starbucks on Ala Moana Blvd. We arrived on a Tuesday around 1130am, just in time for the lunch crowd. Thankfully, we were promptly seated and there was no wait. I immediately asked the waitress if they had their Salt Meat Watercress Soup that day, and yup, they did! I've read on Yelp that some days they're out of it or don't have it completely. I also didn't see it on the menu, so I'm sure it's a Special! And special, it is. Hoooo, if you have high sodium and high blood pressure, I warn you to be careful with this soup, as it is oh-so-tasty, but definitely on the saltier side. The meat is fork-tender, and the watercress adds a nice refreshing flavor to the salty soup. Take your spoon, add some rice, dip in for some soup, meat and watercress.....DEVOUR. You will not be sorry!

Now, I'm a big Squid Luau lover as well, and I definitely didn't miss that on the menu. It's something about that sweet luau stew with bits of tender squid that float throughout. I have to spill that Pakele's Hawaiian Food shop in Ko'olau Shopping Center has the best creamy Squid Luau and so-so-so inexpensive, you won't believe it. You get a pint for $4.75, less than $5! Where else are you going to get a deal like that!?

However, Highway Inn did not disappoint on the Squid Luau front. Not as sweet as Pakele's (though I like mine real sweet) and a good amount of squid too. This was my perfect Hawaiian Food lunch- Salt Meat Watercress, Squid Luau and some sizzling Smoke Meat!

A friend had the combo plate with Laulau and added Squid Luau (for $3.25) plus a bunch of other gigantic sides of Lomi, Okinawan Sweet Potato, Poi and Haupia. Amazing, filling meal for a great value (less than $20!!), though he said the Laulau was not as flavorful as Young's. Can we say we told you so? Haha.

Hmm, I'm missing something. The star of the show. Highway Inn's Sizzling Platter of Pua'a Uahi or aka Sizzling Platter of Smoke Meat and Pipikaula! Now, the hostess did mention that their most popular dish is the Smokin' Moco. Everything that a typical Loco Moco is, but instead of a hamburger patty, Smoke Meat!! And that Sizzling Platter was so delicious that it was devoured by the 4 of us in seconds. I may just order a Smokin' Moco next time! Smoke Meat is so hard to find here in Honolulu, that when I see it on the menu, there's no question I'm ordering it.

And that, folks, is all you need to know about Highway Inn! Great Hawaiian food, parking is plentiful in their lot or street, and fresh dessert made daily. Stop by Starbucks next door if you need a pick-me-up for that Kanak Attack you're about to receive!

Sizzling Platter of Smoke Meat and Pipikaula

Salt Meat Watercress

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