Sunday, May 3, 2009

Best Local Food - Side Street Inn

Yuuum. So good, I'd recommend this place to my dad--the connoisseur of "local kine grinz" and the all-around gourmet home cook. And too, Side Street Inn is sooo good that the top Hawaii chefs head out to this place after their restaurant shift is over.
BoldIt's a casual little hole in the wall identified by a white lit sign in an alley near Ala Moana Shopping Center, well worth the find, and do park in the structure--bottom floor only--across the way (or find alley street parking, or valet your car for safety.) It's what you'd expect of any local joint: veneered tables, vinyl cushioned chairs, and locals in shorts and t-shirts. And while the ambiance isn't anything to write home about, what most stands out is the food. Let me paint you a picture. The food is so good that when the party next to you gets their can smmeellll the succulent aroma from the dishes that they order...and you just have to turn your head to see what they ordered, eye up the colorful dishes, and strike up a conversation to find out what they got--or betta yet, see if they offer you some good eats. I'd recommend going with two to twelve people...the more dishes you can order, the more you can try. Everything is family style and the portions are huge.

They are best known for their Fried Rice (I like the one with lop chong though some like the kim chee version) and deep fried Pork Chops (drizzled with spicy garlic, I believe). Their Pork Belly Slidahs were ono--Kahlua pork between Chinese steamed buns, and the table next to us ordered some type of fried spring rolls with amazing smelling garlic sauce. (I'll have to update this post with my notes on other dishes to try as well as post my own photos).

If I knew about this place earlier, I'd have taken my family here for some reminiscent local food. Beats Rainbows, L&L, Big City Diner, and even Kakaoko Kitchen (though I do like the latter for a healthy alternative). Some say that the dishes are over priced and the joint overrated, but if it's good enough for Alan Wong and Roy's certainly good enough for me.

Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka Street
Honolulu, HI 96814

{update: June 1, 2009}
Most Popular dishes (shared family style):
Pan Fried Island Pork Chops ($21)
Fried Rice ($11) with Kim Chee ($12) or Lup Chong ($14)
Lilikoi BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($17)
Kalua Pig Slidahs: Kalua Pig Stuffed Chinese Buns w/ Grilled Pineapple Silices and Lililikoi BBQ sauce (3 for $8.50)
Nori Furikake crusted Ahi Filet (market price)
Chinese Style Steamed Hukilau Farm Raised Moi on Asian Veggies with Hot Peanut Oil ($24)
Spicy Garlic Chicken ($12)

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