Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hawaii Journal Day 7: The Side Street Inn Fried Pork Chop

Day 7: Saturday

Lunch: Sanoya Ramen

We were feeling like ramen for lunch so we headed to Sanoya, a small joint with a sign touting handmade noodles. Pork ramen came in a rich, ultra-fatty pork stock. The noodles were nice and chewy. Yakisoba was a bit too charred and had a burnt, carbony taste which I didn't like. Gyoza, though, were quite nice.

Ramen is one of those things where I've never found anything in Hawaii better than we can get at the best places in LA, but we keep searching.

1785 S King St, #4
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 947-6065

Dinner: Side Street Inn

A few years ago, when I first visited the Side Street Inn, it was sort of a local secret. A typical plate lunch service by day, at night, it turned into a bar with amazing food that attracted some of Hawaii's greatest chefs after hours. It was bar food with a Hawaiian twist. Lilikoi basted spare ribs, fried rice and a marvelous fried, breaded pork chop. Well, the jig is up. Side Street Inn is officially on the map, at least the foodie tourist map. It's in Frommer's, Anthony Bourdain went there on his Travel Channel Show, and so on and so forth. The good news is that none of this has affected the food or atmosphere at Side Street.

Literally housed on a side street, a semi-industrial strip of Hopaka with no parking whatsoever (park at the east side of the Ala Moana Shopping Center), Side Street is a great little place. The fried pork chop is all it's chopped up to be, a well seasoned, breaded chop served sliced on the bone. Compared to yesterday's Japanese tonkatsu, a pounded piece of cutlet, the Side Street pork retains more of its natural pork flavor; it's less about fried and more about pork.

Side Street also dishes out excellent yakisoba, served with pink strips of char siu and fish cake and topped with cilantro.

One of the things I look forward to most at Side Street is the fried rice, probably the best I've ever had. It's cooked with bacon and has big pieces of sausage mixed throughout. All of this, of course, pairs well with cold beer, as it should be. It may no longer be a hip secret, but it's still a great meal.

Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka
Honolulu, HI
(808) 591-0253

Tomorrow: Sunday Brunch

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