Pau Hana Market in Waikīkī Provides Eat the Street-style Food Trucks All Day, Every Day
You can get a cold ramen salad, churros and a massive chicken cutlet plate in one location.
The thing about food trucks is that we don’t always know where to find them. And that’s both the thrill of the roaming restaurant and the frustration for its fans. So some food-truck operators have decided that the best solution is to park a truck in the same spot all the time, or even better: Park a bunch of trucks in the same spot all the time and make it a destination. Done.
The Pau Hana Market on Beach Walk in Waikīkī is like a micro Eat the Street-style food truck rally that’s there all day, every day. A circle of eight trucks (and one Elvis Presley face-in-the-hole photo board, naturally) surround a few canopied picnic tables, where diners can sit for a bit and eat their choice of food, from ramen to roasted chicken to churros.
The best reason to seek out the food truck hui is for the Kamitoku Ramen truck, which makes its broth from beef bones instead of using the pork-based soup that we’re used to.
The beef broth is lighter than its porky cousin, but is still full of rich, deep flavor. At Kamitoku, they top their bowls with slices of charred beef brisket, which gives it a beautiful smoky flavor. With the silky soft-boiled egg, it’s a pretty perfect bite. The Beefy Cold is a cold ramen salad that’s like the best somen salad you’ve ever had.
The Lani’s Loco Moco truck, an offshoot of Uncle Bo’s in Kaimukī, makes a good—and massive—chicken cutlet plate. The chicken itself is delicious, so we can overlook the violation of the first rule of loco-moco making: Don’t use powdered brown gravy. Rule No. 2 (for any meal made in Hawai‘i, not just mocos) is good rice. There’s no excuse for overcooked, mushy rice, which is part of the reason why we suggest skipping the Five Star Shrimp truck. Save your shrimp appetite for the North Shore, where the garlic butter shrimp is guaranteed to be better at any truck you choose than at this one in Waikīkī.
We opted to take most of our Pau Hana Market meals to go, so we could fill up on churros from the Chuloa truck, where the churros are fried to order. We were hoping for tender, crisp fritters, but were let down when they arrived undercooked and tough, but we’ll try again and hope for better results because we love a good churro (that isn’t from Costco).
The times we visited the truck stop, it was hit or miss with which trucks were open and which ones were inexplicably closed, but that’s sort of the nature of the mobile eatery. We’re just stoked to know we can always get cold ramen salad.
Pau Hana Market, 234 Beach Walk in Waikīkī (next to Henry’s Place), plate lunches and ramen from $6.75 to $14.95, pauhanwaikiki.com, 286-8900.