How Come Two Korean Food Trucks Stay Side by Side in Waikele?

Turns out dis tasty tale of war and peace is little bit of both, brah.


Waikele Korean Food Trucks Pc Lee Tonouchi

Rainbow Stream and Yellow Kitchen food trucks in Waikele. Photo: Lee A. Tonouchi


America loves its food battles. Whether it’s da cola wars, da burger wars or pretty much any food competition show on top da Food Network, we stay hardwired for take one side. I gotta admit, I get caught up in da excitement too. I nevah rooted so hard for anybody in one reality show until I found myself cheering super loud at da TV, rooting for Lanai Tabura and his Aloha Plate team in The Great Food Truck Race. Gotta root for da local boyz, brah!


Das why when I first seen da yellow Korean food truck and da silver Korean food truck in Waikele right next to each oddah, I immediately wondered which one wuz going survive dis battle. Whoevah opened up second wuz pretty unz, I thought. One of ’em gotta end up going outta business, right? Cuz no can have two. Or can?


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Located in da ‘Ewa side parking lot of Waikele Premium Outlets, right behind Coach, get da Rainbow Stream food truck and da Yellow Kitchen food truck. It’s funny that even though our family’s been going to both for several years now, I had for look up da real names on top da internets. Cuz everybody I know just calls ’em da silver Korean food truck and da yellow Korean food truck.


Rainbow Stream Truck Seafood Pancake Pc Lee Tonouchi

Da seafood pancake at da Rainbow Stream truck stay supah awesome. Photo: Lee A. Tonouchi


Ova da years our family has tried stuffs from both trucks. But even though I wuz determined for choose one winner for dis lunch wagon war, I wuz nevah able for decide cuz it always depended on what we wuz craving. If we wanted meat jun ($13.75), we had to go with da yellow truck. Kim chee or seafood pancake ($10.50), only get ’em at da silver truck. Spicy rice cake ($10.75) stay at da yellow truck. Bibimbap ($12) only at da silver truck.


I imagine da garlic shrimp ($13.75) at da yellow truck stay aimed at da tourist crowd who expect all lunch wagons for offer garlic shrimp. Even da silver food truck get some offerings that make me wonder if das really Korean or Korean with one “Hawaiian” spin. Pineapple shrimp ($12.50), anyone?


Yellow Kitchen Truck Shrimp And Kalbi Plate Pc Lee Tonouchi

Da kalbi and garlic shrimp ($17.75) stay da most popular item at da Yellow Kitchen food truck. Photo: Lee A. Tonouchi


My personal favorite from da yellow truck is da garlic shrimp, cuz contrary to what many tourists believe, not everyplace in Hawai‘i serves garlic shrimp. Da one ova hea stay pretty soft and garlicky. And my mostest favorite menu item at da silver truck is either da seafood pancake or da kim chee pancake. Dey both stay supah tasty and fried crisp to perfection. Da seafood pancake kinda more filling, like one meal. I tink of da kim chee pancake as more of one appetizer.


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One time I wanted for go to one truck, but my family wanted da oddah truck. It ended up being no biggie: We just split up and went to both trucks.


Yellow Kitchen Truck Menu Pc Lee Tonouchi

Dis da menu for Yellow Kitchen. Photo: Lee A. Tonouchi


Das when it dawned on me. Maybe instead of being in one competitive relationship, maybe da two trucks actually help keep each oddah afloat. Cuz if we combine their two menus, dey actually have one pretty unbeatable Korean food truck selection.


Rainbow Stream Truck Menu Pc Lee Tonouchi

And dis da menu for Rainbow Stream. Photo: Lee A. Tonouchi


I wondered if maybe dat wuz their whole plan from da beginning. Maybe dey wuz in cahoots dis whole time! My editor Mari Taketa said for go find out. But I told her that food truck peoples can be sus of folks who ask too many questions. Normally I might flash one smile and try make myself seem friendly, but hard when I get my mask on. Luckily my boss wuz going be heading ova to Waikele, so she wen try both trucks and meanwhile ask friendly kine questions same time. She found out da two trucks dunno each oddah. Da yellow truck was dea first. In fact, da first ting you see on top da Yellow Kitchen Instagram is “The 1st Korean Food Truck.” Da Instagram for Rainbow Stream only say “Hawai‘i Korean food.” Over time, da silver truck wen evolve their menu and das how da two trucks ended up with different stuffs.


Now I understand. Maybe in their minds, get one competition, brah, but inside customers’ minds, their menus complement each oddah. So my tinkings is as long as both trucks stay going strong, den da winner always going be us!


94-796 Lumi‘aina St., @rainbow_stream, @yellowkitchenhawaii


Lee A. Tonouchi is a nationally recognized Pidgin author, lecturer and activist for the perpetuation of Hawai‘i’s local dialect. His award-winning works include Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son, Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos and Three Year Swim Club, a Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice Selection. He is a two-time grand prize winner of HONOLULU Magazine’s fiction contest, for “Seven Deadly Local Sins” and “Legend of da River Street Gambler.”