Hawaiian Fried Chicken

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Best of Honolulu 2012 - Ray's Fried Chicken

Best of Honolulu 2012 – Ray’s Fried Chicken

Hollywood and The Chick were in Hawaii taking some well deserved time off with family and friends. The trip involved birthday celebrations, surfing, tasty shrimp trucks, swimming with dolphins and turtles, kayaking and, yes you guessed it, some Hawaiian Fried Chicken. We made time for two tasty excursions for Ono fried chicken and the more classic southern style.

Waikane Store – Ono fried chicken

We were staying in Hau’ula along the Eastern shore of Oahu. We noticed an “Ono fried chicken” sign on the Kamehameha Highway and we decided to see how it compares to our beloved Melbourne Fried Chicken.

Waikane Store - "Ono" Fried Chicken and Famous "Sushi". Keep your eye out or you'll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

Waikane Store – “Ono” Fried Chicken and Famous “Sushi”. Keep your eye open or you’ll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

We asked for an order of the fried chicken to share and skipped the spam sushi which was also on offer. It was served in a small paper container consisting of 4 small thigh pieces with plastic wrapping.

"Ono" Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous "Sushi"

“Ono” Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous Spam “Sushi” – that ain’t a slice of tuna!

The deboned chicken seemed pan fried because the bottom was a bit blackened and crispy compared to the top. The chicken pieces were the right amount of greasy and had a bit of a sweet taste which we enjoyed. It seemed to be cooked earlier in the day and reheated but that didn’t stop it from being full of yumminess.

The pieces were small, but with a good amount of meet and light coating of sauce. There was no seating - so we ate on the boot.

There was no seating – so we ate on the boot.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

We were told that the recipe is an old Korean family recipe but it didn’t seem like any Korean Fried Chicken we’ve ever had. The Chick felt it tasted more like roasted chicken than fried, probably because the skin wasn’t very crispy.

We paired the savoury chicken with a couple of sweet bananas from the near by fruit stand which had an authentic roadside stink of old cigarettes and was run by a gravelly voiced old woman. We definitely recommend grabbing a quick cluck from this road side market if you are travelling the East coast of Oahu.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Just watch for wild cluckers when parking, they need those for the next batch.

Ray’s Cafe

We came to know about Ray’s Cafe through the webby web (Yelp) and after reading so many positive reviews we decided we had to get a taste of their fried chooks.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Ray’s is located on North King St in Honolulu in a very local neighbourhood with no parking. It’s a hole in the wall with humongous portions sizes. The menu on the wall boasts the best of diner fare: greasy breakfast plates, steaks, ribs, burgers, ahi tuna steaks, a lobster special, and of course – fried chicken. There were options for family-sized buckets, but we opted for a single serving.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

For the family.

For the family.

We opted for the small portion - without the Hamburger Steak.

We opted for the small portion – without the Hamburger Steak.

While waiting for the main, we received a bowl of fresh, crisp lettuce and a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing. The Chick was thrilled as it satisfied her craving for green foods.

American version of a salad - we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

American version of a salad – we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

While waiting we saw plates of ahi tuna steaks and macaroni salad (Hawaiian specialty) go by and watched a man dig into a huge steak with classic crinkle fries in a basket. The chicken can be paired with steak, but our order of fried chicken consisted of 3 big, very hot, thigh pieces with two mounds of white rice. The chicken was single coated and very crispy, almost no breading, but the skin was perfectly fried. It was so hot that we had to let it rest for a bit to cool down. We struggled between burning fingers and the desire to bite in, and in the end had to use a fork. Extra points for truly fresh cooking, it was worth the wait. We added a bit of tabasco sauce to get a bit of kick, but the chicken was tasty on its own. Overall the pieces were big, juicy, and steamy and we enjoyed our experience at Ray’s. Hollywood has his eyes set on the Ray’s ribs and cheeseburgers for the next visit.

The rice was perfect - and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The rice was perfect – and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork - the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn't taste dry.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork – the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn’t taste dry.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Ray’s is like a Classic American greasy spoon with Hawaiian and Asian touches which all made for a unique culinary experience. Certainly worth a trip off the beach, but beware, you may lose your beach-ready bod along the way.


The Beaufort

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The Beaufort is a pub/restaurant in Carlton that Hollywood heard a lot about with regards to its great fried chicken. So naturally it was next on our list for another crispy Melbourne Fried Chicken adventure.

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We arrived there and it had a fusion theme of Aussie pub meets American style bar with seafaring decorations on the wall. The fried chicken was on the specials board. We went through the menu and decided to go for an order of deep fried pickles with ranch sauce, the quinoa salad, the Out-N-Out burger (consisting of meat, cheese, mustard, ketchup, tomato, Spanish onion and shoestring fries on the side) and an order of the Southern Fried Chicken that came with a pico de gallo salad along with shoestring fries. We got a couple of cool brews to get us in the right mood.

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The deep fried pickles arrived first and were too hot to eat, so we stared at them longingly. They were crunchy and had a strong pickled taste that sat very well with us. The portion was big which was good for Hollywood. This was The Chick’s favorite of the night.

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The burger was thick juicy and cheesy. The mix of cheese, juicy meat and sauces made a very saucy experience which Hollywood really enjoyed. The Chick ate her share, but felt she’d had better, maybe just in contrast the awesomeness of the fried pickles.

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The main contender arrived next in a big basket with a huge bed of fries a bowl of pico de gallo salad and a mix of thighs and drumsticks of some crispy fried chicken. The chicken was fresh, hot and steamy. It was also very tender and had a prominent blend of spics that we really enjoyed. The coating/skin was single coated and spiced right. Hollywood is usually a fan of the double coating but found this style quite right. The only beef Hollywood had with this chicken is that there weren’t any breast/wing pieces. The accompanying salad was good and provided a contrasting fresh flavor.

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Last but not least, the quino salad accompanied with tomatoes was really great and had heaps of fresh flavors running through it and although we were really full we just couldn’t stop ourselves of completely smashing it even though we were already so full. Who knew a pub with fried foods would do fresh salads so well!

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Overall The Beaufort is a great place to be. It is low key, targeted at the University scene and just a great place to relax and enjoy some amazing food. The chicken is really really good at the Beaufort and so are many other dishes. Definitely worth a visit or two or more….

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Hollywood’s Rating: 8/10 Clucks

The Chick’s Rating: 8/10 Clucks

The Beaufort on Urbanspoon

Le Joint

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Hollywood and the boys were celebrating the beginning of Movember and their cleanly shaven upper lips and what better way to celebrate than sinking down a few cold brews and gobbling down some good ol crispy Melbourne Fried Chicken

Le Joint was on Hollywood’s radar ever since it popped up on the webby web as a cool funky place with good burgers and chooks. Also we all had an urge to get our fortune told by the one and only Zoltar!


We reached there and got a few Dos Blockos beers and went for 3 orders of the southern fried chicken along with one serve of chips to share.

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The chicken arrived in a portion of 3 pieces accompanied with a corn aioli dipping sauce. We struggled a bit to start as the pieces were steaming hot which was a good testimony to how fresh the chooks were. They were lightly spiced, and very tender. The drumstick was the only boned piece while the breast and thigh pieces were boneless. The skin was crispy and single coated. Overall the chicken was good with a good price to portion ratio and sat well with the Mo Bros however Hollywood found that it couldve been heavier with the spices and a bit extra greasy to his liking. The chips seemed reheated and weren’t that good.

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Le Joint is a really cool funky place to check out and the chicken there is good. Next visit we shall try their famous wagyu burger. Extra points for the famous Zoltar.

Time Out Melbourne

Hollywood’s Rating: 7/10 Clucks
Eric and CS’s Rating: 8/10 Clucks

Trunk Diner (with The Spice Girl)

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Trunk Diner was suggested by a work colleague a long time ago to Hollywood when the list of Melbourne Fried Chicken joints was first constructed. The chick was away in Asia doing her thang so Hollywood and The Spice Girl joined forces and hit up Trunk Diner in search of another crispy finger lickin’ fried chicken adventure.

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The diner, which was separate to the actual restaurant and bar, had a good casual cozy vibe. The menu was well designed but threw a curve ball at us when we realized that it was different than the online version and they didnt have the the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Kebabs, Shame on you Trunk! After some serious discussions we decided to go for the Mac and Cheese, Corn Fritters with guacamole, sour cream, bacon and house made tomato relish, buttermilk fried chicken wings and potato salad, and the Wagyu burger with gruyere cheese and sauteed mushrooms.
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The food came in all at once. The burger was ok but the taste of char-gill overpowered all the other flavors which was a shame because the meat seemed thick, juicy and tender. Overall it was average and not memorable at all. The corn fritters were ok but seemed a bit cold and not fresh at all. Our suspicion here is they mightve been reheated. The guacamole, bacon, sour cream and tomato relish were doing their best but the main ingredient (the corn fritter) couldnt seem to pull it all together. It just didnt have that freshly cooked hot moisty character that you would really crave.
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The chicken was a big disappointment at Trunk. It didnt seem freshly cooked at all, more like reheated. The coating was very basic and their werent any spices at all. The Spice Girl reckoned that the potato salad was a store bought salad. This was the worst chicken dish we have tasted so far.

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The only good thing about our order was the mac and cheese. It was hot, creamy and just a little bit crunchy on the surface.

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After the big disappointment we had we were a bit hesitant about getting dessert. The spice girl had high hopes for the Tim Tam Slam Milkshake and it was highly recommended by the waitress so we ordered one to share. The shake was below average. It was warm and didnt seem blended at all with only a few traces of TimTam flavors. We finally broke our silence and finally complained to the waitress but that didnt get us anywhere really.
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Overall, our experience was very bad. If you are thinking of good fried chicken then do yourself a favor and skip this place because we guarantee that you will find a much more memorable experience across the road at Gami or if worse comes to worse The Chicken Scene reckons that even a fast food option (yes even KFC) would be better.
Hollywood Rating: 2.5/10 Clucks
The Spice Girl: 3.5/10 Clucks
Trunk Diner on Urbanspoon

The Parlor Diner

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The Parlor Diner is a small, down to earth diner-style restaurant at the Windsor side of Chapel street. This venue was not on our original list, but was recommended by chickenwe-keen friends since its menu boasts crispy buttermilk fried chicken and a wide range of American comfort food: burgers, hot dogs, ribs and many more tasty delights. Parlor diner is a no fuss, Americana decorated diner that adds needed character to the area.

We had previously tried checking this place out on Melbourne Cup day, but despite being American style, it still has Aussie hours. But on a random Friday night we decided to give the place another shot. With our lovely friend Christina with us, we scored a table and were all hyped up and excited to get our fingers all greased up with some Melbourne fried chicken.
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We ordered 6 pieces of crispy buttermilk fried chicken, ribs, mac-n-cheese, and a halloumi salad. The food took a while to arrive but being able to watch the homey decor of the place and watch (and smell) our food being cooked was an enjoyable way to kill time. First up: a salad  piled with halloumi, mushrooms and avocados (big win there). Shortly afterwards with the mascarpone mac-n-cheese which was a bit light and creamy with a slight hint of sweetness. The Chick thought that deserved extra points.

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Then, the moment we had been craving, the fried chicken arrived. It was all the buttermilk crispy chicken goodness we were promised. The skin was crunchy and seemed to have been coated evenly with corn flake crumbs. The pieces were white breast strips and were steaming hot. They were too hot to the point that Hollywood had a hard time attacking the chops by hand. But he endured, blistered hands and all because the chicken was great! It had that proper balance of crispy coating and moist melt in your mouth meat that was tender but not greasy at all!

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Our half order of baby back ribs arrived a while afterwards and was a good hearty portion of tender sweat meat covered in a smokey hickory sauce. The meat was so tender and hot, it fell right off the bones and melted easily. The hot sauce was a good side sauce for both meats.

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The Parlor Diner and staff have character and the food has the desired comfort favors. We will be back, many, many more times. The hot dogs and the burgers smelled amazing as well. Plus the true American style breakfast options may compete for our brunch attention next weekend. See you soon Parlor Diner!

Hollywood Rating: 8/10 clucks    

The Chick Rating: 8.5/10 clucks

Parlour Diner  on Urbanspoon