The scent of slow-cooked pork mingled with the heady aroma of grilled meat signals you’ve arrived at a Hawaiian restaurant. The heart of Hawaiian fare is in the meat. Huli huli chicken, barbecued beef and short ribs among the grilled selections; kalua and lau lau pork are slow-cooked offerings.
Huli huli chicken nearly always is made from dark thigh meat, pounded thin and tenderized with marinades or flavored with rubs, then grilled and slathered with a soy-based sauce sweetened with brown sugar and flavored with ginger and garlic. Barbecued beef is usually sinewy pieces of chuck roll, or a similar cut, marinated in soy and tenderized, then sliced thin and grilled until crispy around the edges. Ribbons of fattiness tug at the corners. Short ribs are cooked the same way, and have that same chewiness as the barbecued beef.
Those fatty meats might bother some American palates. “Hawaiian people don’t eat healthy,” joked Leianna Landon, who owns Pac Island Grill in Federal Way with her sister Raeleen Smith. Read more »