Hawaii eats section Restaurant-hopping
Special to Metromix
The ninth annual Waikiki Spam Jam takes place next weekend with Spam-themed merchandise, games and prizes and, of course, food by local restaurants. We tasted a few of the dishes that will make an appearance at the Spam fest, available from 4 to 10 p.m. April 24 on Kalakaua Avenue.
DORAKU'S SPAM MUSUBI AND SPAM ROLL
For kids and die-hard Spam fans, the best thing is the grab-and-go Spam musubi from Doraku ($3) —rice topped with furikake and a slice of Spam glazed with teriyaki sauce. If you want Spam sushi to share, Doraku's Spam roll ($5) is a maki-style roll filled with Spam, egg and cucumber and rolled in furikake.
Doraku Sushi, 2233 Kalakaua Ave., 922-3323
CHEESEBURGER WAIKIKI SPAM SLIDERS
Cheeseburger Waikiki has a ton of Spam options, including Spam sliders. You can get a plate of three sliders for $5. The Spam sliders are served with a tangy barbecue sauce and diced pineapple.
Cheeseburger Waikiki, 1945 Kalakaua Ave., 941-2400
GORDON BIERSCH'S SPAM GAU GEE
Spam is pork, so it can be used interchangeably with various dishes that use pork hash, like in Gordon Biersch's Spam gau gee ($5 for three). The deep-fried wonton wrappers are generously filled with Spam hash, and the sweet and spicy chili dipping sauce is a perfect contrast.
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, 599-4877
JIMMY BUFFETT'S SPAM CHILI
The chef at Jimmy Buffett's took its signature chili dish and threw cubed Spam into the mix of black beans, ground beef, tomatoes, onions and peppers ($6). The result is a spicy, very Southwestern-tasting dish that's almost healthy ... almost.
Jimmy Buffet's at the Beachcomber, 2300 Kalakaua Ave., 791-120
RUMFIRE'S FIESTA SPAM AND CRAB DIP
Even if you're not into Spam, you'll be into RumFire's Fiesta Spam and Crab Dip ($6), a rendition of its crab dip of Hamakua tomato relish, jalapenos and jack cheese, garnished with cubed Spam and sea asparagus. The chips are local, too — a colorful array from the Hawaiian Chip Co.
RumFire, 2255 Kalakaua Ave., 921-4600
THE SHACK WAIKIKI'S CHILI SPAMDOG
Along with a Spam burger, The Shack is also serving up a Spam dog ($3) smothered in Spam chili, pineapple-tomato relish, cheese and onions. Nice! The chili is a little sweeter thanks to the pineapple relish, and the chunks of Spam just give the dog more meaty flavor. For some reason, the pineapple relish taste is more pronounced on the chili dog than on the burger.
The Shack Waikiki, 2255 Kuhio Ave, 921-2255
TROPICAL ICELAND'S SPAM WAFFLES
Spam and waffles? Why not? People love bacon and waffles, so this is no different. Spam Jam newcomer Tropical Iceland has a special waffle batter dotted with minced Spam bits ($6) and served with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with honey. The sweet/salty combo is good as a meal or as dessert.
Tropical Iceland, Royal Hawaiian Center,2201 Kalakaua Ave., 922-2299; also located at Ala Moana Center
CURRY IN A HURRY
India Café has opened a Windward-side outpost of its popular Kapahulu Indian eatery. India Café Curry Express in Kailua is a scaled-down version of the mother restaurant — it's takeout only — but it's a ramped-up version of the cafe's lunch truck that used to be parked in the Don Quijote Kailua parking lot. The three-week-old cafe is next to Times Supermarket. The menu is limited, but specials, such as spinach tofu korma and spicy calamari, rotate daily. Follow @indiacafehawaii on Twitter for daily specials.
INDIA CAFÉ CURRY EXPRESS
600 Kailua Road
10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
COOKIES A LA PARIS
Honolulu Coffee Co.'s macaroons aren't the American coconut macaroons, but Parisian macaroons ($1.50 each), made with egg whites and almond flour for a delicate cookie sandwich that gives way to a creamy, slightly chewy center. The liliko'i is vibrant, the salted caramel buttery and rich, and the chocolate, well, chocolatey. This is the stuff of obsessions.
— Martha Cheng