Hi. My name's Carol, and I love food. No, you don't understand. I love food. If I were on the Titanic, I'd be in the galley (kitchen) eating up the chocolate pudding and the roasted quail. I go to most events, activities and parties just for the food. The company and the conversation are secondary. Here, I'll try to document everything that goes into my mouth. Aren't we excited? Oh, hey, are you gonna eat that?
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Fairwood Drive Inn
We were having dinner with friends at Macaroni Grill one Monday during our Hawaii summer trip when -- on a lark -- I asked them where they recommend we go for good Minute Chicken Cake Noodle, a Chinese dish found only in Hawaii. We were planning to go to Fook Yuen (yes, there really is a place called that; I've been there before once) with my mom, but then our friends recommended Fairwood Drive Inn immediately. As soon as they said the name, I saw in my mind's eye the familiar yellow sign I'd passed going to and from my mom's apartment on Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu.
Keeaumoku Street is a main street heading directly into one of Hawaii's most popular shopping centers, Ala Moana. Along the way, you'll find nightclubs, a strip bar, and lots of dives, as well as the Walmart clogging up traffic. Well, tucked into a small, ancient bunch of short buildings is Fairwood. I'd overlooked the place, because the name made me think of American drive-ins. Burgers, fries, nothing Chinese in Fairwood.
I was so wrong.
We beat the lunch crowds one of our last days on the island to have one of the best Minute Chicken Cake Noodles, ever. (The best we ever had was at Golden Eagle, where they battered and crisp-fried their chicken before lathering it over a gravied fried cake noodle.) I almost faltered from my original Cake Noodle goal, when I caught a load of the vast menu of other typically Hawaii-Chinese foods.
They had fried noodles (char siu noodles), Mapo Tofu Cake Noodle as a special, Singapore Noodles, Loco Moco, Portuguese Sausage, eggs and rice... They had almost everything.
The only thing they didn't have up there was shrimp with black bean sauce. But I bet they would've made it if I asked.
Their cake noodles were good, only faintly did I taste a little burnt around the edges, but that was alright. I wasn't gonna complain. This was my only shot. The Minute Chicken was in parts a little shoyu salty, but in other parts--like the ends--they were perfection. Nobody talked. The food was that good. I thought I saw my husband cry a little.
We spoke to the lady who took our order, who is very familiar with our friends--the ones who recommended the place--Jimmy and Vicki Borges. Jimmy's face is plastered behind the cash register and at the door. He's a famous entertainer in the islands and very well regarded.
We told her that Jimmy said hi and that we couldn't find cake noodles like this anywhere on the Mainland. She smiled and said it was a special Chinese dish influenced by Hawaii people. She also suggested we go to our favorite Mainland Chinese restaurant and ask them to make this dish, which is easy. "Just tell them to fry the chicken on a pan and put it on top of the cake noodle." I wish it were that easy.