I haven't been to Manoa Marketplace in ages, so a few days ago, I decided to take a trip out there to see what was still there foodwise. I was in the mood for something quick and simple, and the first thing that came to my mind was sandwich. The next thought after that was plate lunch. Well, I wasn't really in the mood for bread so I decided that I would try the food at Manoa Bar-B-Que.
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I neglected to take a photo outside the shop. I'll remember to visit and update this post.
From what I understand, Manoa Bar-B-Que has been at the Marketplace for a while now, but for some reason, I never noticed it. Stepping inside, it looks just like any other Mom-and-Pop plate lunch shop in the Islands -- refrigerator(s) in the main dining area, boxes piled everywhere and the cheap tables with vinyl covered chairs.
After looking over the menu, I decided to have the bento (US$5.50).
The bento contained some teriyaki beef, a piece of Spam® (!), some chicken katsu and a piece of fried mahi. The teriyaki beef was nicely seasoned, not too sweet and not too much shoyu flavor either. The meat was tender, and just a little fatty. The chicken katsu was crispy and crunchy -- well fried, but not oily. In fact, it might have been fried just a little too "well". And the piece of mahi was very generously sized. It was seasoned, then coated with egg and flour, then pan fried until golden brown. The fish was flaky and surprisingly, not too salty.
To go along with my bento, I decided to splurge on a side order fried won ton (5 pieces, US$1.95).
When the won ton arrived, I was a bit perplexed. It was the first time that I saw won ton that were folded like these were. Though the won ton were well fried and crispy, the won ton skin was just a bit too thick for me to enjoy. It tasted a bit like eating some cooked dough even though each won ton was stuffed with quite a bit of ground pork filling. What also surprised me was that I received "lemon" dipping sauce for these. The sauce actually made a better match for my chicken katsu.
Even though I didn't enjoy the won ton, I did enjoy the bento. The food here is a bargain considering the size of the portions. And even though the girl at the counter wasn't the friendliest person, the food was quickly prepared and the tables were clean. I wouldn't make a trip out to Manoa to eat here, but if I was in the area, I would definitely stop in again.
2752 Woodlawn Drive Suite 5-111
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