Sherman's Food Adventures: Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey

Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey

Over 10 years ago, Viv and I had a great time visiting 4 of the Hawaiian Islands.  We drove around Oahu doing the touristy things such as Matsumoto Shaved Ice, Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, the Dole Plantation and a Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  I made it a point to pick up a Spam musubi for breaky every morning and to walk by 5 ABC Stores (which was very easy to do).  When we were on the island of Kauai, we had some fantastic Saimin (which is a hybrid of Japanese ramen with Chinese and Filipino influences).  Since them, we haven't had Hawaiian food, but while in Seattle, Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whiskey seemed to be exactly the place we were looking for (not a Jedi mind trick either).

Meeting up with Scout without Lola, we decided to share some items. The first thing to hit the table was the fabled Spam Musubi.  Yes, a concoction of rice, Spam, seaweed paste and nori was something that we were looking forward to.  To some, it may seem as attractive as Lindsay Lohan drunk at a party, but for us, it brought back memories of Hawaii.  The large amount of rice was necessary as the Spam was quite salty.  Loved the seaweed paste as it added another kick of umami.  Next, we had the Shoyu Tombo Poke which was not particularly flavourful on its own until we dug deep to reveal a very salty dressing (consisting of Ogo seaweed, sesame, macadamia nuts and chiles). The tuna itself was buttery while firm.

Another Hawaiian favourite, the Ma'ono Saimin was also very salty where the shoyu & smoked pork broth was a bit too powerful.  On the other hand, the noodles were nicely al dente and plentiful as well as the soft yolk egg.  Of course there was the usual Spam along with country ham, fish cake and nori.  The main event, aka Whole Fried Chicken, arrived majestically on a platter along with kimchi, rice and chili sauce.  In a dark shade of fried goodness, the chicken was crunchy while not incredibly oily.  The chicken itself was mildly brined so it had enough seasoning while remaining juicy.  I found the kimchi quite mild while really crunchy.  The hot sauce was more sweet than spicy.

We got 2 vegetable sides including the Sesame Roasted Carrots and Garlic Green Beans & Watercress.  The carrots were accompanied by coriander & coconut chutney, goat’s milk yogurt and sesame puffed rice.  They were soft, but not mushy while being quite sweet and accented by the 2 sauces.  The green beans & watercress were a touch soft, but loaded with flavour including a noticeable spice and slight sweetness.  In the end, we enjoyed our meal despite some curiously high prices for a few items.  However, our meal did fulfill the interesting and different quota.  Consequently, we went away with good memories of Hawaii.

The Good:
- Something different
- Attentive service
- Spam!

The Bad:
- Pricey
- Some portion sizes were small


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