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Remembering Hula Lunch Wagon

A rendition of what Hula Lunch Wagon would have looked like back in 1981

In the early 80’s, my sister Keanu owned and operated Hula Lunch Wagon, which was primarily situated on Elliot Street where Hawaiian Airlines cargo is located.

The menu sounds fantastic, but what’s most interesting about it were the market prices in that decade.

She recently found her original menu, and as you’ll see in the following, if this were the going rate today, what a bargain!
Circa 1981…

Elliot street, next to Hawaiian Air Cargo
Honolulu International Airport

Beef Stew – $2.00
Chicken Long Rice – $1.75
Chili and Franks – $1.75
Mix Plate – $2.75
Hamburger Steak – $2.00
Shoyu Chicken – $2.00
Sweet-Sour Spare Ribs – $2.00
Hawaiian Plate (Includes Rice or Poi, Lomi Salmon, Kalua Pig, Laulau, choice of Tripe or Beef Stew or Chicken Long Rice) – $2.75
Portuguese Bean Soup – $2.00
Fried Chicken – $2.00
Kalbi – $2.50
Pork Adobo – $2.50
Beef Curry – $2.00
Mahimahi – $2.75
Beef Teriyaki – $2.50
Roast Pork – $2.25
Roast Beef – $2.50
****All plate lunches include 2 scoops rice, extra scoop (no charge) and mac salad****

Dressing: Tropical, Blue Cheese or Italian

Hamburger – .65
**Deluxe – .80
Cheeseburger – .80
**Deluxe – .95
(Includes Lettuce, Tomatoes and Onions)
Devil Egg – .75
Tuna – .75
Hotdog – .75
Chili Dog – $1.00

Coca Cola, Rootbeer, Punch, Lemon-Lime or Orange
Small – .35
Medium – .45
Large – .60

JUICES – .50
Passion Orange
Guava Nectar

CHIPS – .35

Are you kidding me? Only $2.75 for that fully-loaded Hawaiian plate?!!! That’s crazy! Well, by today’s standards anyway. And you cigarette smokers only WISH they were still just .75/pack!

While that entire menu has outrageously-cheap (by today’s standards) prices, it’s also the perfect model of what defines a true “local style” lunch wagon.

I’m very proud of my sister for trying out this business. It was really hard work and profits were slim, so she closed shop after about 2 years in business, but it gave her the tools and knowledge of the food and beverage business. Not to mention a whole lotta’ ono grinds to enjoy on the ride.

This was Hula Lunch Wagon’s logo…

The name was cool too. I like it. “Hula Lunch Wagon”. Very cool. Even cooler were those prices. $2.00 plate lunches. Ubelievable!

8 thoughts on “Remembering Hula Lunch Wagon

  • December 23, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    wow, that’s really cheap prices. Next time I see this truck roll by I’m definitely checking it out

  • December 23, 2007 at 11:41 pm

    Keep in mind, this lunch wagon is no longer in business, so don’t go out looking for it.

    “D”, your screen name is hilarious! lol

    Mahalo again everyone for visiting “Da’ Island”!

  • December 24, 2007 at 12:09 am

    I find that most plate lunch trucks do seem to have reasonable prices. I remember going to the plate lunch truck near UH and their mini plate of chicken katsu was $3.50.

    Oh wait, I forgot, I’m getting old and that was in the late-90s.


  • December 24, 2007 at 5:06 am

    wow–I haven’t thought of Lagoon Drive (that was Lagoon Drive, right?) in years.

    Two dollars? That was when the minimum wage was like 3 and a quarter, puts it all into perspective. I was thinking soda for .35 cents???

  • December 24, 2007 at 5:06 am

    In the late 70s & early 80s always went to the lunch truck of Tsukenjo’s on Ward Avenue, besides their main place on Cooke Street which I understand is still operating. Anyone know?

  • December 24, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    funny… just read an article about patti’s chinese kitchen at ala moana closing… must’ve been in the advertiser or something… and they posted their original prices 35-40 years ago. inflation’s a mofo.

  • December 25, 2007 at 3:04 am

    I like the Patti’s in Kaneohe a lot better, it has more of the feel of the original than the one that moved over to the food court. Not the same look, but close to the door.


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