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Hawaii Grinds Blind Taste Tests @ WOWGrinds.com

No, the judges aren’t physically blinded, silly you!

It’s one thing to eat a hamburger steak plate at Karen’s, another one from Dot’s, and then perhaps a month or two later another one at L&L, then try in your collective memory to decide which one you thought was the best. But what if you had ALL of them together to go head-to-head in one sitting for a Hamburger Steak Smackdown? Well, that’s exactly what the folks are doing at a new site named WOWGrinds.com.

They have what they call “geographic coordinators” who pick-up the contenders’ plates from the various establishments and bring it all back to one table at a “Blind Tasting Site” for judging in one sitting. Now this is a major group (family) effort! How they get everyone hungry enough to participate all at the same time is beyond me. My guess is that they schedule the judging sessions around lunch hour. That’ll work!

Criteria by their panel of 7 judges include TASTE, TEXTURE & PRESENTATION, with points given on a scale of 1-10, then averaged out. Comments are also included in the (Javascript) balloon pop-ups as you scroll over each score.

To make it fair and unbiased, they’re doing a double blind test, not only masking the identity of the food, but those who are serving it.

The contenders are marked for the blind test by alphabet

They’re just getting started, yet have already covered some major grinds, including beef stew (as you see in the photo above), fried rice and shoyu poke.

In the Poke smackdown, they didn’t include Ono Hawaiian Seafood on Kapahulu, which is a shame. Shame I tell you!

If you check out the “Best Hamburger Steak” smackdown, take notice that they included Banquet Salisbury Steak as a “wild card”. That’s hilarious!

According to their home page, coming soon will be “Best Chicken Katsu” and “Best Meat Jun”. They’ve also already mentioned manapua and malasada, so that’s on the back-burner as well. Sounds good!

Of course there’s so much more they need to cover. Here’s a few (doable) WOWGrinds.com smackdown suggestions!…

  • Best Kalua Pig & Cabbage
  • Best Laulau
  • Best Loco Moco
  • Best Roast Pork with Gravy (Gotta’ include Tani’s Lunchwagon!)
  • Best Beef Curry (no worry!)
  • Best Chili (Zippy’s, Richie’s, The Shack are a few suggestions)
  • Best Misoyaki Butterfish
  • Best Teriyaki Beef (and teri’ chicken)
  • Best Teriyaki Burger (W&M, Teddy’s, Kua Aina, etc.)
  • Best Shoyu Chicken
  • Best Garlic Ahi
  • Best Saimin (broth has to be transported separately for optimum texture)
  • Best Oxtail Soup (that will be one EXPENSIVE smackdown!, Kapiolani Coffee Shop, Forty Niner & BOWS Cafeteria are a few suggestions)
  • Best Take-Out Sushi (Kozo, Aloha, Sushi Man, etc.)
  • Best Pork Adobo
  • Best Pork Guisantes
  • Best Dinuguan (I love Bautistas version!)
  • Best Lumpia
  • Best Pancit (they could do all these Filipino dishes in one sitting, just blind taste test each one separately)
  • Best Kalbi (Kim Chee & Yummy’s gotta’ be in there)
  • Best Fish Jun
  • Best Mandoo (the Korean food could also could be done in one sitting, just separate the dishes for individual tests)
  • Best Pho (again, some ingrediments need to be transported separately)
  • Best Spring & Summer Roll
  • Best Chow Funn
  • Best Mac Salad
  • Best Shave Ice (impossible! Da’ buggah going melt! lol)

Anything deep-fried like Katsu, Tempura, etc. will be difficult, because once it’s cold, poho already. Gotta’ be piping hot, just out of the fryer for most accurate representation.

This site will get more and more interesting as they continue to add new Hawaii Grinds Blind Taste Tests to their list.

Mahalo “T” for telling me about it!

Check ’em out…



7 thoughts on “Hawaii Grinds Blind Taste Tests @ WOWGrinds.com

  • August 2, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    yeah, the site needs to review more local favorite’s and even re-review them periodically. Ingenious idea they have.

  • August 5, 2008 at 6:11 am

    How about the best smoked meat.

  • August 5, 2008 at 8:28 am

    I agree that doing re-reviews of some of the taste tests will be interesting. If one place win 1st place 2x then even harder for question that it’s the best of the best. But if one place won 1st place, then in round 2 came out near the bottom, then might need to do a third test to settle it once and for all.

    Smoked meat would be an awesome taste test battle. Uncle Rex get the best smoked meat, but only can get em at family parties. When you say smoked meat is that same like pipikaula? I think Highway Inn get the best pipikaula.

  • August 5, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    I agree as well. They certainly need to re-review the “Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout” products I compared a while back. My “test” wasn’t nearly as scientific as theirs, nor did it involve any other opinions but my own. They also gotta’ re-review the SPAM vs. TULIP vs. TREET Lunch Meat Smackdown. Blind taste test results of these products would VERY interesting.

    Along with that above, there’s so many more “local” products they need to cover. The one I mentioned above, also, mochi crunch, chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies, etc.. The list is looooong!

    ilikegrind, no, pipikaula is not the same as smoked meat. Pipikaula is marinated and dried beef (like Hawaiian Beef Jerky), whereas “Smoked Meat” is usually made from either wild pig/boar, deer, or store-bought pork, and is marinated then smoked a long time using Kiawe wood. Both are ono with poi, though!

  • August 6, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Highway Inn is overrated and over priced! For $ 9-10 hawaiian plate, not worth the price as far as the quantity. Extra $2.00 for a sample size kalua pig?? AAHHH loooose money!! Tasted better on some plate lunch wagons and had twice the size. I guess its for tutu that can’t eat much.
    Also the pipikaula is nasty!! Taste like a day old steak and pan fried. For $5.00 per side serving, buy your own steak..

    As far as portugese sausage shoot out! Let me when, where , and time.
    Make my own and will blow all the competetion away! Garauntee!!

  • August 6, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Do I sense a homemade vs. store bought Portuguese sausage challenge being issued?!!! That’s gutsy. You should post your challenge on the wowgrinds site. If this challenge took place, and you won or even came out in the top 3, that would be huge. Redondo, Gouvea and all the other ones Tasty Island taste tested are legendary among local folks. Goodluck!

  • August 7, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Like I said… any time, any place. My home made portugese sausage will blow them away!! Take a tour in any of their factories, gouvea or redondo’s . After you see who makes them and how they make them, you don’t want to eat it any more. The majority of local kamaina’s like it cause they never tasted what home made, old school taste like. I leaned the old way and the recipe from makawao maui from real portugese that are long gone, the real portugese lingueza supposed to be. No fancy dandy additives and chemicals to make them taste good or prolong the shelf life..


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