web analytics

Iwilei Eats: Koala Moa Rotisserie Chicken

If you’ve driven down Nimitz highway in the Iwilei area any time in the last month, you may have noticed Koala Moa Rotisserie Chicken has set up shop in the parking lot of what was formerly a used car dealership, which actually was originally a KFC. How ironic.

Koala Moa is currently there on Fridays (previously Thursdays) and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. Yet, in my opinion, they should push their closing time to at least 6pm in an effort to catch the rush hour folks driving home from work in town towards the leeward side. Closing at 4pm, they’re missing a golden opportunity.

Anyhow, we stopped by there this past Thursday to get our “Huli Huli” Chicken on. Reason I say “Huli Huli” in quotes is that the name “Huli Huli is legally trademarked by the Pacific Poultry Company, and can only be used commercially if you get your supplies, including sauce and chicken from them. Something like that. You can clarify the exact legal stipulations in a comment on that issue.

Still, ask any local who sees chicken spinning on a rotisserie, and they’ll likely call it “Huli Huli Chicken”. “Huli Huli” being the Hawaiian word for “turn turn”.

There’s just a few things in this world that catch men’s attention immediately. First and foremost are beautiful women. And another thing we quickly get drawn by is a barbecue pit wafting with the smokey aroma of grilled meats. At least I do. I sometimes go into this “barbecue stupor” if you will being in the presence of smokin’ grill. lol

You see the smoke wafting off that huli huli chicken pit in the first photo? That’s a magnet for me. See, here I am gazing at the pit in my “barbecue stupor”…

Notice that they use nothing but lump Kiawe charcoal. Ding ding, winnah winnah Chicken Dinnah right there! Now THAT’s how you GRILL, my friends. Seeing that, I already knew we were in for some seriously ono grindz.

Kiawe not only has a long burn time, but it’s also extremely HOT, so it doesn’t take much as you see in the pit to get these chickens done, which, according to the grill master, takes about 15 minutes from start to finish for each rotisserie chicken rack they hook up.

We forgot to ask what kind of birds they use, but our guess is they’re broiler chickens.

Here’s an iPhone video clip of the rotisserie in action…


Here’s an uncooked rack ready to add to the pit…

The pit master has a wheelbarrow loaded with lump Kiawe (mesquite) charcoal, ready to add whenever needed…

The service counter is set-up on fold-up tables under what was formerly a mechanics shop for the use car dealership…

As you see, the choices are simple and minimal, which is usually a good thing. They do one thing and they do it right!

Diner A ordered the mini plate, which includes 1 scoop rice, corn and 1/4 cut of chicken…

Diner E ordered the large plate, which includes 2 scoops rice, corn and half a chicken…

I ordered a whole chicken, which I served on top of a tossed green salad I had brought from home…

Of course, I didn’t eat the WHOLE chicken, only eating about a quarter of it, sharing the rest with coworkers, of which they all raved about it.

The (hot) whole chicken is packaged in a sealed plastic bag…

How is it? Supah ono. It’s smokey, but not where it’s overpowering. A good balance. The seasoning, which as mentioned earlier, tastes simply like paprika, salt and pepper, helping to bring out the chicken’s savoryness.

I didn’t detect any kind of heat element such as chili pepper or ceyenne pepper. Just savory.

In my opinion, the original Huli Huli Chicken has a better flavor (thanks to the shoyu, sugar and ginger), but this one from Koala Moa is wonderful as well. Just different.

Getting to the moisture and texture factor – 2 all-important points when it comes to poultry – it was spot-on juicy and tender. Here by this break of the leg, you can see the juices in the meat…

Here at this angle, you can see the paprika (or whatever seasoning it is they use) penetrating into the meat…

Both Diner A and E gave their plates a solid 5 SPAM Musubi. Can you believe it? Diner A actually gave a plate a 5 SPAM Musubi rating! Wow. See what I mean when you feed a man barbecued meat? It almost never fails to please! I give it a four.

Koala Moa Rotisserie Chicken
755 N. Nimitz highway (on the Ewa side of Hilo Hattie)
Honolulu, Hawaii

Tel. (808) 523-6701

Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm (*Updated 5/21/09; previously there on Thursdays and Saturdays)

The Tasty Island rating:

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

Surf was up on the south shore of Oahu this weekend, with Daimond Head rolling in steady 4 footers on Saturday. Here’s a few shots out there on that day…

7 thoughts on “Iwilei Eats: Koala Moa Rotisserie Chicken

  • May 3, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    that is some major food porn right there. ono! (lol i’m not exactly sure what that means, but it seems to have some kind of positive note to it) lovin the pics tho. i still gota find a place around these parts that serves up a good plate lunch

  • May 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I remember fundraising this chicken and we had it EVERY week for dinner..lol now that many moons have passed, I wouldn’t mind having some of this!

  • May 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I eat half and save other half to make Chinese chicken salad.

  • June 2, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    The guy with the buya is sexy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: