When we visited Alicia’s Market for lunch this past Wednesday, I took notice that there was new artwork up out in front depicting their signature dishes. You can see it in the photo above, where they’re mounted on panels in front of the railing of the apartment building above the market.
Let’s check it out, starting from one end to the other, as it takes up almost the entire span of the building…
Very nice work! Makes me hungry and I’m not even in the store yet! It’s almost like a menu board. All they need to do is put numbers on each one so that when you walk in, you just tell the guy you want “#4”. They should make T-Shirts of each one and sell it.
Even if that didn’t grab your attention and do the job, once you enter Alicia’s, the combined aroma of fresh produce, hot boiled Virginia Peanuts, Chinese style roasted meats, fresh fish and steaming Hawaiian foods is almost guaranteed to have your mouth watering and your stomach growling.
I LOVE the smell of places like that! The Ward Farmers Market used to have that, and thankfully places like Masa and Joyce Okazuya and Fish Market, Marujyu and Alicia’s Market still does.
So what shall we have for lunch today?
Well, Diner E’s favorite from Alicia’s is their Charsiu Turkey Tails, so he got a combination plate of that, along with their Charsiu Pork Ribs…
I decided to try Alicia’s Hawaiian Plate…
Well whaddaya’ say? They serve their Laulau with the Ti Leaf still wrapped on it! Finally! For me, a laulau just isn’t complete without that provided in the presentation, as you KNOW it’s going to taste just how laulau should. Some places cut cost by steaming the laulau either without ti leaves, or they put the Ti leaves in the steamer in bulk fashion, not individually on each laulau. Yet, not here at Alicia’s, thank goodness. They’re already up 1 SPAM Musubi point for that alone.
Usually I talk about my order last, but since I’ve already started, might as well continue, where here let’s take a better look at this gem of a Laulau…
To those who love Laulau and Hawaiian food in general, this photo is sheer beauty. Just beautiful.
OK, my mouth’s really watering now, so let’s open it up and dig in already!…
Ooooohhh…aaaaaahhhhhh…ooooohhhh…aaaahhhhh. Notice the thick layer of dark green colored steamed luau (Hawaiian taro) leaves wrapped around the pork nestled within.
Let’s cut through the luau leaves and check out what’s inside…
There’s tender, moist chunks of luau-steamed pork that just falls apart as you stick your fork into it.
Unfortunately there wasn’t any butterfish in it, which is the ultimate flavoring ingredient in a laulau, but to make up for that, it looks like they deliberately put in a generous chunk of pork fat to kick the flavor up a notch…
Of course it can’t compare to butterfish, but for the cost (very cheap), pork fat will do the job in keeping the whole laulau moist, tender and absolutely ono! I’ll just have to lay off fatty foods for a while after that (which was actually impossible with Thanksgiving right around the corner).
What I like to do is take some of the tender pork, a good helping of the tender luau leaves and just a little bit of the pork fat all one spoon and down it like that, then chase it with a spoonful of the lomi salmon, then the poi. Broke da’ mout’!
I have to say, this is one the best laulau I’ve had in a while, even without the butterfish. It was seasoned with just the right amount of Hawaiian salt, while the luau leaves were cooked perfectly, as was the pork inside. Solid 4 SPAM Musubi for their laulau. Better than Young’s and better than People’s Cafe (although I highly respect both of them, too!)
Now let’s sample Alicia’s Kalua Pig…
A little on the salty side, but WINNAHZ! Chase it with the poi and it’s perfect! There’s a distinctive hint of Kiawe (or liquid?) smoke just packing it with flavor, while being super tender and juicy, thanks to the pork fat mixed into this as well (just like how I make mine). Another solid 4 SPAM Musubi for their kinda’ salt, nicely-smoked, super tender and juicy Kalua Pig.
Now’s let’s sample Alicia’s Lomi Salmon…
Oh, this is certainly Lomi Salmon alright, and not no “Lomi Tomato”. You can readily see the diced cubes of salted salmon throughout. Thankfully the salted salmon wasn’t too salty, so it actually made their lomi salmon work in great harmony with the salty Kalua Pig, kinda’ giving it a salsa-like complimentary flavor. Solid 4 SPAM Musubi for the Lomi Salmon.
Which only leaves one thing left, yet still one of the most important parts that – pun intended – “glues everything together”, which would the poi…
This is Taro Brand poi, which they’ve thinned down to the consistency of, as appropriate for the time, turkey gravy. Yes, it was about as thin as a thick turkey gravy. Which is fine with me. Better than NO POI. For me, I just don’t enjoy Hawaiian food without poi. Eating Hawaiian Food with rice, to me personally would be like eating Sushi that was made with mashed potatoes instead of sushi rice. Ya’ know? lol Seriously though, with Hawaiian food, for me it’s gotta’ be with poi or pass.
Here’s how I like to whack my Kalua Pig…
Oh yeah, you know it!
Very very solid 4 SPAM Musubi for Alicia’s Hawaiian Plate. It would probably be a 5 if it were served restaurant style in Hawaiian style bowls or on a “luau plate” (them green resin school cafeteria trays).
Moving on to Diner E’s Charsiu Turkey Tail and Charsiu Pork Ribs plate…
Diner E gave me a sample of the pork ribs and turkey tails and I gotta’ say, it’s absolutely ONO! Really, really good, and probably as good of a charsiu as you’ll find even in Chinatown, yet you get the best of all worlds with everything else they have to offer from Alicia’s Market!
You know what I wouldn’t mind trying, is buying some of Alicia’s Charsiu Pork Ribs and putting it in a bowl of Saimin. I bet da’ buggah’ would taste awesome like that!
Of course the turkey tails are also super delicious thanks to that being the fattest part of the bird. Certainly a tasty occasional indulgence.
But, yeah, Alicia’s charsiu sauce is just right. Not overpowering, having just enough sugar and other Chinese seasonings to bring out the flavor of the roasted meats. They should sell their Charsiu sauce in bottles. I called and they said they don’t, but they should. Maybe they no reveal da’ “Ancient Chinese Secret”. lol
Let’s check out their Macaroni Salad…
Notice there’s a couple pieces of Kim Chee next to it. That’s a nice touch. The mac salad is certainly different, but in a good way! The Mayonnaise is a little watery, yet chilled so cold it was agreeable, while the macaroni was cooked perfectly al dente. It had tuna and peas in it – two things we normally DON’T like in our mac salad – yet you know what? We liked it in this one! I’m giving their Mac’ Salad a very tasty 3 SPAM Musubi.
That said, overall, Diner E gave his Charsiu Turkey Tails and Charsiu Pork Ribs Combination Plate from Alicia’s a solid 3 SPAM Musubi.
267 Mokauea St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
Monday – Friday 8am to 7pm
Saturday 8am – 6:30pm
Download Alicia’s Market take-out menu here!…
Alicia’s Market Menu (55k PDF document)
The Tasty Island Rating:
(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)
• Kalihi Eats: Alicia’s Market – The Tasty Island