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Cooking Fresh for You Food Truck

There’s been lots of excitement for foodies in the Iwilei area lately, with the recent opening of Liliha Bakery II and its nextdoor neighbor Manapua & More!. Adding to that, just down the street in Hilo Hattie’s side parking lot is the also recent arrival of Cooking Fresh for You Lunch Truck. This is their mobile outlet, while Cooking FRESH also has two Cafes in the Queen’s Medical Center Physicians Office Building I and POB II.

According to Cooking FRESH owner and chef, Michi, “Using the freshest ingredients and eliminating unnecessary fats and processed foods – finally a healthy alternative that proves that healthy food can taste great! My pledge: to prepare delicious, healthy food made with fresh, quality ingredients that everyone will enjoy and savor.

It’s that simple. I love food and I love to create food that others can enjoy and feel good about. It’s my passion and my gift to you – enjoy!”

Sounds fantastic. Let’s check out the Cooking Fresh lunch truck menu for yesterday…

Hey, who’s that handsome bald guy in the reflection? lol

I ended up ordering every dish on the menu, I was that hungry. Kidding, however I do have an example of everything listed on this visit to share with you except the Pork Pasole Central American Stew.

Nice touch offering a self service condiment station. The sauce in the squeeze bottle with tape is Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy). Also bonus points for offering better quality bamboo chopsticks, not the cheap pine chopsticks.

Back at the office lunch room for “the reveal”…

Aaahhhh… oooooohhh… ahhhhhh. Here we have Diner E’s Pan-seared Steak with Basil Pesto mini plate for $7, Diner MT’s Baked Chicken with Teriyaki Glaze & Pineapple Salsa mini for $6, and Diner P’s (Yours Truly) Thai Green Curry with Tofu mini for $6. Good deal for fresh, high quality ingredients, including top shelf, healthy-yet-tasty Gen-Ji-Mai rice!

Back at the truck, for $9, here’s how the Pan-seared Steak with Basil Pesto regular plate looks…

Dang that plate looks ono. Never thought of pairing steak with pesto.

While we’re at it, let’s take a closer look at Diner E’s Pan-seared Steak mini plate…

And? Winnahz! While I didn’t get his name, the Cooking Fresh lunch truck cook “dude” said it’s choice grade Tri-Tip Beef, seasoned simply with garlic salt and black pepper. With that, it’s seasoned perfectly, having just enough salt to punch out the flavor of the beef.

The best part is how well the basil, garlic, parmesan and EVOO in the pesto really enhances the flavor of the seared steak… terrific combination! Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E gives it a solid 3 SPAM Musubi (that would be 4 or 5 to you and I).

Next let’s check out Diner MT’s Baked Chicken with Teriyaki & Pineapple Salsa…

And? She gives it 4 out of 5 stars by Yelp standards, noting “The salad is fresh and crisp, as advertised, dressing is delicious, the chicken is reasonably moist as far lunch trucks go, and pairs well with the pineapple salsa with the teriyaki sauce. The mini plate portion is also perfect.”

Finally let’s try my Thai Green Curry with Tofu…

Very subtle curry and coconut milk flavor. Too subtle.  It could definitely use more flavor of both. There’s certainly a “sleeper” hit of hot chili peppers that kicks in a few seconds after each bite. I also taste lemon grass, giving it that signature “Thai” flavor profile. The “meat” of it are tender eggplant slices and green bell peppers, which are A-OK with me, as those are two of my favorite vegetables. If there were sauteed mushrooms in here that would have been even awesome-er.

There’s a chicken version of this curry, which surely must have more flavor, however I’m trying to remain strict on my pescetarian diet again and opted for the Thai Green Curry with Tofu.

The Gen-Ji-Mai rice it’s served on really made a difference with its fluffy texture and ever-so-slight nutty flavor, having a similar enhancing effect as if it were Jasmine Rice.

The gal serving said normally the curry mini plate is all curry and rice, however I requested to put a salad on the side and less curry and rice, no extra charge. Which turned out a great call, as I enjoyed the salad as much if not more than the curry, as the locally farmed mixed greens were crispy ‘n fresh, drizzled adequately with Michi’s house Miso Dressing, which is the bomb! It reminds a little of the Angelo Pietro dressing to give you an idea how it tastes. You can definitely taste the miso, along with a nicely balanced sweet ‘n tangy vinaigrette carrying it.

Summing up Cooking Fresh’ Thai Green Curry with Tofu, I give it 3 SPAM Musubi, with the excellent Gen-Ji-Mai rice and totally awesome tossed green salad with house Miso dressing scoring huge points.

On a previous visit to the Cooking Fresh for You Lunch Truck (menu above has other offerings), Diner E tried the Cooking Fresh Turkey Meatloaf with Asian BBQ Sauce….

Diner E also really enjoyed this, noting the meatloaf was moist and tasty, while the Asian BBQ sauce added a unique personality to it vs. your standard ketchup. Overall 3 SPAM Musubi for the Turkey Meatloaf a 4 or 5 to you and I).

Also on another previous visit, another Diner IW tried their Basil Eggplant with Chicken mini, again for just $6…

While she couldn’t pinpoint what kind of sauce it’s sauteed with (she’s not a hardcore foodie), she really LOVED this dish, giving it a resounding 5 Yelp stars. Looking at it, I’m going to guess it’s simply sauteed eggplant and onions coated generously with Cooking Fresh’ most excellent house Pesto that was amazing with the Pan-seared Steak. I’ll try this one next time for sure.

Finally, also on another day, Diner IW tried the Pork Spareribs with Guava BBQ Glaze…

That’s easily over half a rack of spareribs, plus a generous helping of Gen-Ji-Mai rice, locally farmed tossed greens and half a sliced fresh orange… all for just $8! Sweet!

I was given a small piece to sample, where I’ll say the ribs definitely taste baked, not grilled, yet they were still supah onolicious, while being fall-off-rib bone moist ‘n tender. The tasty Guava BBQ Sauce a had smokey ‘n fruity flavor with a nice balance of sweet ‘n tangy going on, where If this were my plate, I’d ask them to drizzle extra sauce. Diner IW gave this one another gleaming 5 stars, especially when factoring in value, which it is, indeed!

Not being a coincidence their lunch truck is here, Cooking Fresh for You will soon be taking over the deli inside Hilo Hattie that originally began as Kona Bean Cafe. Also again, they have two Cafes in the Queen’s Medical Center Physicians Office Buildings.

Cooking Fresh for You – Lunch Truck
Hilo Hattie side parking lot
700 N. Nimitz Hwy.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817

Tel. (808) 286-6484
Web: www.CookingFreshforYou.com

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

7 thoughts on “Cooking Fresh for You Food Truck

  • July 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm
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    Yeah good stuff! This is the truck that was up at UH Manoa on EW Road near Kennedy Theater for more than a year, one of the most popular food vendors at UH, we miss you.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2014 at 11:21 am
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      Brenden,

      Yeah, I read a few Yelp reviews that mentioned the Cooking Fresh Lunch Truck being at UH Manoa campus in the past. Also in the parking lot at the former CompUSA in Kaka’ako. If the truck isn’t where you expect to see it, it’s usually because they have a big catering event.

      I received an eMail from Chef Michi, who was totally stoked with this review. For the time being, she plans for the CFfY food truck to be stationed at Hilo Hattie (Iwilei area) 3 days a week (Mon., Wed., & Fri.), yet still looking for that “magic spot”. Based on what you said, she might wanna’ consider returning to UH after the Cafe in Hilo Hattie opens.

      She also said she’ll ramping up the menu with some creative new twists. Sounds good, however in all my experience food blogging and Yelping, I’ve found that eateries who keep their menu simple and consistent tend to have the best results for obvious reasons. Zippy’s is a perfect example (arguably), along with Alan Wong’s, Side Street Inn and Liliha Bakery (the original location).

      Reply
      • July 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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        thanks for you response Pomai, I agree Chef Michi may want to move the truck back up to Manoa near campus, possibly to her previous location prior to being on EW Rd she was on Metcalf and University near Yogurtland, that was good spot for her as well, and had the advantages of not being officially affiliated with UH. I’ve been checking out some of your other reviews, keep up the good work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Zaratez on King, good simple Mexican food. Also now that Chef Michi’s Kona Bean Cafe is open, you have to try her food there, the Loco Moco is awesome, among other dishes you might not have tried of hers such as the Kalua Pork tacos, and the breakfast Panini. Aloha, Brenden

        Reply
        • July 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm
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          Brenden,

          Mahalo for the tip on Zaratez. Checked them out on Yelp, where they have some great reviews, and the authentic Mexican grinds looks great!

          How ironic you recommend Chef Michi’s Loco Moco, as I was just there after work to check out her new digs, and she personally offered me a sample of that dish to try, saying she’s really proud of that dish. I was full at the time, however I’ll most definitely try it soon!

          The scoops is, the cafe in Hilo Hattie will remain named Kona Bean Cafe, however the entire menu will be from Cooking Fresh. She’s really stoked about the new digs, hoping it works out long-term. I told her about your comments regarding the popularity of her food truck at the UH Manoa campus, which she’s very much aware of and appreciates. However, now that most of her business locations are near the downtown area, it’s better for her to keep her lunch truck within a convenient distance, mainly because of logistics (transporting inventory, staff, etc.).

          Reply
          • July 22, 2014 at 9:15 am
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            I met and had a nice conversation with Chef Michi yesterday at her new digs in Hilo Hattie. It will retain the name ‘Kona Bean Cafe’, with Cooking Fresh being the operator. Some items will stay, such as the coffee of course, and also the Nathan’s Hot Dogs and Hawaiian Waffle Dogs, while the food menu will exclusively feature Cooking Fresh. Here it is…

  • March 1, 2017 at 3:41 pm
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    Food Handler Training for only $7.00.

    Reply
    • March 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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      Mark,

      Ha ha! I never noticed that until you pointed it out. Not sure if he is, but it looks the cook in the truck is seasoning the food in the pan with his bare hand, while holding the hot pan handle with his rubber glove. ;-O

      Note, Hilo Hattie is no longer in business at their former flagship Iwilei location. Cooking Fresh for You now does business as Michi’s Cooking Fresh for You as a private caterer. As a trained chef, the owner Michi really knows her stuff and wouldn’t be handling food that way. ;-)

      Oh, and BTW, if you ever have breakfast at The Shack in Hawaii Kai during football season, jelly for your toast costs $1000. LOL

      Reply

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