I’m always looking for really good mochiko chicken and fried saimin — and for two reasons.
One, I haven’t really had good, flavorful mochiko chicken except at potlucks — and I can’t seem to perfect my own recipe, either. And two, my mom loveslovesloves fried saimin, like no one else.
So you can imagine my utter delight when I found a place that sold stellar versions of both.
Sam’s Delicatessen on Nuuanu Avenue next to Bangkok Chef has been in business for years. And while it serves Korean takeout — one of my favorite things to eat — I had never been there until recently.
Sam’s, which has a small dining area, serves typical Korean dishes such as kalbi, meat jun, bibimbap and mandoo kook soo in regular, combination and mini plates.
But there are a few interesting additions to the menu like tofu katsu, chicken wings and a Hawaiian plate with laulau and kalua pig with cabbage.
And then I saw it: mochiko chicken, fried noodles.
OK, so here’s the deal about these two dishes for me: the mochiko chicken has to be flavorful — and I’ve found that isn’t always the case. The batter is bland, the chicken isn’t salty enough, it just falls flat.
And when it comes to fried saimin, it has to be simple. I’m not into heaps of cabbage, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage and seven different kinds of meats cut up into small strips. Nope, give me just some kamaboko (fish cake) with green onions and I’m set.
Sam’s does a great job with both. The mochiko chicken (top photo) is sort of like popcorn fried chicken, the pieces are bite-sizes and perfectly fried. The fried saimin (below) is well seasoned and not complicated.
The price seems high — $7.85 for a fried noodle plate, $8.05 for a mochiko chicken plate — but you do get rice and four sides. Plus, these plates are easily sharable.
Oh, and yes, Sam’s takes credit cards! Bonus!
Sam’s Delicatessen, 1627 Nuuanu Ave., Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Phone: 808-524-7777.