Found: Mochiko chicken and fried saimin at Sam’s

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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.

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Outside the eatery on Nuuanu Avenue.

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The usual suspects for banchan, or Korean side dishes.

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.

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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.

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10 Responses to “Found: Mochiko chicken and fried saimin at Sam’s”

  1. Eric March 24, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Next time u r @ Kuakini medical center, try the fried saimin. Very simple garnish of char siu & green onions.

  2. Annoddah Dave March 24, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    CAT: Ever notice that many of the Korean takeouts no longer offer the watercress type namul…I was told because of the high price of watercress.

  3. Gary March 24, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    I like my fried saimin with a little more ingredients, such as char siu. I tried the one at Kenny’s at Kam Shopping Center and the first time was great. However the next time, the taste and ingredients were not the same. Then third time (I’m a sucker for fried saimin), it was better. Maybe the cook was different each time.

    BTW, Sam’s use to have a different name years ago when it was entirely a Korean take-out place. I gotta go and try it.

  4. A.T. March 24, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Sam’s spicy pork is also ono. I usually order the mochiko chicken and the spicy pork plate. It feeds 2 adults and 2 children easily. Don’t forget to add 4 mandoo for 99 cents. By the way make sure you call in your order or you’ll be waiting at least 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. rayboyjr March 24, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Hey Cat … I love Sam’s … but I’m hesitant to go because of parking … and yep … the fried saimin is better when simple … little bit char siu … and lots of green onion and fish cake … nuff!!! …

    … I also like the bbq chicken at Sam’s … don’t really taste Korean style to me … maybe that’s why I like it so much … and the fish jun too …

    … oh yeah, and Sam’s actually get taegu as a choice for side dish too … I love that!!! …

  6. M March 24, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    Hello Cat,

    Sam’s is guud and they give plenty.

  7. Miss Em March 24, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks for the post. I will try both next time I go. And the next time YOU go, you have to try their meat juhn. I don’t know what makes it so, but I think they have the best meat juhn on the island. For real.

  8. travelmonkey March 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Thecommonfoodie gets the Fried Chicken Wing plate from Sam’s that looks super ono. I think I’ll have to get the mochiko chicken and the fried chicken wing plate for comparison’s sake. (Instagram is making me eat more)

  9. Dennis March 25, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    OMG! I love Korean food. Thanks for the post! Will walk over this week for lunch.

  10. lance March 25, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    If you like simple and flavorful old style fried saimin and you haven’t tried it already, try Sato’s Okazuya in Waipahu.

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