What’s with bars and pork chops?


Ever notice just about every bar you walk into in Hawaii has some form of pork chops on the menu?

From the famous pan-fried island pork chops from Side Street Inn to the platter of the sautéed version from Kaimuki Grill to the somewhat obscure 8 Fat Fat 8‘s version.

Pork chops are king in Hawaii.

And I have no idea why.

Maybe it’s because of the almost cult success of Manago Hotel’s famous plate of pork chops — sans gravy — that has locals salivating for a succulent chop of pork prepared in any which way, from pan-fried to sautéed to plunged into a deep fryer.

Since 1992 Colin Nishida has been serving his popular pork chops at Side Street Inn on Hopaka Street near Ala Moana Center. He sells 300 to 400 pounds of pork chops a week — at a platter is $22! (See his recipe at the end of this post.)

I’m a fan of pork chops myself — but not a rabid one. And I never understood how people can lovelovelove this dish so much they actually have arguments over who’s got the best chops.

Then I ate the pork chops from Champions Sports Bar on Keeaumoku Street.

IMG_3388A few of us sampled the bar’s new menu the other day — and all of us were surprised at just how good these chops were.

Juicy. Peppery. Just like the kind your mom would make.

They were pretty spectacular.

(The sports bar serves more than just pork chops, by the way. We loved the popular furikake chicken, ahi poke and bacon-wrapped asparagus.)

Got a favorite pork chop spot?


Side Street Pork Chops


2 T. garlic salt
2 T. pepper
1-1/3 c. flour
2/3 c. cornstarch
4 7-ounce fresh island pork chops, about 1-1/2 inches thick
1 c. cottonseed oil


Combine garlic salt, pepper, flour and cornstarch. Coat chops well in the mixture. Heat oil in a skillet. Fry chops about 10 minutes, turning frequently until browned. Cut meat from the bones and slice the chops into bite-sized pieces. Serve over shredded cabbage with ketchup on the side. Include bones for gnawing. Serves 4.

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8 Responses to “What’s with bars and pork chops?”

  1. David Jackson February 19, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    Same recipe pretty much used here at the house. Not a chops fan myself but others surrounding me love them. More recipes… love it.

  2. M February 19, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Hello Cat!
    I like pork chops too.

    • Catherine Toth February 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Pan-fried or deep-fried?

      • M February 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

        I like it both ways.

  3. Susan Banner Inouye February 19, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    I prefer to dip mine in cinnamon applesauce.

  4. matt February 19, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    I like pork in all (most) forms, but my favorite is smoked, double cut chops. brine them first and they stay juicy (brine with apple cider and they get even more ono). the trick I learned was to use the curved bone as a rack. skewer a couple of them together and stand them up on the cold side of the grill for about thirty minutes so they get nice and smokey. then baste them in bbq sauce and grill them on the hot side for about twelve minutes (three minutes, rotate, three minutes, turn, three minutes pau). if you smoke them until they’re about 105, this twelve minutes will get them to a nice medium rare (about 135). just perfect.

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