Take one tropical location and mix it with influences from across the Pacific Rim -- like Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand -- and you've got the cuisine of Hawaii, the ultimate in fusion food.
And whether you prefer Spam musubi over saimin or manapua over a massive plate lunch of kalua pig, two scoops of steamed rice, and a side of macaroni salad, several island-style restaurants around the Valley aim to please with their tropical tastes. Here are six of our favorites.
This Central Phoenix restaurant and bar with a tiki twist serves up tropical cocktails and flavor-packed island and American fusion food best enjoyed on its alluring patio. The fish is flown in from Hawaii, so dishes such as South Seas Fish Tacos, seared ahi wontons, and macadamia-encrusted mahi mahi are favorites. Plus, there's the popular Luau Pork Sandwich and crispy coconut shrimp rolls with a pineapple-horseradish dipping sauce.
Opened in 2010, this casual eatery in Peoria's Arrowhead shopping and dining district serves up its island-style food in portion sizes fit for for a luau. Fan favorites include katsu curry, Spam musubi, and the Island Moco Loco (a burger dish topped with fried eggs and gravy.) Family-style meal deals for around twenty-five clams ensure no one walks away from this island hungry.
With locations in Desert Ridge and Chandler (plus 30 more around the world), this upscale restaurant chain showcases chef Roy Yamaguchi's version of Hawaiian cuisine fused with French techniques. With a focus on food fished from Hawaii's oceans, dishes include lobster potstickers, blackened island ahi, and crusted Hawaiian ono with ginger wasabi beurre blanc sauce. Desserts like pineapple upside down cake with coconut ice cream make for an island-style ending.
With locations in Avondale, Chandler, and Mesa, this fast casual restaurant chain based in Sandy, Utah, features a tropical-minded menu of rice bowls, island-themed entrées, salads, soups, and sandwiches. Popular dishes such as the Hawaiian Teriyaki Rice Bowl, Aloha Mango Chicken Salad, and the Luau Pork Plate go along with the convenient service.
This gem of fast-casual island fare in Mesa has been quietly serving up satisfying and inexpensive Hawaiian-style eats for over 25 years. Don't miss the luscious kalua pork, charbroiled salmon, and saimin, island-style noodles in a shrimp soup base. Stop by Tuesday through Sunday for Aloha Plates loaded with your choice of favorites for under ten bucks, and make sure to order up a manapua (filled, fist-size dough ball) any day but Sunday.
This months-old Glendale eatery serves up good-sized portions of quick island eats for dine-in or to go. Don't miss entrees like Kalua Pork, Island White Fish, and chicken dishes such as sweet chili chicken, chicken Katsu, and pineapple chicken -- all served with rice, macaroni salad, and cabbage. Thirsty? Hawaiian drinks are available to accompany the meal.
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