Monday, August 15, 2011


Lilikoi is a mom-and-pop Hawaiian-themed food establishment on N Killingsworth St. in Portland, Oregon.  They serve up Hawaiian and Southeast Asian comfort food.

On a sunny day in Portland, I stepped foot in Lilikoi. I was greeted by Vette, one of the owners (my apologies if I got the name wrong). After mentioning it was my first visit and had only found out about this place via the internet, one of the workers offered me a complementary sample of their Lilikoi sweet iced tea.

Lilikoi Sweet Iced Tea
The iced tea was very refreshing for such a beautiful day. Basically Lipton iced tea with lilikoi juice, so it wasn't technically homemade stuff. But anyway, all I needed was a straw, one of those mini umbrella things for the drink, and a hammock.

But I came for the food as well. I ordered the shoyu chicken sandwich on Hawaiian sweet bread and topped with Asian slaw (all made in-house) for $5.

Shoyu chicken sandwich with Hawaiian sweet bread and Asian slaw
Got a little sriracha there (you can see the bit of red in the bottom left-hand corner)
A lovely presentation on the sandwich. I loved the buttering of the Hawaiian sweet bread and toasting that bad boy on the flattop. Nothing like a toasted bread for your sandwich, trust me. The sugars in the sweet bread also got a chance to caramelize a little, livening up the dish just a bit more. I will say, though, that the sweet bread here looked more like a cornbread (although not flaky like a cornbread). Back on the Islands, I'm just used to seeing sweet bread rolls -- large or small -- so this was a new experience in that regard. And I still say that Agnes' Bake Shop in Kailua has some of the best sweet bread I've ever had. But hey, Lilikoi's sweet bread was also good, folks -- especially when used for sandwich purposes.

The shoyu chicken was quite good, although I will admit that it wasn't the greatest (Local Boyz and 808 Grinds really got that market cornered, in my book). Still, good flavors and very enjoyable. I liked their combination of sweet (sugar) and salty (soy sauce) on the chicken.

I'm a big fan of the Asian slaw here. Nice saltiness from the soy sauce, a bit of sweetness from the sugar, and just overall very good. I believe there was a bit of garlic and ginger in there too. In my book, the right amount of mayonnaise...some creaminess, but not going overboard. The slaw also made for a very vibrant presentation.

I added a little sriracha to the sandwich, per Vette's suggestion. Loved getting the bit of zip from the sriracha to add to the wonderful experience. I planned on just taking a few bites and saving the rest for later, but the food was too good to ignore.

To top it all off, Vette gave me a complementary small Lilikoi iced tea to take home with me. Simply amazing, over-the-top service. I'm a huge fan of Lilikoi and definitely plan on returning in the future! I'm probably trying their signature Drunken Noodles next! Oh, and by the way, their desserts are around $1 (at least it was $1 for a slice of guava cake)...can't go wrong with that! 8/10

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