Saturday, June 11, 2011


Mitsu-Ken is a hole-in-the-wall food establishment on North School Street in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The signature item here has to be their garlic chicken. My family and I got two orders of garlic chicken, two furikake musubis (rice balls with seaweed and sesame seeds all over the exterior), and some gobo (also known as kinpira, made from the burdock root).

Garlic chicken, furikake musubi, and gobo
(The gobo is on the top right underneath a piece of garlic chicken)
That's a good amount of food for about $7.50.

The garlic chicken is just delicious, and I can see why it's a signature menu item. Pieces of chicken are breaded and fried up. I'm not exactly sure how Mitsu-Ken prepares their garlic chicken, but it could be marinated in a garlicky sweet sauce, with more of the sauce put on after it comes out of the fryer. I'm assuming honey could be used here as a sweetener, although I'm again unsure.

The one thing here is I would be hesitant to order this on a daily basis. There is a point where the garlic chicken gets a bit too sweet for my tastes.

The musubi was decent. It should be served more at room temperature, which it was. The nori seaweed and the sesame seeds gave those rice balls an extra dimension of flavor and texture. The rice was cooked perfectly.

The big disappointment was the gobo. In my opinion, gobo should be both flavorful and firm (a bit of crunch). Here, the gobo had flavor, but was soggy. My mother, being the "gobo guru" here, believed that Mitsu-Ken's gobo may have been previously frozen, as opposed to fresh. What a shame.

At Mitsu-Ken, you'll be ordering at a window. There is no restaurant here. It's really located in an older part of Honolulu, so it won't be the best-looking place on the block. But hey, we got great service, so that's cool.

Mitsu-Ken's food is an average place to me. The garlic chicken is a great menu item, and I would definitely tell my friends to order that. Other than that, I'll probably pass on this place. 5/10

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