Friday, January 13, 2012

Flyin' Hawaiian

(UPDATE February 2013: After moving back to the Carts on Foster pod for a few months, Flyin' Hawaiian is now just doing catering and a few lunch services at places like Nike and Intel. Check their Facebook page for the latest!)

(Food Carts Portland article -- 1/12/12)

(Second Review -- February 2012)
(Third Review -- May 2012)

Flyin' Hawaiian is a Hawaiian fusion food cart located at the SE 52nd and Foster food pod in Portland, Oregon.

It's weird how a random trek to SE Portland confirmed how small the world can be. Knowing that several carts in the Foster pod had moved or closed up for winter, I wanted to see which carts remained -- and if there were any new arrivals. Flyin' Hawaiian was one of the newbies in the pod. I was born and raised in Hawaii, so any time I see a Hawaiian-style food cart, I just walk in a hypnotic state, almost compelled to try the food.

Jason Manolian and his business partner, Rusty Silva, opened Flyin' Hawaiian in early December 2011. Amazingly, Jason is not only from Hawaii, but lived no more than two minutes from my house, mere steps from Aiea High School (no, we didn't know each other prior to this food cart visit). Before opening this cart, Jason had worked in the restaurant business for several years.

Scanning the menu, I spotted the word "habanero." Win! Jason has two types of habanero sauce for his wings (pineapple habanero and mango habanero), along with four milder options. And when I say wings, I mean the whole wing...think Pok Pok large. These wings appear to be fried naked, resulting in golden-brown crispy skin and juicy meat.

Regular menu (January 2012)
Specials for 1/10/12
Big Kahuna Burger for $10!
I asked for the two habanero sauces on the side so I could try both. After a time, the fruity, spicy habanero ran wild in my mouth and I couldn't tell which sauce was which. To me, it didn't matter. Big chicken wings and spicy sauces already made me a happy panda.

Three whole wings with pineapple habanero and mango habanero sauces
(Flyin' Hawaiian)
I had enough room in my stomach for a mahi-mahi taco ($3). Double corn tortillas hold diced mahi-mahi (fish), tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more. You have a choice of a spicy or a sweet tartar sauce, and of course, I chose spicy. Steamed tortilla, moist fish, refreshing toppings, and a satisfied stomach. Jason said people usually order about three of these for a nice filling meal.

Mahi-mahi Taco
(Flyin' Hawaiian)
The Garlic Teriyaki Burger ($6) and the Chicken Ranch Sandwich ($5) are some of the more popular items. Non-meat eaters can rejoice, as a Vegan Burger ($6) is also on the regular menu. Also, watch for weekly specials! A recent kalua pork sandwich special was a huge hit.

Check out Flyin' Hawaiian ASAP!

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