This cart opened at the Piedmont pod around May 2019. Two women were running the cart when I tried this place out in July. They are in the back of the pod behind the covered seating area, next to Halibut's.
Admittedly, being from the islands, I get a bit more strict when getting Hawaiian-style plate lunches. Having grown up eating all these foods, my taste buds get a bit pickier searching for the nostalgia.
I went with the three-meat combo ($15). Kalua pig, shoyu chicken, and mochiko chicken over a bed of rice, served with some cabbage and mac salad on the side.
As promised, food carts are not fast food. It was about 7-8 minutes for my order to arrive.
All the proteins were excellent. Light smokiness on the juicy and tender kalua pig. Wonderful sweet-savory shoyu chicken. Even the mochiko chicken was good.
It was smart for them to call it "mochiko fried chicken" on the menu. It's basically marinated diced chicken lightly coated with rice flour and fried.
For me, the rice I got was slightly on the mushy side, although the heat from the proteins could have affected that.
I would have preferred the cabbage underneath the proteins. That way, any sauce from the meats dresses the crunchy cabbage, and it should stay even slightly crunchy well after it's given to the customer. Plating naked shredded cabbage as a standalone item may leave people scratching their heads (I was scratching my head, at least).
I'd have another scoop of rice with the mac salad in the back, and perhaps some furikake on the rice.
Decent mac salad. Pasta cooked al dente, just how I like it, but for my taste buds, it needed that splash of black pepper. Could use some grated carrots and celery for flavor. Some places will add green peas, too. The main flavors, though, were right there.
I was happy to see comfort food like loco moco and spam/eggs/rice on the menu. Even malasadas. All of those would need to wait for another day.
Hapa Howie's is a great spot for some Hawaiian-style plate lunches! 8/10