Fuel Your Drive for Local Favorites

Columns What's for Lunch?

December 15, 2013

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

If it’s lunchtime and your belly feels like a black hole of hunger, get your drive on and hit the newly opened Kaneohe Palisades Drive Inn, conveniently located near Windward Mall at the intersection of delicious and affordable. The eatery specializes in serving heaping portions of local barbecue and Chinese favorites, all made to order.

“The bomb” is perhaps the most appropriate term to describe Roast Pork Fried Rice ($8.95). You’ll want to launch an attack on the generous portion of moist rice, juicy pork, crisp veggies and subtle seasonings.

The dish got its start as a night snack the cook whipped up for employees. And once they tried it, “we wanted to eat it again and again,” says Katrina Zhu, owner of Palisades Drive Inn.

The fried rice is studded with roast pork made in house. Marinated, broiled till tender then chopped up, the pork is stir-fried with rice, peas, carrots, green onions and egg, and adds an addictive dose of buttery richness. “It’s really tender and tasty,” Zhu says of the morsels of pork.

The dish can also be prepared with whole-grain brown rice. “Actually we have several customers who request to have it made with brown rice,” says Zhu. “It comes out really good, too.”

Boneless skinless chicken, onions and button mushrooms stir-fried in oyster sauce make up another explosively flavorful customer favorite.

“It’s a very simple dish that has been popular for many years,” Zhu says of the Mushroom Chicken ($8.25). Try, 10 years where it was a best-seller at the original Pearl City location.

It may be the house-made oyster sauce that sets the dish apart from the rest. A classic in Chinese cooking, oyster sauce lends depth to everything it coats with its briny caramel under-tones. Use your rice (the plate comes with two scoops of white or brown and one scoop of mac salad or tossed) to soak up every last drop.

The restaurant is situated on Kamehameha Highway at the intersection of the two Aloha gas stations, across the street from American Savings Bank. Enjoy an eyeful of the Koolau Mountains for dessert.

Palisades Drive Inn

45-1151 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe
Open daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Kaneohe, HI 96744

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Hawaii's Best