Trippin’ on Tacos

Ono, You Know

July 8, 2018

Story By: Ellise Kakazu | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

The editor is happy to find Applebee’s Grill & Bar’s BBQ Brisket Tacos ($16.99).

I love Mexican food and all of its zesty flavors. So much so that I spent most of my time eating tacos during a recent trip to California.

Visiting as many Mexican restaurants as I can while on vacation has been a habit of mine for years, as there are not many in Hawaii.

However, my long beloved trip tradition may come to an abrupt halt because I recently discovered a new world of tacos right here at home.

On my latest food excursion, I had an epiphany — one doesn’t have to go to a Mexican restaurant to find a good taco. As Hawaii is considered a melting pot of cultures and food, it only is natural that restaurants reflect this notion by serving more than one type of cuisine under a single roof.

Since many eateries now embrace fusion cuisine (mixing of two or more cuisines), I discovered it is not hard to find Mexican inspired dishes weaved into menus.

So if you are a Mexican food enthusiast, like me, yearning for a satisfying meal, check out the deliciosos tacos I uncovered during this week’s food fiesta:


Applebee’s Grill & Bar offers American classics such as baby back ribs, steaks and burgers, as well as rare culinary treasures like Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos, Quesadilla Burger and Fiesta Lime Chicken on its diverse menu.

A closer look at Applebee’s Grill & Bar’s BBQ Brisket Tacos.

Manager Ricardo Harrison notes Applebee’s typically is known for its American food, but the beloved eatery also offers items that draw inspiration from places like Mexico and Asia.

Take the BBQ Brisket Tacos ($16.99) for example. The tasty tacos are filled with shredded beef brisket, pico de gallo, cheese, crispy onions and a feisty Mexi-ranch dressing.

“It’s one of Applebee’s newest tacos,” says Harrison. “It’s a different spin on the traditional taco because barbecue and brisket is more so in a sandwich or in a burger.”

The tacos’ unique flavor profile and fillings make for a great and unique Tex-Mex dining experience. And while the three tacos and helping of coleslaw that come with an order are enough to satisfy an appetite, customers also can choose a side to round up the meal.

Some sides up for grabs are Garlicky Green Beans, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Fire-Grilled Veggies and Classic Fries.

As Applebee’s continues to roll out one-of-a-kind dishes and blend the best of the world’s cuisines, I say viva la Applebee’s!


With a newfound appreciation for non-traditional tacos, I took a trip to Kahai Street Kitchen on Coolidge Street in search of more fun takes on the Mexican classic.

It was one of the best decisions I made all week, as I found that the eatery offers a wonderful selection of fusion cuisine.

Kahai Street Kitchen’s Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos ($12.95) LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTO

According to head chef David Yamamoto, Kahai serves elevated comfort food with added flair. A few of the eatery’s offerings include Crab Crusted Mahimahi, Guava Barbeque Braised Brisket, Korean Cobb Salad, and Surf and Turf Taco Plate.

As Kahai seamlessly blends Asian, Hawaiian, Mexican and other ethnic flavors together to create its mouthwatering creations, the eatery’s customers can expect to cross culinary borders with just a few bites.

A dish sure to bring you South of the Border with a welcomed stop over to Korea is Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos ($12.95), which features braised boneless short rib, kimchee slaw, pickled red onions and gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste) aioli.

Kahai Street Kitchen’s Indian Chicken Korma Tacos ($10.95) LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTO

Another tantalizing taco ready to take diners on a tasty ride is Indian Chicken Korma Tacos ($10.95). The culinary masterpiece is a beautiful blend of boneless chicken braised with Indian herbs and spices, mango chutney, coleslaw, red onions, cilantro and toasted macadamia nuts.

“It has a lot of flavor, it’s a different type of taco,” says Yamamoto. “I think they (customers) will enjoy it.”

Just like any trip, Kahai Street Kitchen’s Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos and Indian Chicken Korma Tacos won’t last forever. In fact, they are specials only available until July 14.

So make like Speedy Gonzales and run to Kahai Street Kitchen to get your taco fix!

Kapolei, HI 96707

Honolulu, HI 96826

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best