Aulani’s Makahiki restaurant has had a few changes since opening nine months ago. One of those very recent changes is that they now serve lunch. On the new menu is, build-your-own Pizza, build-your-own Salad, and build-your-own Sandwich. The signature entrees are two of their favorite Pizza, Salad, and Sandwich combos along with the Chef’s Special Bento box. When looking at the menu I was struck on how reasonable the prices were.
I opted for the Chef’s Special Bento box. For those readers unaware what a “Bento box” is Wikipedia has a great description: Bento (弁当, bentō) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. OK, now you are in the know! My Bento consisted of three slices of very fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi with a small cake of Wasabi, Chicken Teriyaki served on a bed of shredded Cabbage, Cucumber and Carrot Namasu, Fried Rice, and Mochi Ice Cream.
I loved the Chef’s Special Bento! First I started with Cucumber and Carrot Namasu. Namasu is very similar to Sunomono whereas the thinly sliced fresh vegetables are lightly cured in Rice Wine Vinegar, Sugar and Salt. This was an excellent start to my meal. Next I moved to the Tuna Sashimi. With a little dip into the soy sauce I had poured over the Wasabi, it just melted in my mouth. So good! Next was the Teri-chicken and Rice. The pre-cut chicken breast was tender and moist and the Teriyaki was bold but not overpowering. You may ask, “are you saving the best for last Mark?” Yes I am! The Fried Rice was “Broke Da Mouth” good (Hawaiian Pidgin for something so delicious it Broke your mouth). It had Peas, Carrots, Pork, and a killer sauce that the rice was stir fried in. Yummy! But wait, what about the Mochi? Do you see the little white ball in the picture? That is an Ice Cream Mochi. A Mochi is pounded sticky rice that is made into a pouch so you can put sweets into. This had Kona Coffee Ice Cream in it! What a great way to end a meal. My lunch made my day at Aulani.