Like any other place of business, long lines are usually indicative of where the good stuff is at.
While we were set on eating at BWS Cafeteria on our visit last week, the congregation of folks formed in front of two lunch wagons right across the street of the Board of Water Supply parking lot when we arrived, stirred enough curiosity in us to at least walk over and see who and what THAT was all about. Turned out the one in front nearest to the sidewalk is Yuki’s Wagon (notice it’s sans “lunch”), while the one in back is a “no name” Vietnamese wagon.
That curiosity of course was never forgotten, therefore we returned to the Board of Water Supply area again today to check these wagons out. Nothing like the weekly greasy spoon lunch hunt!
Yuki’s Wagon and the Vietnamese “no name” wagon behind it are located in the parking lot entrance of the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center of Hawaii building on Lauhala Street, adjacent to the Board of Water Supply customer service parking lot behind the building.
The wagons are located just to the left of that Plumeria tree
How ironic that lunch wagons – notorious for serving heaping helpings of animal protein and mega-servings of carbs – are located in front of a Cancer Research Center. LOL Part of a case study, perhaps? That might explain why you’ll see doctors and nurses dressed in scrubs working nearby joining the crowd at these wagons. For real!
Enough about that, we stay hungry! What’s get fo’ grind?
Yuki’s Wagon mini plates menu
Yuki’s wagon daily specials (for Thursday, 9/19/08)
These were the daily specials served last week Friday at Yuki’s Wagon…
Yuki’s Wagon daily specials for Friday, 9/12/08. Diggin’ the artwork of the fishies. lol
As is common with most places serving local grinds on “Pauhana Friday”, last Friday Yuki’s included Hawaiian plates on the daily specials list. Kalua Chicken, ay? Never tried that before. Turkey, yes, Chicken, no. Have you? If so, leave a comment and tell us about it!
Don’t forget the add-ons, like chips, cold drinks and perhaps a Spam Musubi…
Gotta’ love the (empty) soda and juice can flavor choices displayed on a rope… classic!
While having healthy options such as brown rice and green salads at a lunch wagon or plate lunch stand are nice to have, the foundation of it are in the comfort foods. I mean COMFORT FOOD. Therefore, I pulled out all the stops today and went with the Roast Pork & Gravy with white rice and mac sal’…
I must note that when ordering this plate, the server/owner asked, “you like gravy all ovah?”. Brah, ‘das da’ magic question, right deah! Of course, aunty, load ’em! Customer service, my friends. Customer service! As you see, “gravy all ovah” is code for on top da’ rice and possibly leaking into da’ mac sal. Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Diner E went with Teriyaki Chicken and Beef Cutlet mix…
Diner AC (you go girl!) ordered the Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs…
Diner A went “rebel” on us and ventured to the Vietnamese “no name” wagon behind…
picking up the Teriyaki Chicken Salad plate, along with an egg roll…
What’s interesting about this wagon is, if you look at the photo of their service window, they have fully-assembled plates on display (wrapped in plastic) so you can see what to order. Nice touch! If we were in Japan, those would be made out of plastic. lol
Here’s a cross-cut view of that egg roll…
So how was it?
In the order that the plates are shown here, let’s start with my Roast Pork with Gravy plate from Yuki’s Wagon, which I’ll give a solid 3-SPAM Musubi rating. The rich, thick, properly-seasoned brown gravy smothering the generous portions of tender, nicely roasted pieces of pork was very satisfying. The pork itself could have been a little more moist though. I think it was in the oven a bit longer than I’d have liked, but of course, the gravy quickly masks that notion. Still worth noting though. While it’s not going to earn the “Kewalo Factor” award, it’s within reach, perhaps if ordered on the “on” day, if you know what I mean.
Diner E was very very happy with his Teriyaki Chicken, noting that it tasted and had texture of being baked, in a good way. Very moist and tender, while being browned just right on the outside, with a fantastic Teriyaki covering it. He wasn’t as favorable about the beef cutlet, saying it was overcooked and dried out. Still, the Teriyaki chicken made up for that, along with the ono Macaroni-Potato salad, taking up the slack and earning his plate a just-made-it 3-SPAM Musubi rating.
Between Diner E and myself, we both agreed the Potato-Mac Sal’ was winnahz here. Great texture, cool in temperature and neutral, yet-has-bite creamy mayo’ dressing, while keeping it simple with just the addition of grated carrots and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Solid.
Diner AC is part Chinese, so she would know what good Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs should taste like. Her only thing with the one from Yuki’s is that it didn’t have enough “sweet” in the sauce, leaning more on the acidic (vinegar) side. Other than that, she noted the pork as being tender and cooked down nicely, while being very generous in portion (a non-factor for her, but still worth some points). I tried a piece of the spare ribs from her plate and thought it was very good, and on par with what the dish should taste like. I swear I tasted pineapple in there, which I know some folks use in their Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs recipe. Diner C tried a piece (actually finished the rest!) and noted it reminded her more of Pork Adobo. To each their own I guess! Diner AC also appreciated the freshness of the tossed greens. After all is said, done and eaten, Diner AC gave her Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs plate from Yuki’s a solid 2-SPAM Musubi rating.
Finally we have our rebel, Diner A, who gave his Teriyaki Chicken Salad and Egg Roll plate from the “No Name” Vietnamese Lunch Wagon a solid 3-SPAM Musubi rating. As skinny as he is, he’s our resident “plate polisher”…
Wow Diner A, that must have been ono!
Last note, my apologies for not having the proper name of the Vietnamese Lunch Wagon behind it. Diner A didn’t ask their name, and neither was it written anywhere on the menu boards or wagon itself. Nor did I go inquire myself, which I should have. Why do so many lunch wagons operate unmarked? Even Yuki’s wagon is like that. Thankfully, at least Yuki’s wrote their name on the menu board! In lieu of that, Diner A’s 3-SPAM Musubi rating is enough to consider looking this Vietnamese wagon up. Good grinds for sure!
Man, I’m full. Ippai desu.
Yuki’s Wagon operates out of a kitchen on Keeaumoku street. Here’s the information:
(c/o Yuki’s Wagon)
1229 Keeaumoku St.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Yuki’s Wagon is located in the parking lot entrance of the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center of Hawaii building at 1236 Lauhala Street, adjacent to the Board of Water Supply Administrative Office on the mauka side of Beretania Street, just a block up from the Hawaii State Capitol. Call for business hours (most likely during the peak lunch hour window within the work week).
The Tasty Island rating:
(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)