Iwilei Eats: Kanak Attack

Kanak Attack
Pronunciation: kă-‘năck e-‘tăck
Function: slang
Etymology: Hawaiian Pidgin English. “Kanaka Maoli” refers to native Hawaiian people. This slang term, with the shortened “Kanak” (which when used in certain situations can be racially derogatory) from “Kanaka” may have been coined from the resulting effect one feels after eating all the “onolicious” (delicious) food offered at a traditional Hawaiian Luau.
Definition: The feeling of fatigue after eating a large or heavy meal.
Use: “Aftah pounding ‘dat beef stew plate, braddah, now I get majah’ Kanak Attack!”. Translation: “After devouring that delicious Beef Stew plate lunch, now I’m ready to fall asleep!” Or, “Brah, ‘das’ Kanak Attack action right deah’.” Translation: “Just looking at all that delicious food makes me sleepy.”


Isn’t that the coolest plate lunch stand name, slogan and logo? Love it! Notice the spilled drink and empty plates on the ground, apparently after that fellah’ had, well, eaten until he fell asleep. lol

Not that I’m advocating such gluttonous behavior, but hey, all in fun and taking it lightly (pun intended), the name is quite catchy! And you must admit, at least once a year on Thanksgiving Day, ALL OF US AMERICANS have suffered a “Kanak Attack” to some degree from that tryptophan-induced “turkey coma”.

That said, by now you should understand what this whole “Kanak Attack” concept is all about.

So here we are today at Kanak Attack, a plate lunch joint/whatever else it is (as you’ll soon see) and another hole-in-the-wall gem that’s not even visible from the street, it’s that HIDDEN. Kanak Attack is located within the back office area of Nimitz Business Center (Eagle Cafe, Sensually Yours, Subway) at the Ewa-Mauka corner of Alakawa street (Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco) and Nimitz highway. It’s so hidden, like St. Louis Delicatessen (who at least ARE visible from the street!), Kanak Attack doesn’t even have a BUSINESS SIGN.

Would you know there’s a place to eat here if I didn’t tell you?…

Barely a clue…

Probably the most interesting thing about this eatery besides its deeply obscure location is the merchandise they have to offer once you set foot inside, including a wide assortment of candies, snacks and stuffed animals that would do the Punahou Carnival proud…

As if that isn’t enough behind the door of this “cavern of hidden treasure”, not only can you get yourself a plate lunch that will put you to sleep, while you’re at it, you can also get that special piece of jewelry you’ve been looking for as a gift come Valentine’s Day tomorrow…

Tell me where else in Hawaii (besides perhaps Chinatown), will you find Chow Mein noodles showcased for sale next to stuffed animals, candy, jewelry necklaces and pendants? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find right here at Kanak Attack! lol

“Oh honey, you shouldn’t have! Where did you get this lovely ring from? It’s BEAUTIFUL!” Hubby cringes and squints eyes, then reluctantly replies/confesses, “Kanak ‘Attack”. LOL!

At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “Where am I? Aren’t we talking about a PLATE LUNCH STAND here?” I scratched my head and asked myself the same thing while taking these pictures. lol

Believe it or not, within just a few feet to the left of this jewelry showcase, are all the local kine grindz one could ask for, including “Aloha Friday” Squid Luau, Beef Stew and Teriyaki Beef…

Green Beans, Chicken Long Rice and Kalua Pig…

Brown Gravy (for the Hamburger Steak Plate), Grilled Saba and Shoyu Chicken…

Chili, Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs, and Teriyaki Hamburger Steak Patties (with roast pork on top)…

Roast Pork…

Lemon Pepper Salmon…

Pulehu steak (!!!)…

Beef Sukiyaki…

Fried Cheeckin’…

Chow Mein Noodles…

Mac’ Sal’…

Ahi Poke…

Lomi Salmon…

My Lord, are you sleeping yet? Good, me neither. Just REALLY HUNGRY right about now after lookin’ at all them onolicious grindz!

While most of Kanak Attack’s menu changes on a daily basis, there’s a few “regulars” you can get here…

The man behind all this here at Kanak Attack is owner/chef Ron Pang, who told me he’s been here now at the Nimitz Business Center for six years now, after formerly being located on Kapahulu Avenue, for a total of over 16 years in business under the name ‘Kanak Attack’.

Here’s Ron seasoning and tenderizing some steaks before hitting the grill…

Back to the place, hidden as it is, thankfully Kanak Attack provides dine-in seating…

Perhaps the only thing missing here are pillows, or better yet, a BED to crash on after  you pau (finished) eating and  “Kanak Attack” sets in. lol

Not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but one of my favorite “telling points” about a plate lunch eatery is the type of condiments they offer at the station. Here’s what you’ll find at Kanak Attack…

Eh? Wheah da’ Chili Peppah Wattah? (Chili Pepper Water). No, but seriously, see that big bottle of A1 Steak Sauce? That’s the stuff, baby!

A1 Steak Sauce did you say? Well yes, as starting out with what we ordered on this visit, here we have my choice, which was Kanak Attack’s rendition of a “Steak Plate”…

What is this? The “T REX SPECIAL”? Holy WHOLE Cow, that’s one HUGE HONKIN’ SLAB O’ BEEF!

You know what’s funny, is that I asked the guy “How do you serve that? Do you cut it up and serve in pieces?” Which he looked at me sort of perplexed and replied, “What do you mean?” Then continuing “Oh no, you get the whole steak just like that.” I was like “DAMMMMMMN, this place really DOES live up to the name “Kanak Attack””. LOL!

So as mentioned, I walked out with an enitre cut of steak, which arrived at the take-out counter fresh off the grill. I mean da’ buggah’ was still SIZZLIN’ when I ordered it. I actually wanted to try their Hawaiian food, as the squid luau, chicken long rice and kalua pig looked really ono, but once that sizzlin’ grill-marked steak landed on the line, I was sold on that.   HOOK      ME       UP!

Cutting this bad boy up, it looks like this…

I certainly would have preferred it more rare than medium as it is here, yet thankfully I have my trusty A1 steak sauce for dippin’, so all is good.

As for how it tasted, buggah’ was WINNAHZ! Although it was top round, it was still very tender, thanks to Ron using a needle tenderizer to the meat prior to cooking it. The seasoning blend was also very tasty, whatever it was he used.

Not leaving well enough alone, since I had some of Halm’s “Hawaiian BBQ Sauce” on hand, I also drenched a few slices of da’ steak in that (the two strips in the center)…

Oh yeah, da Teri’ Steak action was killahz!  Truly a “close your eyes and savor it” moment.

Kanak Attack’s Macaroni Salad (“Mac Sal'”) is also exceptional, being simple and creamy flavored, with small chopped pieces of Kamaboko (fish cake) and grated carrot in it. 4 SPAM Musubi on their Mac’ Sal’, with a 3 SPAM Musubi on Kanak Attack’s “T REX” Plate. would probably be 4 or 5 if the cut was Ribeye.

In case you’re going to question, “but Pomai, that’s unlike you, where you normally have at least some greens on your plate”. No worry Beef Curry, as fortunately “Diner T” came to the rescue and offered me his uneaten side of KFC Coleslaw, which worked out PERFECTLY with my steak plate!…

Moving on, Diner A gave his Lemon Pepper seasoned Salmon, Chow Mein and Mac Salad with Wasabi Aioli mini plate a solid 3.5 SPAM Musubi rating…

Finally, Diner E also gave his “Kanak Attack” of a Teriyaki Beef Plate a very solid 3 SPAM Musubi rating…

There you have it. A place where you can do your Valentine’s Day gift shopping, while knocking yourself out on so much local ‘kine grindz that you just might forget who exactly the gift is for. All under one roof that you’ll have to look deep to find at Kanak Attack!


Kanak Attack Catering
Nimitz Business Center
1130 N. Nimitz Highway
Building C, Suite 110
Honolulu, Hawaii  96817
Tel. 521-4131

Business hours:
Tuesday through Friday 10:30am to 1:30pm
Saturday & Sunday closed for catering
Monday closed

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Kanak Attack – Yelp user reviews

P.S. Here’s Diner “Brian Johnson” E (“singing”), Diner “Angus Young” A (“playing guitar”) and Yours Truly (me) going crazy on drums “performing” (more like butchering) “Who Made Who” by AC/DC



17 thoughts on “Iwilei Eats: Kanak Attack

  1. Pomai, at first I thought one of band member was you. My late father was a rocker back in Taiwan with his own band called Spark. They sang a lot of AC DC songs. I will head out there to try their lemon salmon and other delights.
    Happy Chinese New Year.

  2. Amy, I am in the “band”. I’m the “fashion-challenged” drummer with the red hair, funky green shades, white tanktop and black slacks.
    I’ll have to look up this Taiwan band ‘Spark’ you mentioned.
    Gung Hee Fatt Choi.

  3. Well played, my friend… Pomai, the hair is like Dave Grohl’s….. you just see the face every now and then, sometimes not at all. I love how the drum set just disintegrated. I’ll play bass with you anytime. Real bass, air bass, ainokea! 😉

    I am definitely going to check out Kanak Attack. Something about going to Oahu makes me hungry!

  4. Carol, gotta’ say, that song does have lots of pep. Always gets my head a boppin’ and foot a tappin’.
    Marcus, according to Wikipedia, AC/DC’s popularity declined soon after firing drummer Phil Rudd in 1983. Then when he returned they cut new albums that sold well again.

    AC/DC needs to stick with simple, melodic power chords and beats. That’s their magical sounds. Now if I can only figure out what in the heck Brian Johnson is singing. Can’t make out a single lyric! lol
    Nate, good luck finding the place! lol

  5. Oh man, I remember when this place was in Kapahulu. Da teri chix plate was really ono. I think my fav teri chix was at Masu’s though…I miss that place!

  6. I’m loving these pictures — the food looks ono kine, as always, but agreed — jewelry, stuffed animals, noodles. Ah, Hawaii will forever have a happy place in my heart. Or maybe it’s the Spam musubi’s clogging things up… I will be back in Hilo in a few weeks and I cannot WAIT!

  7. Now I’m real hungry. Man, I LOVE your blog! Oh local food, how I miss thee!
    When I look outside my window, all I see is mainland snow and your blog has been the touch of home I needed. Been reading non-stop and just reached p. 100 of the archives. Now I’m determined to read it all! *cracks knuckles* Got a growing list of places I need to eat at next time I’m home. Thanks for the hard work. I’m eating vicariously through you.

  8. *LMAO* You are TOO much, Pomai!! Late here but I’m going moe (sleep) now and cracking up over your video, brah! Oh, and of course, your food pics makes me envious that you have those kind of grindz!! WHY do you do this to us??!!! Aaarrghhh…I’m licking the monitor again! 🙂

  9. Gwynn, glad you enjoyed the vid’. Normally we say “moe moe”. How about that name for a plate lunch? “Da’ Moe Moe Special”.
    Angela, I didn’t realize my blog had page numbers. Anyway, thanks! I’d say two of the most “epic” posts here are “Let’s Talk Chopsticks” and the “Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout”.
    Wasabi Prime, I bet you’re excited to get back home to “sleepy” Hilo town. lol Stop by Oahu while you’re at it!
    mitcho, I was always curious about Kanak Attack when they were on Kapahulu, yet never did pay a visit back when they were located there. Glad I finally tried it at their current location. Food’s really good!
    Syndrax, Diner A is a very, should I say, “animated” person by nature. He’s a RIOT to work with! Never miss a day without a good laugh from him. Diner E is lots of fun too, as you can tell by the video. They’re da’ “bestest”! 🙂

  10. Man, that steak plate looks ono. You know Pomai, I’m always on O’ahu with my homegirl Amy Hanaiali’i for gigs…. and you know “Uncle’s” is her uncle Bruce’s place right nearby…. so I might have to sneak into Kanak Attack in disguise, under cover of darkness. LOL!

  11. Jenny, So what you’re basically saying is you don’t like my “red-headed hot rocker chick look” huh? Or Diner E’s AWESOME Cap-topped “fro’ do”. Or Diner A’s “ditzy blonde do”. Well fine then! Fine then! But I do, gunfunnit! We Rock! LOL!

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