Mochiko Chicken is a slick, one-restaurant fast food concept based on Hawaiian-style fried chicken: rice flour-breaded chicken chunks fried into nuggets. It’s a family operation that grew from a food truck that enjoyed success with the sizable local Hawaiian population.
We’ve tried several versions of Mochiko, which vary greatly. Some have bones, some do not; their batter may be peppery or tempura-like; they can be dark brown or golden. Mochiko Chicken’s version is boneless, light gold, and plainly battered, served over rice. It’s a blank canvas, but one that offers dozens of flavor possibilities when you consider adding any of the various sauces made in-house. Most of the sauces remind of of fry sauce; many are mayonnaise-based; and while some are labeled spicy, none will seriously tickly your tongue.
Customers are encouraged to taste sauces in order to find what they like. One called Hawaiian hen house is a sort of teriyaki mayo with Polynesian character — a good creamy choice over charbroiled chicken with a sunnyside egg on top. You also can add steamed vegetables to complete the bowl and make it into a whole, quick meal.
The Mochiko chicken itself is light with nice crunch. Although at first it might remind you of sweet and sour chicken from a take-out place, eating it tells another story. Rice batter makes it light, and the chicken is tender.
What sauces there are, aren’t bad, but we do wish there was at least one with real impact beyond the salty-sweet signature of so much Hawaiian food.
Tropical drinks are available that go well with this food. We like lychee lemonade, even if it is more lychee than lemon, thus a bit sweeter than tart.