In this episode of Dining on a Dime, host Lucas Peterson visits Ethel’s Grill, a Honolulu institution that serves up local favorites and hearty lunches. Eater stopped by to test out the loco moco plate, a local take on fried chicken, and because why not, deep-fried turkey tail.
Some background: Loco moco might not sound familiar to mainlanders, but it’s a staple in Hawaii. Each plate consists of plain white rice, scallions, and a hamburger patty slathered in gravy and topped with an egg. It’s hearty, delicious, and mushy in the very best way. The fried chicken found at Ethel’s, meanwhile, isn’t exactly the same as southern-style. Its mochiko chicken is marinated in a shoyu ginger sauce and breaded in rice flour, giving the final dish a light, clean flavor.
And during his visit, Peterson also samples the “ass end of a turkey”: The tail of the turkey is pure rich fattiness, and yet it’s often discarded. Here, it gets paired with a sweet, bright sauce, and Peterson couldn’t be happier.
Ethel’s, a family-owned restaurant, is a busy and beloved joint, and it’s easy to see why. As Peterson puts it, “the food is simple, the food is delicious, the food is inexpensive [...] and you get a large amount of food that will fill you up for the day.”