Ah, the joys of eating in — without cooking! Here are the most memorable meals we ate out of takeout containers in August.
Four ounces of lobster, umami mayo, scallions, butter and a spritz of Shinsato Farms Meyer lemon on a King’s Hawaiian roll. With a side of shoestring fries.
Butter drips out with each bite. Succulent, savory lobster chunks spill out — the undisputed star of this no-fuss, no-frills roll. Every mouthful is a match made in seafood heaven.
My one regret: Posting this on social media. I got my hands on my lobster roll ($21) in its second week on Feast's menu. Since then, demand for these lobster rolls has gone through the roof. Please note the restaurant is closed on Mondays. — Kelli Shiroma Braiotta
2970 E. Manoa Rd. • Manoa • 840-0488 • Tues-Sat 11 a.m-2 p.m., 4.-6 p.m. • feastrestauranthawaii.com
I brought a friend to Kyung's Seafood for the first time recently — he's a Gina's BBQ diehard — and might have swayed his loyalties. Partly for what feels like more than a pound of food (not that Gina's skimps on portions either), but mostly for the fresh ‘ahi poke. The combo plate of kalbi and Mama's Special poke ($18.95) is my go-to order, and meat jun with poke ($17.95) is now his. — Martha Cheng
1269 S. King St. • Pawaa • 589-1144
Mugen's takeout bentos are outstanding, with new boxes every week for $25. Although it seems expensive, consider that they use high-quality ingredients, in keeping with their brand. My favorite takeout, though, was the restaurant’s poule au pot pie (chicken pot pie, $21) composed of Jidori chicken confit with hon shimeji mushrooms, edamame and truffle bechamel. This is not your mama's pot pie! It's rich, flaky, buttery and makes comfort food luxurious. If you gotta dine at home, this is the way to do it. — Melissa Chang
2452 Kalakaua Ave. • Waikiki • 377-2246 • espaciowaikiki.com/dining-at-mugen • Pull up to the loading zone on Kalakaua Avenue
Nanzan Giro Giro
Browsing Facebook, I saw that Nanzan Giro Giro had once again updated their takeout kaiseki tasting menu. "Training for foie gras menu, coming soon," was how chef Matsumoto teased it. Intrigued, I placed an order for the $34 bento. Turns out the only foie gras was in the sauce for the starter, but combined with a sweet potato egg tofu with a touch of wasabi, it was a delicious start. The soup had an interesting gooey tofu and a spiciness that lingered in the back of my throat. It was balanced by cold, slippery noodles paired with crunchy tempura. Lightly salted salmon and tofu rounded it out. Duck, the main course, was tender enough to melt in my mouth, the sea bass was oily in a delicious way, and the tasty steak elevated by an accompanying sauce. The surprise standout was the shrimp ball, packed with flavor and so large that I had to take multiple bites. And I've been told I have a big mouth! Although this is training for foie gras, this bento is already a masterpiece for my taste buds. — Eric Baranda
Nanzan Giro Giro • 560 Pensacola St. • Ala Moana • ph 524-0141 text 782-0142 • Thurs-Mon 5-7:30 p.m.
Poke for the People ExpressBefore COVID-19, a stop at PFTP for a poke bowl to eat in my car was a consistent part of my routine. Now, over 90% of my lunches involve whatever I can find in my refrigerator. So I was happy to find myself in the vicinity a couple of Saturdays ago. Craving something interesting, I spot the ninniku goma or garlic sesame poke on the specials board and order a poke bowl ($10.45) plus another half-pound of poke for later.
Garlicky, creamy and firm, this poke does not disappoint. The flavors deviate just enough from standard poke to become their own unique dish. Combined with toppings of edamame, ocean salad, ginger and crab salad, this tastes very reminiscent of something you may find in a Japanese department store food hall. My personal hack is to remove the poke, mix all the remaining ingredients, then replace the fish on the mixture to create a fun and delicious kamameshi mixed rice.
This is available only on Saturdays. Make sure you call ahead or order it online. — Gregg Hoshida
725 Kinau St. • Makiki • 312-3626 • Mon-Sat 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. • IG: @pftpexpress • pftpexpress.com • Limited parking behind the building
Rangoon Burmese Kitchen
Pre-pandemic, my family rarely went out to eat together, but for the past few months we’ve made a point of getting takeout for dinner once a week. Unfortunately, we don’t always agree on where to go. My insistence on Burmese food may have caused a rift between the adventurous and less-so eaters in the house, but Rangoon is worth it, people. Those of us under 40 split the Rangoon tea leaf salad ($14), a crunchy, spicy, funky mix of flavors that makes me actually crave salad; biryani with chicken ($20) and palatha (more doughy than flaky after a half-hour in the passenger seat but no complaints here); and the garlic noodles with tofu ($15) and a sweet chili dipping sauce on the side. It came out to about $20 each after tip, super reasonable given how satiated I was, and it made all my friends in our virtual pau hana jealous. — Katrina Valcourt
1131 Nuuanu Ave. • Chinatown • 367-0645 • https://rangoon-burmese-kitchen.business.site/
This was so good that when the call went out for best takeout we got in August, I went back and ordered this again so I could get this picture. My taste buds danced the entire way to the food court: A lagoon of creamy, coconutty, un-spicy laksa broth surrounds a generous portion of curly wheat and vermicelli rice noodles (you can customize and get either/or) topped with fish balls, fried tofu, crunchy veggies and in my case, lemongrass grilled pork chops. Which is good already, but SingMaTei's pork chop laksa ($12.95) comes with two slabs, enough for a second meal of pork chops, rice and cold, crunchy cucumbers slathered with an insane sambal sauce that balances flavors of shrimp, chiles, garlic, sugar and salt so memorably that on my second visit, I ask for extra. — Mari Taketa
Ala Moana Center Makai Market • 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. • Ala Moana • 940-6228
Taqueria El Gallo Rosa
I had almost given up on my hunt for exemplary Mexican fare on Oahu until I decided to give Taqueria El Gallo Rosa a try. Don't let the slick branding and elevated prices fool you — this rooster talks the talk and walks the walk. My first visit, I ended up with a Sinchronizada quesadilla with pork pastor ($8.50), a fish taco ($3.95) and refried beans with chips ($4.80). I got hooked on the flame-licked pastor topped with sweet pineapple and diced onion. My second visit, less than a week later, resulted in chicken mole and pork pastor tacos ($3.95 each), more beans with chips and a carne asada gordita ($8.95). The savory tortillas are made fresh in-house from the masa of imported Oaxacan corn. The proteins are simple but flavor-forward, making them easy to pair with the homemade salsas without diluting the flavors. Ask for the smokey salsa morita and you'll be a convert, too. — Thomas Obungen
Taqueria El Gallo Rosa • 108 Hekili St. #107 • Kailua • 262-8226 • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily