Fried Garlic Chicken from Mitsu Ken, Honolulu

By Mark Wiens 8 Comments
Garlic chicken at Mitsu-Ken
Garlic chicken from Mitsu-Ken

One of my personal traditions when I’m in Honolulu is to go to the legendary hole-in-the-wall known as Mitsu-Ken.

Throughout the many years of visiting Honolulu, my family and I have always gone to Mitsu Ken, mainly for their famous and marvelous garlic fried chicken.

The garlic chicken is a splendid display of the knowledge of frying boneless, bite size chunks of chicken and splashing them with a sweet garlic sauce, coating them in deliciousness.

Mitsu-Ken Okazu
Outside Mitsu-Ken Okazu & Catering

They recently changed location from the original place I used to go when I was a kid.

Now Mitsu Ken is located in Kalihi on King Street, and it’s a nicer, bit of a cleaner environment from the previous location – though the old location had a bit more character to it – as this new spot is in a strip mall.

Menu at Mitsu Ken
The menu is on the back wall when you enter

The menu at Mitsu Ken remains the same, a bunch of different local combo plates and bentos, and then of course the famous garlic chicken.

The breakfast specials are actually quite tasty, but I decided to go for the Mitsu Ken bento this time, to get a range of their best items on top of rice.

Mitsu Ken restaurant
Welcome to Mitsu Ken

Since the restaurant is so small, and since the inside area is so compact, you actually have to wait your turn outside before entering to make your order.

They only do takeaway (or catering), so there’s no eating inside.

It is important to arrive at Mitsu-Ken early as they often sell out of garlic chicken. You can it in the morning and take it aways for a wonderful lunch lunch, but you’ll probably eat it before lunch!

Mitsu Ken
Hawaiian style takeaway

Few things are more attractive in life than a fresh bento box, making the entire car smell of delicious garlic chicken. It’s hard to resist, and you’ll probably grab a quick sample before reaching home (or wherever you’re going to eat).

Mitsu Ken
Mitsu Ken Bento, Honolulu, Hawaii

I decided to order the eat the Mitsu Ken bento, a plastic container filled with rice on the bottom, topped with teri beef, hot dog, SPAM, a piece of egg, and finally three pieces of garlic chicken.

There was also a small garnish of pickled ginger and seaweed furikake sprinkled on top for extra flavoring.

The hot dog was so-so, the SPAM was good because it’s SPAM, the teri beef was a little on the sweet side for me, but the real winner is just what they do best: garlic chicken.

The chicken is incredibly crispy all around, and coated in a sweet garlicky tanginess.

Price – $6.50

Fried saimin bento
Fried saimin bento

My wife got the fried fried saimin bento, a small bit of rice, fried saimin, a few slices of Portuguese sausage, omelet, and finally two pieces of garlic fried chicken.

I actually thought this combo was a bit better than the original Mitsu Ken bento, mainly because of the Portuguese sausage over the hot dog, and for the fried saimin.

Price – $6.25

Mitsu Ken - For Garlic Chicken
Mitsu Ken – For Garlic Chicken

Fried chicken is good, garlic fried chicken is even better, and Mitsu-Ken’s garlic chicken in Honolulu Hawaii, is pretty tasty.

I think the garlic chicken is a little too sweet and oily for me to eat very often, but it definitely is pretty tasty. If you are in the Kalihi area and want garlic chicken, head over to Mitsu Ken.

Also, check out Alicia’s Market, in Kalihi not too far away – it’s one of my go-to spot in Honolulu.

Mitsu Ken – For Garlic Chicken

Address: 2300 N King St Honolulu, HI 96819 Kalihi

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  • Neil Mitchell

    9 years ago

    This one slipped by me but great article Mark! Im going to Honolulu in October and will definitely be checking Mitsu Ken’s out for some garlic chicken. There’s a bakery over there too somewhere by Kings St (might be the Kamehameha bakery) that sells purple poi doughnuts ….Someone gave me one and they were soft, sweet and amazing….the next day we lined up at 7am out on the street and they were sold out already!!! That crispy, oily, slightly sweet garlic chicken sounds darn good though Mark, THX for the hot tip. I’m gonna need a feed bag for this one…

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Hey Neil, good to hear from you, thanks for the tip about the purple poi doughnut too, that sounds wonderful.

    • Neil Mitchell

      9 years ago

      Hey thanks Mark. I’m gonna proudly wear my “If it’s not spicy I’m not eating” tea shirt while I eat that garlic chicken!! I sure hope I don’t dump sauce on it though, so maybe I’ll wear a bib…
      I’m enjoying your videos and posts more than ever Mark, so great job and keep on truckin. I’ve made a few of your excellent and tasty recipes and because of your site I am now enjoying Thai food more than ever. I even bought a spun steel wok from Chinatown and an 80,000 BTU burner I hook to a propane tank, all to try and achieve that smoky taste from a super hot surface that usually elude home cooks. On my first try I must have had it too hot, as the beef I threw in the wok disintegrated into a puff of smoke and I had to order pizza.
      ..anyways, as always thanks again Mark, keep up the awesome work…..I really enjoy your stuff!!

  • bob

    13 years ago

    that is sick