Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Gerry and the Zip Pack.

Foodies across the world may revolt. Nadine Kam (the Honolulu Star-Bulletins' food critic) may stop talking to me. Worshippers of Alan Wong and Chef Mavro might burn me in effigy, but to me, there Zippy's Chili is the definition of local, Hawaii cuisine.

Nothing else compares. It's a delicate balance of meat, beans and spice. Not too much, not too little. Just right. It's not the in yer face kind of chili so popular on the mainland, it's subdued. It's balanced. It melds beautifully with rice. It's a mix of American and Asian tastes. It's perfection. If you could only eat one dish to sample Hawaii's cuisine, it should be Zippy's Chili.

I'm so fanatical about Zippy's Chili that I once spent $80 to have some shipped to me in Maryland. It is quite simply food that inspires passion.

Zippy's Chili with cheese and onions.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't fine dining. It's barely even "fast casual" dining. This is down-home, in your gut, cuddle up with a girl, comfort food. It's not meant to be fancy. It has no pretense. It's just something that tastes good, warms your heart (perhaps clogging it too) and fills your soul.

We've come to Zippy's after a day of reckless endangerment and we must eat. For me, the perfect accompaniment to the chili is their fried chicken. Zippy's, with an eye on satisfying the soul and ignoring health, only uses thigh meat for their fried chicken. It's tender, juicy, crispy and oh so delicious. That juicy crunch of chicken paired with a spoonful of chili and rice - it's unbelievable. I must have more.

Fried Chicken Mini Plate with fries and scoop mac salad.

Korean Chicken plate.

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