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Crave Okoy

¬†We went down to one of our favorite food truck spots on the island. The parking lot across from the Blaisdell Center affectionately known as “Food Truck Alley”.

We got there about an hour after opening, and as usual, people were already lined up for their favorite food trucks.
This particular one, is brightly colored and easy to see from the street. Plus the streetside parking on Kapiolani Blvd makes it really easy to find, even if you have no idea what “Okoy” is.
…To be fair, neither did i.
When asked about the name, owner Junior said, while he was on his last tour in Iraq, he kept thinking about moms cooking, and would crave okoy every day. So when he got back, that was the name he gave the truck.

First things first, lets tackle the namesake.
“Okoy” is a traditional Filipino district from the Laguna province. Crave Okoy makes this dish the Pampangan way, the way their mothers and grandmothers did before them.
Okoy consists of shredded green papaya, onion and kabocha, battered with their special batter, and formed kind of like a hash brown. Then topped with a whole shrimp and fried. This crispy, savory treat is served with a chili/vinegar sauce that really brings the whole thing together. When you go check them out, and you will, make sure you dump the sauce on the fritter and watch your fingers. Wouldn’t want to bite them off.
Considering I’d never even heard of Okoy before, I was pleasantly surprised. Crispy and Crunchy, and a nice blend of flavors. The kabocha gives it a little sweetness that balances it out really well.

Next, another personal favorite.
the “Chicken Lollypop”

This drumstick is turned inside out and marinated in one of my favorite things ever.
no, not bacon… but close.
After a long soak in the stinking rose, its pulled up around the bone, leaving you with this meaty, delicious lollypop. And you would really be a sucker not to get one yourself. Its a pretty big piece of chicken for only $3 (or 2 for $5), and its juicy and flavored throughout. Between this and the Okoy, youre gonna have a great lunch.
…but wait, theres more

Lots More.

This is a typical 2 choice plate from Crave Okoy.
Rice and Pancit (noodles) and 2 choices. Its a lot of food, and only $8. And you can chose from any of the ala cart items.

“Pancit” is a staple of any Filipino diet. If you’re from Hawaii, chances are you’ve had, or at least seen pancit. But if you haven’t, its kind of like the filipino version of chow mein.

“Caldareta” is a pork stew made with potatoes, peas, carrots, and bell peppers. Kind of like a cross between Guisantes and Beef Stew (but with pork, of course). Big tender chunks of pork in a tomato based stew, with lots of veggies and potatoes. A really hearty meal to be sure. I could have easily just had this over rice.

The last dish is not for picky eaters, but if you want to try something new, it comes recommended.

“Sisig” is another traditional Filipino dish that many, myself included, are not very familiar with. A sort of savory and sour hash, made with pork head, chicken liver, onion and lemon (or calamansi when in season). It sounds a lot more daunting than it is, and turned out to be pretty darn good.
Im told it makes a great pupu when you’re hanging out, especially with a cold beer. Definitely sounded like a good idea to me.

So whether you’re looking for something new or familiar, Crave Okoy has something for the foodie in you.
Check them out across from the Blaisdell, on the corner of Kapiolani and Ward Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 11a-2pm.
And follow them on FB and Twitter for updates.

Twitter: @CraveOkoy

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