As Hawaii remains one of my favorite places in the world, I am always delighted to encounter any reminder of the Aloha State in Taichung. Undoubtedly, the best local place to do this is Kua’Aina Burger & Sandwich at Mitsui Outlet Park. This restaurant and a sister eatery at Mitsui’s mall in New Taipei City’s Linkou District are branches of the original Kua’Aina, opened in 1975 in Haleiwa town on Oahu’s North Shore. Thanks to its popularity among Japanese visitors, it expanded to Japan, where it now has 31 branches.
Sitting in the spacious, 120-seat premises, you can actually pretend you’re back in Haleiwa. The main area has ceiling fans, wall-mounted surfboards, vintage black-and-white Hawaiian photos, and wooden floors, paneling and furniture, plus a glass wall offering great views of Taichung Port, while a smaller area is designed to evoke open-air garden-style seating. An excellent Hawaiian music selection also provides the perfect soundtrack for your experience.
The main menu focus is eight burgers (NT$210-330), flame grilled over lava rock, and six sandwiches (NT$120-240) like the Clubhouse, or Teriyaki Chicken. I tried the flagship Avocado Burger, enjoyed with an optional chia-sprinkled kaiser roll, lettuce, tomato and onion slices, and thick slabs of cool avocado that nicely complement the full, flame-grilled flavors of the beef. I also sampled another must-try, the Pineapple Teri Chicken Burger, with a pineapple and teriyaki sauce giving it an appetizing tang.
Other than burgers or sandwiches, you can sample Kua’Aina’s three versions of a Hawaiian comfort food classic–Loco Moco (NT$240-320), which is basically rice topped by beef or chicken, egg and brown gravy–or US Prime Hawaiian Grilled Steak (NT$390), also prepared over hot lava rock.
In addition, there’s an avocado-topped Hawaii Cobb Salad (NT$200), soups, fried sides, and three fluffy Hawaiian Pancake options like the Pancake Brulee (NT$230), topped with crunchy caramelized sugar, custard sauce, whipped cream and ice cream. Suitably tropical beverage accompaniments include three fruit-flavored Chia Sodas (NT$80) and three types of Hawaiian Kona Beer (NT$180).
Don’t drink and drive
夏威夷漢堡(台中店) Kua’Aina Burger & Sandwich (Taichung branch)
168, Taiwan Blvd, Sec 10, 2F, Wuqi Dist (Mitsui Outlet Park)
11 am-9:30, 周末與假日: 10:30 am-9:30 pm
Hours: 11 am-9:30, weekends & holidays 10:30 am-9:30 pm
Credit cards accepted. No service charge.