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JJ Hawaiian BBQ, Clayton CA

When we first met, we lived in Clayton.  Clayton is fairly small, but because it neighbors much larger Concord, there are enough restaurants in range to keep Claytonites sated.  For nostalgia’s sake, we thought we’d return to some of our favorite places from back when our relationship was young.  Similarly, since there is a high school nearby, we’re putting more of a teen-friendly spin on things tonight.

JJ Hawaiian BBQ boasts dishes of true Hawaiian fusion: a little Japanese, a little Chinese, a little Filipino, a little Korean, and a little American.  We picked three entrees tonight to demonstrate the range of comfort food versus bizarre food, at least according to the palates of most adolescents.

chicken combo

chicken combo

The chicken combo comes with hearty portions of barbecue chicken and fried chicken, katsu style.  The barbecue chicken is super moist, and the chicken katsu is equally moist but with that wonderful crispness; plus, the katsu comes with its own special sweet dipping sauce.  Just about all the plates come with two scoops of rice, one scoop of house made macaroni salad, and steamed cabbage.  For having so few, simple ingredients, the macaroni salad is surprisingly flavorful.

spam moco

grilled spam moco

Grilled slices of spam lay across a fried egg, drizzled with brown gravy.  Not everyone likes spam, and some people say they don’t like it without even having tried it; for the curious, this is a great way to taste spam if it’s your first time.

fresh pork lau lau

fresh pork lau lau

For the extremely adventurous, put this on your list.  A hunk of pork is wrapped inside taro leafs with butterfish and pork fat (to keep the meat moist).  It was a little too much for August because, to her, it smelled like a brick of tea she got at Cost Plus in 6th grade for a presentation on the origins of tea.  The taro flavor permeates the meat so you have to like the greenness if you’re going to eat the whole thing.  August ate the great majority of it because she was taught that “you don’t have to like it, you just have to eat it,” but regardless, she’s proud of herself for trying something new.

Students, when you’re craving something filling but made with care and good ingredients, and if you have less than $8 in your wallet, come to JJ Hawaiian BBQ and you will be stuffed.