#Kaua’i: Mark’s Place

There’s nothing fancy about Mark’s Place, but the plate lunches are fabulous!

Mark’s Place has been on our dining bucket list for a long, long time. Located in an industrial area just south of Lihue (and not all that easy to find), Mark’s is THE place to go on Kaua’i for authentic and delicious Hawaiian plate lunches. The owner of Mark’s Place is Mark Oyama, a local gourmet chef who owns and operates Contemporary Flavors Catering, specializing in Pacific Rim and cross-current Asian cuisine.

The menu at Mark’s Place – sadly there is no kalua pig or laulau!

Plate lunch is a uniquely Hawaiian creation, an off-shoot of Japanese bentos. Rather than bringing a sandwich to work, plantation workers from Japan, China, Korea, Portugal and the Philippines brought rice and other leftovers to work each day. Their different foods eventually jumped cultures and were shared and eaten by others. Macaroni salad was the bridge that went with almost everything.

Brett and I shared a mixed plate of teri beef and chicken katsu. Under our meat is a large serving of fried noodles.

A plate lunch traditionally consists of a protein, one or two scoops of rice, salad, and sometimes fried noodles. Proteins include favorites like chicken or pork katsu (fried chicken or pork cutlet breaded in panko), teriyaki beef or chicken (‘teri beef’),  Hawaiian favorites kalua pig or laulau (butterfish and chicken or pork steamed in ti leaves) or hamburger steak with gravy. There’ll always be a scoop of macaroni salad, but sometimes plate lunches also have green salad, kimchi or pickled cucumbers.

WenYu had Korean chicken plate lunch, with tasty pieces of fried chicken.

Lunches at Mark’s place start at $10.50, but they are HUGE, way more than enough for one meal. Brett and I shared a combination (‘mixed plate’) teri beef and chicken katsu lunch (granted, I only ate the teriyaki beef) and there was plenty for both of us plus lunch for Brett the next day. WenYu’s Korean chicken lunch gave her big meals for two days.

The “dining room” at Mark’s Place.

Each lunch at Mark’s is cooked to order – there is nothing sitting out under a heat lamp. You might have to wait a bit, but your meal will be hot and fresh. If you’re planning to eat there versus taking your lunch to go, picnic tables with umbrellas are set up outside.

There’s a big collection of maneki neko (‘lucky cats’) inside the store to check out while waiting for your order.

Fresh pastries are also available for sale at Mark’s place (Mark’s wife is a pastry chef), and every day Mark also prepares two ‘upscale’ daily specials. The day we visited a grilled salmon plate was one of the offerings on the specials’ menu. It sounded fabulous, but we were there for the plate lunches!

Mark’s Place is located at 1610 Haleukana Street, in Puhi, 808-245-2522. Mark’s is open most days from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., but can close for catering events, so it’s best to check ahead and make sure they’re open.

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5 thoughts on “#Kaua’i: Mark’s Place

  1. Vivian Gibson says:

    The food looks really good. I’m always interested in good salads. Have you tried the ones there? Are they strictly vegetarian or can you choose the meat to go with them?

    Like

    • Laura says:

      There were salads on the menu, but none left in the chill case, so I’m guessing they’re popular. Don’t know if you can add meat but will ask the next time we go . . . Because we will be going again. The lunches were delicious!

      Like

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