It’s 2021, and one of my New Year Resolutions is to try to be more honest. For those who know me, don’t worry — I will try to only use that honesty for good. So, in the spirit of honesty, I have a confession to make: I am highly susceptible to food hankerings. Not your average, “oh, that FB/IG post looks yummy,” but more along the lines of, “I MUST PUT THAT IN MY BELLY NOW.” Sometimes this is challenging, for instance, if the things I see are seasonal Stone Crab claws that come from Florida (although I have been known to overnight those here on a whim, as well). Other times it happens when my friend Anne posts local deliciousness on her Living Hilo Style blog (@livinghilostyle), and then it’s not as difficult.
A while back, Anne started posting photos of different ginger chicken dishes from around Hilo. At first, I just looked, appreciated, and moved on to the next post. After about three posts of different variations of the dish, the seed was planted. I realized I NEEDED to try ginger chicken. But from where? I polled several friends and got several responses, but one that came up multiple times was New Saigon.
I have had the fantastic pho (and spring rolls and summer rolls) from New Saigon a few times, but I had never really looked at their whole menu. Wow! So many great choices (plus their daily specials posted inside the restaurant). I decided to try their version of ginger chicken. I took my order down to Carlsmith Beach Park to enjoy while watching the rains come in.
The New Saigon ginger chicken is served either hot or cold (your choice!), which makes it equally perfect for warm or cool days. I chose hot. The balance of ginger, garlic, and green onions with the bone-in chicken pieces was perfect, and the amount of topping was generous enough that I could put a healthy heap of it on top of each bite. I even mixed some of it into the rice to double up on the flavor. I felt like I boosted my immune system with the amount of ginger and garlic I consumed in one sitting- no risk of vampires OR inflammation for me! I have to say, for my first go at ginger chicken, I think I made the right restaurant choice.