The Best Damn Fried Chicken Wings I’ve Ever Had

I recently returned to Hawaii for a little much needed R&R and my schedule included a few very important tasks on the itinerary:

1) Swim in the ocean

3) Drink a stiff Mai Tai poolside

4)  Scout a few wedding locations (yes, I’m planning a wedding!) and

5) Go eat at Migrant Maui!

A few days into our trip, I got to do just that.

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Backstage Sheldon Simeon’s kitchen at Migrant

About an hour drive from Lahaina is the Wailea Mariott where Mirgrant is located. The food there is described as “modern local cuisine” which as I noticed, also had an emphasis on Filipino, Hawaiian, Japanese and even Chinese inspired plates. Chef Sheldon Simeon (whom you may recognize from Top Chef season 10) deliciously weaves his professional culinary training with influences from his upbringing to create uniquely flavored comfort dishes. A local Hilo boy, he is the kind of guy who will invite you to his house and cook for you — hence the restaurant’s tag line, “Come my house, eat!”

There were so many things I loved about our meal —  one favorite, an impossibly tender and juicy Hibachi Hanger Steak with so many simple yet complex flavors, a “KFC” Korean Fried Chicken Wings that seemed happily reminiscent to something LA’s own, Roy Choi might cook up. I also loved the familiar Filipino dishes like the Canton style Pancit Noodles and Filipino Sweet Pork Tocino. Finally, wrapping up an already superb meal, out comes a decadent Chocolate Cheesecake and a ice cream-cake-like chocolate desert inspired by Sheldon’s youth, an Ovaltine Chocolate Cake. SO. GOOD.

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Hibachi Hanger Steak (Canton style from Oahu Noodle Factory, Roasted Pork Belly, Black Tiger Shrimp, Vegetable Medley, Achuete Powder, Garlic Chives)

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Although, Migrant isn’t a “fried chicken”… I must say, these were probably some of the best damn fried chicken wings I’ve ever had. KFC Korean Fried Chicken Wings (Migrant Spice Rubbed, Vietnamese Nouc Cham, Quick Pickled Shallots, Upland Cress)

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Pancit Noodles (808 Vodka Battered, Sauce Kare Kare, Roasted Kim Chee Peanuts, Asian Herbs)

Cut to the end of our evening: I had food all over my face and was still savoring precious last bites when chef Simeon came out to see us. I put the chicken wing down (momentarily) just so I could tell him how much we enjoyed our meal.

Sheldon is a family man and it shows. He took time to introduce us to members of his staff and share their personal stories. Simeon’s servers and sous chefs seem to equally share his passion and enthusiasm for hospitality and I truly can’t wait to return.

[Special shout out to Sheldon, Rubin, Tom and Chris! Thanks for making our dining experience so memorable!]

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Super decadant Chocolate Cheesecake!

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Amazing Ovaltine Chocolate Cake! (Sweetened Condensed Milk Whipped Cream, Malt Crumbles, Chocolate Sauce)

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Click here to watch my interview with Sheldon Simeon at last year’s Hawaii Food and Wine Festival!

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