“Aloha” has two meanings: “hello” and “goodbye.” I think it might also mean “a big dinner” because that's what you get at Mo’ Bettahs, 2081 24th Ave NW, in Norman.
Other than a few cans of SPAM and pineapple on my pizza, I have not experienced a lot of Hawaiian food in my life, so I hoped that Mo’ Bettahs would put me on the golden path to sunny pleasures.
I stopped by the Utah-based chain concept last Thursday afternoon after a trying doctor's appointment left me famished. Tucked away in a shopping center, Mo’ Bettahs feels like a chain and looks like a chain, but with a stereotypical state-side Hawaiian charm. As I stood in line contemplating my order, crashing waves and gnarly surfers and other tiki-idols adorned the walls, and the sweet aroma of saucy pork had me screaming hang-ten.
For my meal, I staked out the biggest wave on the menu – the Ekolu ($17.99).
Meaning "Da Big Boy,” it is very much a grand platter, weighing about two or three pounds according to my scientific estimates. Containing three scoops of white rice, two spoonfuls of potato salad, and a shard or two of lettuce, it had three key components: Kalua Pig, Teriyaki Steak, and Shrimp Tempura, all available in distinct portions.
The Kalua Pig was my first spoonful, and probably the best. Singing “Love Me Tender” like Elvis on the Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite special, this is a luxurious and arousing piece of pork for all the world to see. Slow roasted with love and fire, the meat was extremely tender and extra-mouth-watering, taking me on a slow boat to the island.
Next up was the Teriyaki Steak, which has been known among beef enthusiasts since the beginning of time. While not exactly the tenderest meat, the sliding drops of Teriyaki drizzling down the steak was the bomb, exploding in my heart like a thousand rainbows.
Lastly, I went for the Shrimp Tempura. A little on the chintzy side, still, it was better than most places because the golden batter was simply remarkable, with a crispy crunch that made me sing "let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how, come and take the shrimpers with me."
Once I went through my meal, I was wiped out. With the last sip of my P.O.G. Juice ($2.59)—passion fruit, orange, and guava, respectfully—I grabbed my leftovers and began my way home, feeling like a roasted pig in the sun.