Hapa J’s is an unlikely oasis of good food in chow-poor San Clemente, says Lau. It’s Hawaiian food, some traditional, some fusion-y.
The best thing on the menu is the Spam musubi, a sushilike roll with Spam sautéed in teriyaki sauce and rice seasoned with furikake, an ultrasavory mix of dried fish, sesame seed, and seaweed. Second-best: Portuguese sausage, made for Hapa J’s by a local butcher.
Hapa J’s also has an excellent version of the Hawaiian diner favorite loco moco: grilled hamburger patty and eggs over rice, all smothered in tasty, tasty brown gravy. Kalua pig, another Hawaiian classic, is served in pulled pork quesadillas topped with avocado, sour cream, and chipotle aioli. Perfect beer food, says Lau.
Hapa J’s [Orange County]
2016 S. El Camino Real, San Clemente