Eat! Lansing

October 23, 2010

PiiLani’s Buffet Express

Filed under: Best of, Hawaiian, Okemos — Jack Lumanog @ 3:40 pm

PiiLani’s Buffet Express
3490 Okemos Rd., Okemos, MI 48864
(517) 347-8828
Monday-Saturday: 7am-3pm
closed Sunday

Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall at Okemos and Jolly Roads in Okemos, you will find a culinary gem in the Greater Lansing area.  PiiLani’s Buffet Express has been serving up traditional Hawaiian cuisine at this location for the last 5 months or so.  My family and I checked it out for lunch today and we can’t wait to go back!

We sampled just about everything that was on the buffet today and it was all incredible.  There were a couple of chicken dishes, a pork stew, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti and Italian sausage, macaroni and cheese and the most amazing pulled pork and homeade barbecue sauce (more on that later).  In addition to the plentiful hot food selection, there was a full salad bar as well.  Each adult is $6.99 for lunch and children 8 and under are half price – a great value considering the high quality food that is offered at PiiLani’s.

To try some traditional Hawaiian flavors, be sure to load up on white rice and cold macaroni salad (mac salad) with the Hawaiian barbecue chicken so tender it falls off the bone.  I went for a few helpings of PiiLani’s pulled pork.  This is worth noting since there really isn’t a traditional barbecue restaurant that I’ve found in the Greater Lansing area.  I lived in the birthplace of barbecue – Kansas City – for 8-1/2 years and I’d like to think I know a bit about this cuisine.  In my book, PiiLani’s pulled pork offered on the buffet can rival some of the world class barbecue restaurants in Kansas City just about any day.

I was delighted to see that they offer Spam musubi made to order at $2.00.  This is a wonderfully traditional and quirky dish of a block of rice, grilled Spam with a nori (seaweed) wrapper to keep it all together.  I will have to save room for this and I’ll try this on my next visit to PiiLani’s!  And, we heard about the delicious breakfast options with the most popular being a breakfast burrito and the traditional Hawaiian moco loco (white rice, hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy).

My family and I really enjoyed our visit to PiiLani’s. The food was delicious, there was something for everyone’s taste and the value cannot be beat for what you get. If you’re not familiar with Hawaiian food, I can think of no friendlier place to try out something new. Even to get you started, there are still American favorites to be found on the buffet and available for order a la carte.

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