WhatsApp Image 2022 10 05 at 12.41.46 PM

Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe

Are you craving a burst of flavors that will take your taste buds on a delightful journey? Look no further than the enchanting world of Hawaiian cuisine. Among the many culinary treasures this island paradise has to offer, Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken stands out as a delectable masterpiece that captures the essence of Hawaii’s vibrant culture and diverse flavors. In this article, we’re diving into the exquisite Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken recipe, exploring its history, ingredients, and step-by-step instructions to create this mouthwatering dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Why You Need to Try Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken

Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken is more than just a recipe; it’s a portal to the flavors and traditions of Hawaii. By blending succulent chicken with the umami-rich notes of shoyu (soy sauce), the subtle sweetness of brown sugar, and the tangy kick of vinegar, this dish embodies the heart and soul of Hawaiian cuisine. Whether you’re a culinary explorer seeking new tastes or simply someone looking to add an unforgettable dish to your repertoire, this recipe is a must-try. Plus, by making Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken at home, you’ll not only impress your family and friends, but you’ll also transport yourself to the shores of Hawaii with every savory bite.

The Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken Experience

Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken is not just a dish; it’s a journey into the heart of Hawaiian flavors and culture. In a world where culinary exploration is celebrated, this dish offers a blend of sweet, savory, and tangy notes that encapsulate the essence of Hawaii. The history of this dish dates back to the Rainbow Drive-In restaurant, a beloved establishment that has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1961. Known for its diverse menu and iconic plate lunches, Rainbow Drive-In has become synonymous with authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe
Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe

Gathering Your Ingredients: The Essentials for Success

The foundation of Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken lies in its carefully selected ingredients. Succulent chicken thighs or drumsticks are the canvas upon which the flavors will be painted. Aloha Shoyu, a brand of soy sauce deeply rooted in Hawaiian tradition, infuses the dish with its signature umami-rich profile. The marinade, a harmonious blend of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar, is what elevates this dish to a realm of pure culinary delight. By combining these ingredients, you’ll embark on a culinary journey that captures the spirit of Hawaii with every bite.

Preparing the Marinade: A Symphony of Flavors

The marinade is the heart and soul of Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken. The delicate balance of soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and other complementary ingredients creates a symphony of flavors that dances on your taste buds. Marinating the chicken allows the ingredients to mingle and infuse, resulting in a tender and flavorful dish. To achieve the best results, marinate the chicken for at least four hours, allowing the marinade to work its magic and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Cooking Techniques: From Marination to Perfection

When it comes to cooking Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken, you have the choice of steaming or grilling. Steaming the marinated chicken allows it to retain its moisture and ensures that every bite bursts with flavor. Grilling, on the other hand, adds a delightful smokiness to the dish, complementing the rich notes of the marinade. Whichever method you choose, the goal is the same: achieving tender, flavorful chicken that embodies the essence of shoyu.

Serving Suggestions: A Taste of Hawaii on Your Plate

No plate of Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken is complete without its accompanying side dishes. Steamed white rice serves as the perfect canvas for soaking up the savory marinade, while macaroni salad adds a touch of creaminess to the meal. Presentation plays a vital role in capturing the essence of Hawaii, so arranging the chicken, rice, and salad on a deep serving platter pays homage to the Hawaiian plate lunch tradition.

Recipe Variations: Putting a Personal Spin on Tradition

While Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken is a masterpiece in its own right, there’s always room for personalization. Whether you prefer bone-in or boneless chicken, each choice brings a unique texture and experience to the dish. Exploring variations of the marinade, such as adding red pepper flakes for a subtle heat, allows you to create a dish that aligns perfectly with your palate.

Tips and Tricks for Culinary Success

For those seeking culinary perfection, a few tips can make all the difference. Marinating the chicken for an extended period, ideally overnight, allows the flavors to penetrate deeply. When cooking, the internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Whether you’re using an oven or a grill, ensuring that the chicken is cooked to perfection guarantees a mouthwatering result.

The Rainbow Drive-In Experience: Bringing Hawaii Home

Creating Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken at home is more than just preparing a meal; it’s about channeling the spirit of Hawaii into your kitchen. Recreating the iconic dish allows you to share a taste of the islands with your family and friends. With each bite, you’ll transport yourself to the sunny beaches and vibrant culture of Hawaii, all while savoring a culinary masterpiece that embodies the aloha spirit.

Exploring the Hawaiian Plate Lunch Tradition

The plate lunch is a cornerstone of Hawaiian cuisine and culture, and Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken plays a significant role in this tradition. The plate lunch concept, born from a fusion of cultures, reflects Hawaii’s diverse history and culinary influences. Rainbow Drive-In, with its commitment to serving hearty and flavorful meals, has become an integral part of the plate lunch experience. By indulging in Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken, you’re not just enjoying a meal; you’re partaking in a tradition that has shaped the culinary landscape of Hawaii.

Try Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken Today: A Journey for Your Senses

In a world where flavors and cultures collide, Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken stands as a testament to the power of culinary exploration. By embracing the ingredients, techniques, and history of this iconic dish, you’ll embark on a journey that engages your senses and transports you to the heart of Hawaii. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, the recipe’s simplicity and depth of flavor make it a must-try. So, gather your ingredients, infuse your marinade with love, and let the aroma of Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken fill your home with the magic of the islands.

Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe

Recipe by Heather Smith


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 cup water

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, for thickening)

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 large carrot, julienned

  • 1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed

  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)

  • 2 green onions, chopped (for garnish)

  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)

  • Cooked white rice (for serving)


  •  In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, water, brown sugar, rice vinegar, minced garlic, grated ginger, and sesame oil. This forms the marinade and sauce for your Shoyu Chicken.
  • Place the chicken pieces in a resealable plastic bag or a bowl. Pour about 3/4 of the marinade over the chicken, reserving the rest for later. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (overnight for best results).
  • Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing excess marinade to drip off, and add the chicken to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the skillet and set it aside. In the same skillet, add the sliced bell peppers, julienned carrot, and snap peas. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender yet still crisp.
  • Return the cooked chicken to the skillet with the vegetables. Add the remaining marinade and pineapple chunks. If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix the optional cornstarch with a tablespoon of water to create a slurry and add it to the skillet. Stir everything together and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Once everything is heated through and the flavors have melded together, remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Serve the Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken over a bed of cooked white rice. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds to add a burst of color and a delightful crunch.

Nutritional Content

The nutritional content of Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken can vary based on portion size and specific ingredients used. However, as a general estimate, a serving (approximately 1 cup of cooked chicken and vegetables with rice) may contain:

– Calories: Around 350-400 calories

– Protein: Approximately 25-30g

– Carbohydrates: About 40-45g

– Fat: Around 10-15g

– Fiber: Approximately 3-5g

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on factors like the size of chicken pieces, amount of rice, and variations in ingredient brands.

Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe
Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

1. Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

   Yes, you can use chicken breasts if you prefer. However, chicken thighs are typically more tender and flavorful in this dish.

2. Is there a substitute for brown sugar?

   You can use honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar as alternatives to brown sugar.

3. Can I make this dish less sweet?

   Absolutely, adjust the amount of sugar according to your taste preferences. You can start with a smaller amount and add more if needed.

4. How do I prevent the vegetables from becoming too soft?

   To retain crunchiness, stir-fry the vegetables for a shorter duration, or add them later in the cooking process.

5. Is this dish spicy?

   The base recipe isn’t spicy, but you can add a touch of heat by including red pepper flakes or sriracha when marinating the chicken.

How Can I Incorporate Cambodian Flavors into the Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe?

If you’re looking to infuse Cambodian flavors into your Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken recipe, consider incorporating traditional cambodian chicken recipes. The aromatic blend of spices like lemongrass, galangal, and turmeric can give your dish a unique Cambodian twist. Experiment with flavors by marinating the chicken in a mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar, and serve it with a side of fragrant jasmine rice. Embrace the vibrant and tangy taste of Cambodian cuisine in your Shoyu Chicken recipe today.


In conclusion, Rainbow Drive-In Shoyu Chicken is a delightful fusion of flavors and colors that elevates the beloved classic to new heights. This recipe celebrates the essence of Hawaiian cuisine while inviting you to savor a symphony of tastes and textures on your plate. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or sharing a meal with loved ones, this dish is sure to bring joy to your taste buds and a burst of vibrancy to your table.

Similar Posts