Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe

Looking for a delicious Shoyu Chicken recipe? Try Rainbow Drive-In’s famous version! Learn how to make it at home with this easy recipe.

Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken

Rainbow Drive-In is a popular fast food restaurant chain located in Hawaii, known for its diverse menu featuring traditional Hawaiian plate lunches, burgers, and other American fast food items. One of its most popular dishes is the Shoyu Chicken plate.

Shoyu chicken is a Japanese-influenced dish that is commonly found in Hawaiian cuisine. The dish consists of chicken that is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and other spices, and then grilled or broiled until it is tender and juicy.

Rainbow Drive-In’s version of Shoyu Chicken is particularly popular because of its flavorful and savory taste. The chicken is marinated for a long time to allow the flavors to fully infuse into the meat, resulting in a mouth-watering combination of salty, sweet, and umami flavors.

The dish is typically served with rice and macaroni salad, which are also staples of traditional Hawaiian plate lunches. The combination of Shoyu Chicken, rice, and macaroni salad makes for a filling and satisfying meal that is beloved by locals and tourists alike.


Rainbow Drive-In’s Shoyu Chicken is a delicious and popular dish that is a must-try for anyone visiting Hawaii or looking to experience authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

The original recipe for Shoyu Chicken can vary slightly depending on the region or personal preference, but here is a basic recipe that is commonly used:


  • 4 lbs bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water

Method Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and green onions to make the marinade.
  2. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results.
  3. Preheat your grill or broiler to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard any excess marinade.
  4. Grill or broil the chicken until it is cooked through, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C).
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water to make a slurry. In a saucepan, bring the remaining marinade to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Reduce heat and stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy.
  7. Serve the chicken with the sauce and your choice of side dishes, such as rice and macaroni salad.
  8. Enjoy your homemade Shoyu Chicken!

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Recipe Tags: Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken, Rainbow Drive In Shoyu Chicken Recipe, Recipe


  1. Place a serving of hot, cooked rice on a plate.
  2. Add a serving of the Shoyu Chicken on top of the rice.
  3. Spoon some of the thickened sauce over the chicken and rice.
  4. Serve a scoop of macaroni salad on the side.
  5. Garnish with chopped green onions or sesame seeds, if desired.
  6. Alternatively, you can serve the Shoyu Chicken as a main dish with your choice of sides, such as stir-fried vegetables, grilled pineapple, or steamed bok choy. You can also use any leftover chicken in sandwiches or wraps for a quick and easy meal.

Enjoy your homemade Rainbow Drive-In’s Shoyu Chicken!


  1. Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. This will allow the flavors to fully infuse into the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender chicken.
  2. Use bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks for the best results. These cuts of chicken are more flavorful and juicier than boneless chicken breasts, and they hold up better during grilling or broiling.
  3. Reserve some of the marinade to make the sauce. This will help to enhance the flavor of the chicken and provide a delicious sauce for serving.
  4. Use low-sodium soy sauce to control the saltiness of the dish. You can always add more salt later if needed, but it’s hard to remove it once it’s already in the dish.
  5. If using a grill, preheat it to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. If using a broiler, position the oven rack 6 inches from the heat source and line a baking sheet with foil to make cleanup easier.
  6. Baste the chicken with the marinade as it cooks to add extra flavor and moisture to the chicken.
  7. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch to achieve a glossy, restaurant-quality finish. Be sure to whisk the cornstarch with cold water before adding it to the sauce to prevent clumping.
  8. Serve the Shoyu Chicken with rice and macaroni salad for an authentic Hawaiian plate lunch experience.

Rainbow Drive-In’s Shoyu Chicken is typically served as a plate lunch, which is a popular Hawaiian meal that consists of a main dish, rice, and macaroni salad. Here’s how you can serve it:

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Low-sodium soy sauce: Regular soy sauce can be used, but it will make the dish saltier. You can also use tamari or coconut aminos for a gluten-free option.
  • Brown sugar: White sugar, honey, or maple syrup can be used as a substitute. Keep in mind that the sweetness level may vary depending on the substitute used.
  • Grated ginger: Powdered ginger can be used, but fresh ginger has a stronger flavor. If you don’t have fresh or powdered ginger, you can omit it or use another aromatic spice like cinnamon or allspice.
  • Garlic: Garlic powder can be used instead of fresh garlic, but the flavor will not be as strong. You can also use onion powder or minced shallots as a substitute.
  • Green onions: Chopped yellow or white onions can be used as a substitute. You can also use chives or scallions.
  • Cornstarch: Arrowroot powder or potato starch can be used instead of cornstarch for thickening the sauce.

Remember that the taste and texture of the dish may be slightly different if you use substitutes, so it’s best to use the original ingredients whenever possible.


Now that you’ve learned how to make Rainbow Drive-In’s Shoyu Chicken, you can enjoy this iconic Hawaiian dish anytime you like. Whether you serve it as a plate lunch with rice and macaroni salad, or as a main dish with your favorite sides, this flavorful chicken recipe is sure to become a new family favorite. So why not bring a taste of Hawaii into your kitchen and give this recipe a try? We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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