Serving both Hawaiian and Filipino food, People’s Cafe is a classic restaurant in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii.
They’ve been around for a very long time, over eighty years in fact, and they have maintained their consistency in dishing out comforting food to satisfy their customers.
One thing I was pleased to read from the article in the Star Advertiser is that at People’s Cafe, they make their laulau fresh in house, and extra big too.
I couldn’t wait to go and try their Hawaiian Plate!
As much as I wanted to try their Filipino dishes, I decided to go for the Hawaiian plate.
Hopefully next time I’ll have a chance to eat at People’s Cafe, and I’ll get to eat some Filipino food!
On the menu of the Hawaiian food plates were different combinations of laulau, kalua pig, lomi salmon, pipikaula, and a choice of squid lu’au or chicken long rice.
The only thing I was bummed about was that there wasn’t any poi the day I went. It was a holiday, and I think they had run out by the time I got in – would have been great to eat my meal with poi, but brown rice made a good substitute.
So I ordered the Hawaiian Plate, which was delivered on a tray including laulau, kalua pig, chicken long rice or squid luau (I chose squid luau), lomi salmon, poi or rice (only rice the day I went), and a slice of haupia for dessert.
I also really wanted to try the chicken long rice and the pipi kaula, so luckily I persuaded by wife to order the Laulau Plate, which included a similar mix as the Hawaiian Plate, but with pipi kaula beef short ribs.
My first bite was the laulau, and I think just about all the Hawaiian food plates come with a full piece of laulau.
I thought the laulau at People’s Cafe was fantastic, a wonderful combination of tender pork, a small piece of fish, and wrapped in a good amount of taro leaves, with just the right amount of fat to make it moist, but not overly oily.
Laulau is always one of my favorite Hawaiian dishes, and their version was very tasty.
The laulau definitely lived up to its hype, and was probably one of the best chunks of laulau I’ve had.
Next up, the kalua pig, another well done dish on the menu at People’s Cafe.
The pork was a little on the greasy side, but it was nice and smokey in flavor, and salted to perfection. The kalua pig was nice and tender, and really just melted in my mouth.
Like most of the dishes on the Hawaiian plate, they gave a pretty good sized portion of kalua pig, and along with rice (or poi), it went really well.
Squid luau is another famous Hawaiian food made with pureed baby taro leaves, coconut milk, and slices of squid. It really looks, and has the same texture as Indian palak paneer, green and smooth.
I wasn’t a big fan of the squid luau at People’s Cafe, only because it was too sweet for me – it almost tasted like pudding. I’m personally more of a savory kind of guy. Aside from the sweetness, it could have been really good.
The chicken long rice, made from glass noodles simmered in ginger and chicken soup, was quite tasty. There wasn’t a lot of chicken in the long rice (it was mostly noodles), but it had great chicken flavor.
Next up were the pipi kaula, the dried and fried beef short ribs, a favorite for meat lovers.
The meat is often marinated in soy sauce, Hawaiian salt, ginger, and chilies, then dried by hanging it over the fire or air drying – sort of like that awesome dried meat I had in Nagaland.
After being dried, the pipi kaula is then fried before being served.
It was just a sample that came with the Laulau Plate at People’s Cafe, a couple of bites (I wished there was more), but that being said, the pipi kaula was very tasty.
I would love to have an entire plate of this pipi kaula!
Finally, my aunt and grandmother had the tripe stew as their main dish, which I also managed to grab a couple spoonfuls of.
Loved it as well.
The tripe was cooked so it wasn’t chewy at all, but just tender and smothered in a tangy gravy.
As I mentioned, I haven’t yet tried the Filipino food at People’s Cafe, but I’m sure it’s good. The Hawaiian food plates that we were excellent. The portion sizes were big, and the flavors were satisfying.
People’s Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii
Address: 1310 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Open hours: 10 am – 8 pm from Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm on Sunday
Prices: Most meals cost $10 – $13, and portions are really good size, eat the whole meal and you should be pretty full!