Hawaiian food at People’s Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii

By Mark Wiens 8 Comments
Hawaiian food at People's Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaiian food at People’s Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii

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!

Hawaiian food
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.

Unfortunately no poi the day I went
Unfortunately no poi the day I went

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.

Hawaiian Plate at Peoples Cafe
Hawaiian Plate at Peoples Cafe

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.

Laulau
Laulau

My first bite was the laulau, and I think just about all the Hawaiian food plates come with a full piece of laulau.

People's Cafe
Look at that beautiful meal melting into the taro leaves

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.

Kalua pig
Kalua pig

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.

Kalua pig at People's Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii
Kalua pig at People’s Cafe, Honolulu, Hawaii

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
Squid luau

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.

Chicken long rice
Chicken long rice

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.

Pipi kaula short ribs
Pipi kaula short ribs

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.

Hawaiian short ribs
Hawaiian short ribs

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!

Tripe stew
Tripe stew

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.

People's Cafe
People’s Cafe

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!

How to get there:



8 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Jon Lum

    11 months ago

    I’m local but live on mainland. We get home We stop at People’s. My wife loves the lau lau but I go for the poi Ono

  • Jon Lum

    11 months ago

    I’m local but live on mainland. We get home We stop at People’s. My wife loves the lau lau but I go for the poi Know

  • Spencer @ distantvisionsofcurry.com

    3 years ago

    Right now I am on a tour tasting the flavors of Vietnam, yet this still looks delicious!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Cool to hear that Spencer, hope you’re enjoying it!

  • David

    3 years ago

    I never really realized Hawaii had a cuisine before you started posting on it Mark …. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for plates like this when I get to Hawaii!

    • Mark Wiens

      3 years ago

      Good to hear that David, hope you can find some Hawaiian food soon!

  • Renuka

    3 years ago

    Yummy food. Although the meat looks a bit strange in some pictures, the cuisine looks nice.