24 thoughts on “Zippy’s THE Local Restaurant

    • Is there anyone from Hawai’i that doesn’t like Zippy’s–because of the food? I can understand if people don’t like it because it’s too expensive, given the portions, particularly for big eaters, but that’s a different issue.
    • I can also understand if people don’t think the food is exceptional–it’s not. It is also not a place I would recommend to foodie friends visiting Hawai’i–not unless they’re curious about what locals like to eat. Having said that, in terms of diner food, especially diner food that represents Hawai’i, one could argue that the food is great–again, representing this type of food. Indeed, they may have the quintessential local bento and won ton min.
    • What restaurants are superior to Zippy’s, in terms of local diner food? Off the top of my head, I think you could argue Big City Diner has superior food, in terms of quality. I think they definitely have better salads. Another restaurant that comes to mind is Tiano’s, which I dub as the Filipino Zippy’s. They’re basically Filipino version of Zippy’s, and while I haven’t tried a lot on the menu, their food seems solid. What other diners would be comparable or superior?
    • Besides salads, what are the weaker or bad dishes at Zippy’s? Besides the naples and maybe the flaky doughnuts, I think most of their pastries and cakes are mediocre–on par with similar products from the Safeway bakery.
    • I should correct something above. Zippy’s is not just a local diner, but a Japanese-American diner. This came to mind when I mentioned Tiano’s. Zippy’s really doesn’t have any Filipino dishes. (Surely, they could make a version of an abodo omelet.) They actually don’t really any Chinese or Korean dishes as well. In this way, maybe they’re not the ultimate local diner. Could it be that they don’t want to compete and possibly hurt other restaurants?
    • I can’t imagine Hawai’i without Zippy’s. What are some other businesses that evokes the same feeling? What about Rainbows? I don’t think I’d feel the same.
    • The quality of the food is not the only think that makes Zippy’s stand out above the other local diners. They also have a few dishes that seem to resonate a lot with locals–e.g., the chili, fried chicken, naples, etc. The quality of Big City’s food may be better, overall, but I don’t think they have a dish that is as popular as those Zippy’s items. Rainbows has their boneless chicken and chilli, but their quality is not as good. The provide a better value, though.
  1. I don’t think my father’s ever eaten at a Zippy’s.

    I would recommend it to foodie friends, if they’re not snobs. Foodies are interested in a range of dining experiences, and there are things you get at Zippy’s you don’t get other places in the world. The point you and the video make about it being the place to eat what locals eat? That’s a foodie experience.

    I would have nominated Kakaako Kitchen as superior to Zippy’s if it were still here. This makes me think there must be a food truck or some other spot that would contend. What about Kahai Street Kitchen?

    I agree about the bakery, although some of the pies are better than supermarket offerings. And malasadas are made to order at the Makiki restaurant. I think andagi too. I’ve never done it, even though my office is 200 yards away. There aren’t many places where a pastry is made to order.

    Zippy’s has some local Filipino and Korean dishes, or at least local versions of them. Chicken and pork adobo are in the specials rotation. Korean chicken is on the regular menu.

    Rainbow doesn’t qualify for the “can’t imagine Hawaii without it” because until recently there was only one location, and it was way far out of the way for most Oahu residents. That by itself doesn’t disqualify it (because what about Matsumoto’s?) but for most of us Rainbow was never a destination spot. I would put City Mill, Consolidated Theaters, and maybe Taro Brand, although with actual retail products, there are a lot of iconic brands that go away and we survive just fine without them. Also: I know a lot of people on Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Maui who can very easily imagine Hawaii without Zippy’s.

    Eater did a pretty good job with that feature. If I were Zippy’s I’d pay the airlines to show the video on inbound flights right before landing. I have thought very often that it’s silly Zippy’s doesn’t have a location right next to the airport. I have met local friends on their way through Oahu at the Nimitz Zippys for a quick nostalgic meal and catching up between flights. It’s crazy that Nimitz is the nearest location.

    I found it interesting that the video narrator calls the menu “massive.” I never thought of it as exceptionally large, but I suppose it is. Huh. Everything’s so familiar and I guess I get the same small handful of dishes there, so I never thought of it as large. Not like Cheesecake Factory where I can never decide what I want.

  2. I don’t think my father’s ever eaten at a Zippy’s.

    This is a little surprising, but I guess this makes sense if a) your family didn’t go out to eat a lot and b) when they did, you all chose Japanese food or some better place to eat. Did your family go to fast food places to eat as a family? I’m guessing this means you never at there with your mom and sister.

    The point you and the video make about it being the place to eat what locals eat? That’s a foodie experience.

    I think foodies interpret “what locals eat” as an indication that the food is really good. But locals frequent places not necessarily because the food is exceptional or unique. Dick’s is a popular burger place in Seattle, but I wouldn’t really recommend that place to visitors–unless they wanted a cheap burger or they were curious about what locals eat, even if the food wasn’t really remarkable.

    Now, I think if I went to another country, I’d be more curious to eat at a popular place–even if the food wasn’t exceptional. (I would guess the place would have unfamiliar food, though.)

    And malasadas are made to order at the Makiki restaurant. I think andagi too.

    You point out something important: whether the item is made there at the premises or made somewhere else. Maybe the napples are prepared at the main kitchen, but they bake them there. I’m not sure about the flaky doughnuts. I suspect if they pastries, cakes, etc. are not as good because they’re massed produced.

    Chicken and pork adobo are in the specials rotation.

    Oh that’s good to hear, although the Korean fried chicken seems borderline.

    That by itself doesn’t disqualify it (because what about Matsumoto’s?) but for most of us Rainbow was never a destination spot.

    Basically, their loyal customers would be a niche compared to the loyal customers for Zippy’s. To me, Rainbows seems closer to something like KC Drive-In. The former may be more popular, perhaps, and while I think a relatively large group of locals would be really bummed if they went out of business, it would pale in comparison to if Zippy’s disappeared.

    I would have nominated Kakaako Kitchen as superior to Zippy’s if it were still here. This makes me think there must be a food truck or some other spot that would contend. What about Kahai Street Kitchen?

    Both are more like plate lunch places, don’t you think? OK, let’s just count them for the sake of argument. While Kaka’ako Kitchen may be better quality, at least for some dishes, I’m hesitant to say that about the entire menu. Let me put this way: if I had I choice between the three, I wouldn’t gravitate towards KK or KSK because I felt the quality of the food was better. It would be more about what I was in the mood for, I think.

    I would put City Mill, Consolidated Theaters, and maybe Taro Brand, although with actual retail products, there are a lot of iconic brands that go away and we survive just fine without them.

    Interesting picks. Putting aside Taro Brand, I would miss the Consolidated Theatres the most–mostly because I’m movie fan that spend so much time in those theaters. Losing theaters like the Waikiki theaters and Cinerama were a big deal to me.

    Also: I know a lot of people on Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Maui who can very easily imagine Hawaii without Zippy’s.

    I’m guilty of neglecting the neighbor island perspective. But for those who like eating at Zippy’s when they come to O’ahu, I wonder if they would feel this way.

    It’s crazy that Nimitz is the nearest location.

    But most locals don’t live close to the airport. The people in Salt Lake and Moanalua might be the only ones that won’t pass by a Zippy’s when going back home from the airport. (There isn’t a Zippy’s in Salt Lake.)

    Not like Cheesecake Factory where I can never decide what I want.

    I thought of Cheesecake Factory when you mentioned this. Zippy’s menu is fairly large, but not compared to CF–and it’s not just because the menu is less familiar. Zippy’s menu is probably not as massive as other diners, too.

  3. This is a little surprising, but I guess this makes sense if a) your family didn’t go out to eat a lot

    When my dad was home, we almost never ate out, although in retirement he and my mom have dined out a lot more. When my dad was on a trip or out to sea, we ate out a lot.

    and b) when they did, you all chose Japanese food or some better place to eat. Did your family go to fast food places to eat as a family? I’m guessing this means you never at there with your mom and sister.

    We almost never got fast food when my dad was home. He can’t even remember the last time he ate at any of the fast food places. My mom and sister and I got takeout from Zippy’s once in a while but we never dined in together. I grew up in Waipahu. The Zippy’s there isn’t very inviting, or at least it wasn’t when I lived there.

    We dined out at Futaba, a little Japanese restaurant across the street from Arakawa’s, in the little strip that had Waipahu Bike, Big Way, and that mediocre coffee shop that was still there the last time I looked. They knew us there.

    I think you and I have different definitions of foodie. I don’t think being a foodie is just about eating good food; I think it’s about a pursuit of lots of different eating experiences. And when they travel, I think a lot of them look for authenticity, not necessarily excellence. I would recommend my foodie friends try Zippy’s, absolutely. On Maui they might have Haliimaile General Store on their must-try list, but I would also encourage them to try Sam Sato’s, popular with locals and visitors. I don’t think Sam Sato’s is that good, but I totally get the attraction.

    Both are more like plate lunch places, don’t you think? OK, let’s just count them for the sake of argument. While Kaka’ako Kitchen may be better quality, at least for some dishes, I’m hesitant to say that about the entire menu. Let me put this way: if I had I choice between the three, I wouldn’t gravitate towards KK or KSK because I felt the quality of the food was better. It would be more about what I was in the mood for, I think.

    See, here is where the foundations of our dining experiences are so different. I don’t think of Zippy’s as a diner, but of course it is. I think of it as a takeout place, even though I much prefer dining in the restaurant. In my post-college life, I’ve eaten far more in the takout area, mostly because of where I live. The Kalihi Zippy’s doesn’t have a restaurant, and I’ve eaten there far more often than any of the other locations, because when I was a bus-rider, that’s the area where I transferred buses. The bus that goes up my hill comes once every 75 minutes or so. When I was working on my master’s degree, I needed a place with good lighting, a decent bathroom (this eliminates the Kalihi Zippy’s), and no pressure to clear out, so I ate a lot of 2:00 a.m. meals at Nimitz in the takeout area. And now, although I would rather dine in at Makiki Zippy’s, which is a five-minute walk from my office, I seldom feel I have the time (although I don’t see why not; I dined in at Likelike occasionally). Shoot, even when I lived in Royal Summit, the nearest Zippy’s was that crappy one in Waimalu — not Waiau or Pearlridge, which were both close enough if you had wheels. And that Waimalu spot was even grosser than the Kalihi one (the Kalihi one’s not gross anymore; just the restroom, which is just an enormous F YOU to its customers, among which I no longer count myself).

    Man, remember that Zippy’s on Waialae near the park? That one was pretty disgusting too. I wonder if it still is.

    So yeah, Zippy’s is more of a diner than a takeout spot. Which leads one to consider what’s still around, diner-wise.

    Liliha Bakery. Jane’s Fountain. Kapiolani Coffee Shop. Flamingo. Denny’s? Kam Bowl Restaurant. Anna Miller’s. Forty-Niner. Button-Up Cafe? Pancakes and Waffles? Koa Pancake House? Big City Diner. The Alley. Times Coffee Shop.

    I don’t know. There seems to be a difference between a breakfast spot and a diner.

    Is there a difference between a coffee shop and a diner?

    Most locals don’t live near the airpirt, but that doesn’t keep certain spots there from thriving, because a lot of them work in the area. Plus, I’m talking about (for example) my Big Island friends on their way home to the West Coast after visiting family, with a 2-hour layover at HNL. I think a Zippy’s in the IHOP spot (oh, another one) would have kicked butt.

  4. FWIW, I would rank it Zippys, Kakaako Kitchen, and then Big City Diner just based on taste. I haven’t gotten the salads much at Big City, but most of what I get there is just average at best. Almost everything I get at Zippys is good to very good. I especially like their gravies – hamburger steak, pork cutlet, etc. It doesn’t taste like it came out of a package. I think their chili is very good as well as their fried or broasted chicken. I don’t go to Zippys a whole lot, but I would definitely miss it if it was gone. I do miss KK, but probably cause it’s close to home.

    1. As much as I enjoy Zippy’s, the only reason I ever have difficulty deciding what I want is nothing really gets me amped. Is it familiarity and boredom, or do I just not think anything’s SUPER good?

      With Big City Diner and Kakaako Kitchen, I often have (or had) difficulty ordering because so many things are good. So I would rank them (on food alone) Kakaako Kitchen, BCD, and Zippy’s.

      BCD’s loco is one of the best on the island.

      1. I can see what you saying because chili, fried chicken, and gravy is not something that would get me amped too.

        I have Big City’s hamburger steak/loco moco and yes it was good. The gravy is not as good as Zippys, but the patty was better. However, I also had a hamburger steak at Big City that was super dry and hard. And that’s another thing, Big City’s food can be inconsistent, whereas Zippys is more consistent.

        What about KK’s loco moco? I know it was on Frolic’s list before. I thought it was really good, but the hamburger had a lot of filler (ie: bread). I don’t mind that actually, but I think others may not like it.

    2. Don,

      What do you get at Big City? I actually haven’t tried a lot of their entres, as I mostly eat their burgers or salads. I think both are significantly better than Zippy’s. My overall sense is that their entres are of a better quality, maybe better value, too.

      Mitchell,

      What are some of the good entres at KK? I never really did explore their menu. But I must say that I recall not feeling really enticed by a wide range of their entres.

      1. At BCD, I’ve gotten like a mix with kalbi and chicken? Kalbi pieces were not good quality and the chicken was dry. I got the meatloaf which is solid. I forget what else. In terms of value though, I think it’s close between BCD and Zippys. Zippys give less although depending on what you order. But Zippys can be pretty significantly less in price too. I would say Zippys is in the 10-13 range for most stuffs. BCD is in the 15-19 range. I used to think Zippys was expensive because you could get two to two and half meals at McDonalds compared to Zippys. But McDonald’s prices have risen quite a bit and Zippys not so much. I think it’s closer to one and half meals at McDonald’s to one at Zippys, now.

      2. I would say Zippys is in the 10-13 range for most stuffs. BCD is in the 15-19 range.

        Would this apply to similar entres, though? For example, if you got steak or some fish dish from both places, would the prices be comparable or significantly different? I can’t remember Zippy’s dinner entres right now.

        What Zippy’s item has good quantity? The large won ton min, maybe?

        1. Yeah I don’t go to either to know for sure. But I sort of picked the middle of the road entrees in terms of price. I wouldn’t doubt if the steak at BCD is in the 20’s.

          The chicken katsu at Zippys is kind of a lot. So is the chili, chicken combo plate. I think you get two chickens right? Maybe not… As I said, I don’t go all that often.

  5. Mitchell,

    When my dad was home, we almost never ate out,…

    OK, I think that explains a lot. Zippy’s is a good go-to for casual family dining, as long as you’re OK with their price-portions. If you want similar type of food, options, and quality, you’ll probably have to pay as much, if not more. Additionally, Zippy’s is accessible, in terms of proximity, more than other comparable places.

    (I’m asking myself this question, and when I was younger, we never went to Zippy’s although, I don’t recall Zippy’s having a lot indoor restaurants in the 70s—it was more takeout, if I recall. Some common places for my family: Wisteria, Columbia Inn, Flamingo’s Chuck Wagon, Farrell’s, and various Chinese restaurants.)

    I grew up in Waipahu. The Zippy’s there isn’t very inviting, or at least it wasn’t when I lived there.

    It’s nice now or far from bad. They have a quasi-indoor space that is solid.

    We dined out at Futaba, a little Japanese restaurant across the street from Arakawa’s, in the little strip that had Waipahu Bike, Big Way, and that mediocre coffee shop that was still there the last time I looked. They knew us there.

    Rocky’s? I like the interior. I would consider them a diner (although they’re not open at night), and the food is mediocre. But I think a lot of local style diners are similar in quality.

    I think you and I have different definitions of foodie. I don’t think being a foodie is just about eating good food; I think it’s about a pursuit of lots of different eating experiences. And when they travel, I think a lot of them look for authenticity, not necessarily excellence.

    I tend to think the primary criterion for all foodies is tastiness of the food. However, I can see foodies having an interest in foods that are unique to a region and foodies wanting to try authentic cooking. In those situations, tastiness may be less important. I don’t Zippy’s really fits those other criteria. They have their own take on chili and fried chicken (I guess), but is it unique? Authenticity doesn’t really seem like a factor here. Another criterion is eating what locals eat, but generally I tend to think this criterion is important because it signifies quality—i.e., a popular place for locals must serve exceptional food. But that’s not always true, as you know.

    On Maui they might have Haliimaile General Store on their must-try list, but I would also encourage them

    to try Sam Sato’s, popular with locals and visitors. I don’t think Sam Sato’s is that good, but I totally get the attraction.

    Would you recommend the place primarily because it is popular with the locals? Or something else? This kind of makes me think of Matsumoto’s. I would not recommend this place to visitors. I think there are better places. If there are better saimin places on Maui, I would recommend another place. Or does Sam Sato’s have entres you can’t get anywhere else? That might be a reason to recommend it.

    Shoot, even when I lived in Royal Summit, the nearest Zippy’s was that crappy one in Waimalu — not Waiau or Pearlridge, which were both close enough if you had wheels. And that Waimalu spot was even grosser than the Kalihi one (the Kalihi one’s not gross anymore; just the restroom, which is just an enormous F YOU to its customers, among which I no longer count myself.

    Man, remember that Zippy’s on Waialae near the park? That one was pretty disgusting too. I wonder if it still is.

    This raises the question: Which Zippy’s is the worst to eat at? I agree about Waimalu, and I’d choose that one, off the top of my head. I don’t know if it’s gross so much as creepy—the back seating area is secluded and the apartments around the area are kinda sketchy. I haven’t been then in a long time, though. The Kapahulu and Kaimuki Zips are unappealing because they have outdoor seating, but the Kapahulu one is not gross. (Their bathroom was one of my emergency bathrooms in the area.)

    I used to go to the Kalihi Zippy’s in the late 2000s. I didn’t think it was bad then.

    Which is the nicest Zippy’s to eat at? I have found memories of Makiki Zips, but I don’t really go there now. The Pearl City Zips is solid. (They have interesting architecture, too—maybe the most interesting of all the Zippy’s.) Which Zippy’s has the fake books (pieces of wood posing as book spines) in bookshelves? I wanted to say it’s Waipahu, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. I know people liked eating at McCully Zips in high school, but the dining area is kinda meh.

    Is there any Zippy’s on the North Shore? If not, I think I’ve eaten at every Zippy’s on the island…Oh, wait, I’ve never eaten at the Kailua and Wahiawa Zips.

    So yeah, Zippy’s is more of a diner than a takeout spot. Which leads one to consider what’s still around, diner-wise.

    Liliha Bakery. Jane’s Fountain. Kapiolani Coffee Shop. Flamingo. Denny’s? Kam Bowl Restaurant. Anna Miller’s. Forty-Niner. Button-Up Cafe? Pancakes and Waffles? Koa Pancake House? Big City Diner. The Alley. Times Coffee Shop.

    Is New Eagle Café still open? If so, I’d include them. Also, Hannara in Wai’anae; Sunnyside, on the North Shore (?); Dot’s in Wahiawa, maybe. Is Shiro’s still open? Also, Tanaka Saimin? I don’t know if either place serves breakfast all day, though. What about that place on Hotel Street? Murphy’s Bar and Grill is sort of diner-ish, too. (I haven’t eaten a lot on their menu, but I liked what I ate there. I kinda like the vibe there, too.)

    The Alley is a great choice. That’s another place that one could argue is better than Zippy’s, in terms of quality. (The menus can be quite different, though.) But they’re not cheap, either. (For those who complain about Zippy’s cost, I wonder where they prefer. If they go to place that’s cheaper or gives more food, I don’t think the quality will be as good.)

    What are some good diners that are no longer with us?

    I liked KC Drive-In, which I would count because they had a sit down restaurant (although I’m not sure if they served breakfast all day). Did anyone ever eat at Kelly’s (Coffee Shop?) on Nimitz? I think I may have eaten there once, but maybe not. The food at Flamingos may not have been great, but they had some Japanese items that I kinda liked. I used to like their all-you-can-eat pancakes, too. Mitchell, you remember Magic Chef. I thought that place as one of the only alternatives to Zippy’s (not just for the food, but they were 24 hours). Oh, I really miss Bob’s Big Boy in Mapunapuna. After Yum-Yum Tree died, they had the next best pecan pie. Would you guys consider Yum Yum Tree a diner? I kinda wouldn’t. Same with Columbia Inn. Oh, what was the diner on King Street, next to Jimbo? Was it King’s Koa House? (That sounds wrong.) I remember going there with you guys when Mitchell and I lived in Pauoa.

    Here’s another question: Which diner has the best fries? In general, I think the fries for most of these places are mediocre. Or am I missing ones that are outstanding? There should be a diner with killer fries. Zippy’s should experiment and try to shoot for that.

    I don’t know. There seems to be a difference between a breakfast spot and a diner. Is there a difference between a coffee shop and a diner?

    I think there’s a difference between a breakfast spot and a diner, but not a coffee shop and a diner (assuming by “coffee shop” you don’t mean something like a café a la Starbucks. I admit I sometimes use “coffee shop” to refer to a cafe). I don’t know if there is a precise definition, but these are some important criteria, and if a restaurant meets all them it’s almost certainly a diner:

    • serves breakfast
    • serves breakfast all day
    • serves burgers, fries, sandwiches (e.g., clubhouse, etc.)
    • serves American comfort food for entres—may add some ethnic comfort foods
    • serves American style desserts—pies, cakes, shakes, sundaes, etc.
    • indoor seating—particularly booth seating and/or counter seating with the swivel chairs
    • open late night or 24 hours

    Local drive-ins seem close to being take-out diners—although most are characterized by plate lunches, which seems like a slightly different animal from diner food, although it’s similar. For one thing, plate lunches are primarily lunches—take-out lunches. Maybe they originated more from lunch wagons. I would guess that brick-and-mortar plate lunch places started as a lunch wagon. At some point, they may have become so popular that they expanded beyond a lunch item. I’m guessing Zippy’s and later Grace’s and then L&L contributed significantly to this evolution.

  6. I’ve lived in and around Richmond, Virginia for the better part of 25 years, and before reading this Zippy’s post, I’ve thought of Zippy’s just once. I was driving to school, and I passed a burger place named, Zippy’s, and it was a dump, at least it looked like it from the outside. I remember it closing down, shortly after. I don’t miss Zippy’s, but when we come back to Hawaii, we always end up at a Zippy’s usually in Pearlridge or Ala Moana, though once, SaraAnne and I met Mitchell at the Kalihi Zippy’s, though I may be mistaken because I thought it was a restaurant, but I might just be getting forgetful in m old age.

    I used to like Zippy’s, I know that much. The first job I had was at Waiau Zippy’s, on the restaurant side, washing dishes. By the way, the chili is not made onsite.

    When I was a kid, I liked the food, but what kid doesn’t like going out to eat. My family never ate on the restaurant side though. It was always drive-in, and it was never a destination spot. Sometimes we’d stop on the way home, usually Waimalu, back to Waianae, or maybe I’m getting Waimalu and Waipahu locations mixed up. Which one is right off Kam highway? Maybe it was Waipahu.

    I remember Zippy’s restaurant being a good date place in younger days, or just a nice place to go and hangout with friends. It wasn’t fancy, but it was nice enough, not too expensive, at least not then, and open late in a time when not as many places was open late.

    I have little appreciation for Zippy’s food anymore, except their oxtail soup, and I never cared for the chili much. For me Zippy’s is more of a nostalgia thing, and not being very nostalgic, I can take it or leave it.

    1. John, I’m just curious–what restaurants or food do you miss or think about? When I lived on the mainland, I don’t recall missing Zippy’s, actually. But I did miss plate lunches, particularly at HKs or Grace’s; I really missed lau lau as well. It’s kinda weird, but if Zippy’s ceased to exist, I thin the hole would be bigger if I lived in Hawai’i, then if I lived somewhere else.

      Which one is right off Kam highway?

      Waipahu Zips is next to Farrington. Waimalu is next to Kam (but so is Pearl City and Waiau).

      1. The only places I really missed were Grace’s and L & L. I was in New York about eight years ago, and there was an L & L. I almost started crying, I was so happy. The food was a little off, not quite how I remembered, but I didn’t care. It was still an overflowing plate of home. When I went back to New York, three years later, L & L was gone.

        There were a lot of foods I missed for a long time. Among them, Lau lau, and tako poke. I’ve since learned to replicate many of these favorites. I make a lau lau baked in the oven, and I actually prefer it over steamed. I’ve introduced many of my friends to Hawaiian/Local cusine, and they all seemed to enjoy it. The only thing I really miss now is Portuguese sausage.

      1. It’s closed, as it the Sears it was attached to. But it was open when JB was a kid. Just suggesting an alternate possibility for his hazy memory.

        1. It must have been the Waimalu one. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a restaurant attached to it, or the other way around.

  7. Burgess said,

    I was in New York about eight years ago, and there was an L & L. I almost started crying, I was so happy.

    I would have felt the same way if I were in a similar situation. When I was in Seattle some Hawai’i ex-pats opened a plate lunch place and I was really happy. The food was just OK, but I was excited.

    I would think lau lau has a decent change of being a crossover food, especially for those who like soul food. It’s seems in a similar ballpark to collard greens for example. And I can’t imagine anyone who likes pulled pork not liking kalua pig.

    (I’m assuming you don’t have access to luau leaf, so what do you use for a substitute?)

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