in Waipahu, Oahu
Being born and raised in Waipahu, my family ate here all the time ever since I can remember. It just feels like home everytime I eat here. No wonder I always try to visit here when I fly to Oahu. Unfortunately, they moved to a different location in Waipahu recently, but the food and atmosphere here is still the same and very homestyle.
When I was little, I don’t recall many Filipino restaurants around, but now there are many other Filipino restaurants sprouting up in Waiphu and other places (i.e. Golden Coin). But as far as I’m concerned, Elena’s is the best!
My two favorites here are the Sari-Sari (a tasty vegetable & pork soup) and the Kare-Kare (a peanut buttery oxtail soup).
Here’s the Sari-Sari.
Mixed vegetables, egg plant, squash, ongchoi, and very crispy lechon (pork skin). I love having this for breakfast! The hot soup is very rich with a strong fish and pork flavor, the vegetables are nice and fresh, and the crispy lechon is scrumptious.
Here’s the Kare-Kare.
This is like an oxtail & vegetable stew but with peanut butter. This might sound weird to some at first, but the peanut butter really thickens the stew up and balances out the flavor. The oxtails are fall-off-da-bone soft and the vegetables soak up a lot of flavor. The salty Bagaoong is a perfect compliment to this slightly sweet dish.
Filipinos love pork. Here is pork presented three ways: pork guisantes (pork & peas), pork adobo, and dinuguan (pork blood stew). Elena’s got these traditional dishes down to a science. They all are so tasty and tender. The flavors permeate through all of the pork. My favorite has always been the dinuguan.
I can’t wait to come back to Oahu to eat here again. Hilo just doesn’t have any good Filipino restaurants.