Elena’s Filipino Restaurant

in Waipahu, Oahu

Elena’s Front

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. :D Unfortunately, they moved to a different location in Waipahu recently, but the food and atmosphere here is still the same and very homestyle.

A family enjoying breakfast Ordering

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.

Sari-Sari Sari-Sari close-up

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.

Kare Kare Bagaoong

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.

Pork, three ways!

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. :(

7 Responses to “Elena’s Filipino Restaurant”

  1. Fran Says:

    Hi James, you should also try Thelma’s (also in Waipahu) and Julie’z in Kapolei when you get back here. The lechon kawali at Julie’z is really good, especially with the vinegar they provide poured over it. My husband and I will have to give Elena’s another try. We prefer the other two restaurants, but your pictures and description make me think we just didn’t try the right stuff.

  2. James Says:


    Thank you for visiting and for the suggestions! I also love Thelmas, and I think they do certain things and foods better than Elenas. But I have to admit this post was quite biased since I have grown with their food for so long.

    I never heard of Julie’z before, so thank you for the suggestion.. I’ll see if I can try it sometime!

  3. Reid Says:

    Hi James,

    Is this the same Elena’s that used to be in Kalihi? If it is, I haven’t been there in ages. I do like sari sari and have eaten kare kare on ocassion, but I have not yet tried dinuguan.

    I do have to agree that Elena’s does serve some tasty food.

  4. James Says:

    Hi Reid, I think there is/was an Elenas in Kalihi. There also used to be one in Pearl Ridge next to the theaters. But I think they both got shut down? :(

    I hope you get to try a good dinuguan one day… it’s great. For some, it’s an aquired taste, but you seem adventerous. :)

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