Going Big on Pupus

Columns Pupu Picks

December 17, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Diners are all about comfort food. Heaping helpings of non-pretentious fare at low prices served by a neighbor has made this simple style of dining a uniquely American experience. This is no different in Hawaii, where Big City Diner has been turning out just these sort of meals for more than 13 years — pupus are no exception.

  • Big City's Chili Nachos ($11.99)
  • Our Famous Soybeans made with Hawaiian Spice Sauce ($7.49)
  • Calamari Tempura Strips ($8.99)
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The menu boasts 15 appetizers that range in size from quick snacks to full meals. One of my personal favorites is the Chili Fries ($6.99). How can you go wrong? Crispy fries topped with cheese and the Muraoka’s family recipe chili. It’s not complicated, it’s just good.

Another simple standard worth trying is Calamari Tempura Strips. Panko-breaded and served with a Garlic-Wasabi Aioli, the fresh calamari is deep-fried tender with just the right amount of seasoning. The aioli provides a creamy, fresh contrast to the strips without overpowering the naturally mild flavor. Nachos are a quick bites staple at any number of dining establishments, but unlike the heavy block of chips and cheese many places pass off as good eats, Big City’s Chili Nachos ($11.99) are different. Made with homemade tortilla chips and chili, and topped with fresh tomato, sweet onion, green onion, roasted corn, sliced olives, Jack and Cheddar cheese, the heaping plate is surprisingly light and refreshing. Add in the fresh salsa and cilantro buttermilk dip, and you’ve got a meal that won’t leave you feeling heavy. Trust me, I devoured nearly the entire thing solo.

Perhaps most surprising is the Edamame ($7.49). While the standard boiled and salted soybeans are tasty and fun to eat, Big City kicks it up a notch with the addition of a Hawaiian Spice Poke Sauce. The difference is amazing. The sauce adds a tanginess to the beans that you don’t usually find. Yes, the sauce does mean slightly messier fingers, but that’s just more flavor to savor. If that’s not enough, Ray Chan’s Island Style Poke ($8.99), the Wings ($8.99) and the Pupus New York Steak ($9.99) are more than enough to keep everyone in the family happy.

Big City Diner

  • Where
    • Kaimuki
    • 3565 Waialae Avenue
    •  
    • Kailua
    • 108 Hekili Street
    •  
    • Ward
    • 1060 Auahi Street
    •  
    • Waipio
    • 94-800 Ukee Street
    •  
    • Pearlridge
    • 98-211 Pali Momi Street
  • Call
    • (808) 738-8845 (Kaimuki)
    • (808) 263-8880 (Kailua)
    • (808) 591-8891 (Ward)
    • (808) 678-8868 (Waipio)
    • (808) 487-8188 (Pearlridge)
  • Hours
    • 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Sunday – Thursday
    • 7 a.m. – midnight
    • Friday – Saturday
  • Website