Stew That’s Just Right for You
In times when life is like a whirlwind, complete with highs and lows — truth be told, I stress eat — big time! I know, I know, it’s definitely not the best way to cope with life’s stresses and challenges. But hey, I say, “when life throws you carrots, make a savory stew.” OK, I changed the popular saying a bit, but to be honest, I’m not feeling lemonade at the moment … But mention stew, and that, my dear Ono readers, is a different story altogether. A hearty bowl of stew is the epitome of comfort for my taste buds, and I literally can feel the stress melt away with each bite.
So, this week, I decided to make myself comfortable at the following Ono, You Know hot spots and delve into a variety of stews, ranging from your typical local-style stew to traditional Filipino and Korean stew variations. All unique in their own way, one thing’s for certain, each stew was downright ono to the max!
Are you working up an appetite yet? I sure am. So, come along with me, grab your fork and spoon, and let’s see what’s simmering away!
Max’s of Manila
Magic happens at Max’s of Manila, where Filipino fare stands in a league of its own. Best known for its authentic cuisine, Max’s has been catering to patrons for more than six decades. And with more than 100 branches throughout the Philippines, two in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi, two in Canada and branches across the U.S., you can have all of your favorite dishes when traveling nationally and abroad. Here at home, Max’s of Manila is conveniently located on Dillingham Boulevard and in Waipahu.
On a mission for a Filipino meaty stew, Max’s Dillingham was my destination of choice, and I was eager to see what Max’s of Manila would dish up. Enter Dinuguan. If you’re not familiar with authentic Filipino fare, dinuguan may not be the first to come to mind when you think “stew.” While growing up, I referred to dinuguan as “chocolate meat.”
However, before you’re quick to judge — no, chocolate is not an ingredient in this dish. The reality is that Max’s Dinuguan ($8.95) is a savory pork stew simmered in a rich gravy of pork blood, vinegar and spices. Sarap naman (which translates into “delicious” in Tagalog)!
According to Dillingham branch manager Elizabeth Joven, the meat is simmered for an hour before it’s cooked in the stew that’s complemented with salt, pepper and sugar. Dinuguan is topped with a jalapeno, which diners can choose to add in for a kick of heat.
Max’s of Manila
801 Dillingham Blvd. (also located in Waipahu Shopping Plaza)
Next, I made my way to Kalihi to pay a visit to Kenny’s Restaurant. Ono for some local-style beef stew? Of course, this kamaaina favorite eatery knows how it’s done. The chefs have perfected the recipe for Local Boy Stew, which Kenny’s has been faithful to for years. Priced at $13.65, this top-notch stew has “eat me” written all over it. Local Boy Stew starts off with boneless short ribs left to simmer for about two hours until the meat reaches the ultimate tenderness. Then, carrots, onions, potatoes and cabbage are added to a savory beef broth. Made with love, the beef broth is an essential part of the stew. Once the broth has simmered, pressed tomato, hints of garlic, an essence of bay leaf, a dash of Hawaiian salt and other special ingredients are added to the stew, resulting in a burst of home-cooked flavor. And what’s beef stew without the rice? Everyone knows that the best way to eat Local Boy Stew is to douse it over a mound of rice. Mmmm, it’s divine.
And there you go … surprise, surprise, I’ve managed to work up an appetite once again (I never fail in doing so). I hope you’re hungry, too!
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.
I’d pay a million bucks for a beef stew that packs a whole lot of punch and flavor, and lucky for me I found all of this and more at Million Restaurant on Sheridan Street. Now open for lunch and dinner, this popular Korean restaurant has a devout fan base who clamor for a taste of Korean authenticity, ranging from bulgogi (yakiniku style) to kalbi (yakiniku style), among others. A favorite of mine is Kalbi Kimchee Stew. Priced at $12.95, the stew boasts maximum flavor with a hearty base, as it features kimchee and beef broth. The homemade kimchee relies on red chili pepper as its main ingredient, yet the unforgettable taste is attributed to Million’s secret sauce, which is kept entirely under wraps. The hour-long preparation process results in a robust flavor profile. Another highlight of this spicy dish are the tender morsels of kalbi submerged in the stew. The meat practically melts in your mouth. According to restaurant manager Diana Paik, Kalbi Kimchee Stew can be enjoyed family-style, or as an entree for those with a gigantic appetite. A bowl of hot, fluffy rice complements the dish nicely.
626 Sheridan St.