Shiro’s Saimin Haven

Digest Kitchen Insider

December 9, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: Leah Friel

Always wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? Well, much credit goes to the many chefs, owners and managers who work diligently day in and day out to make sure Hawaii’s diners have a top-notch dining experience.

This week, Dining Out gets the inside scoops from Shiro’s Saimin Haven’s head chef Warlie Aguarin, who gives us a little taste of Shiro’s and shares just what fuels his culinary drive.

Name: Warlie Aguarin
Title: Head Chef at Shiro’s Saimin Haven
Training/Education: On the job training at Marujyu Market and Shiro’s Saimin Haven (Shiro Matsuo and Josie Taitaiau)
Years at Restaurant: More than 10 years

Who or what inspires you as a chef/manager/owner? Shiro “Mistah” Saimin. He had humble beginnings, overcame insurmountable odds, but never gave up. “Mistah” had a great work ethic and an even better personality. His words of wisdom and business philosophies are things that I admire.

What’s your most popular dish? One of our most popular dishes is Kalua Pork/Pig. It started off as a Thursday/Friday Special, but we kept running out of it after the first day. Recently we made it a permanent menu option. We feature it in our plate lunches, saimin combinations and catering. Making kalua pork takes the most time and effort to prepare, but customers can tell that we put a lot of TLC in cooking it right.

Is there a dish that you create that’s not on your menu, but available upon request? Kalgarete, a Spanish/Filipino stew with my own twist. It features beef, chicken and pork that’s marinated overnight in a garlic, vinegar, shoyu and spice base. Then, it’s sauteed with garlic, onions, red pepper, liver spread and shoyu. You can choose to have it spicy, mild or non-spicy.

If you could serve food to a celebrity, who would it be and why? What dish would you serve? Chef Morimoto. I see him on TV in Iron Chef competitions and other cooking shows. I admire his skills when working with fish. His knife skills and utilization of every part of the fish is something to be admired. The way he accomplishes each task demonstrates a level of professionalism I would like to reach one day. I would love to serve him local-style poke or our Country Fried Noodles. He is well-versed in seafood and noodle dishes and I would appreciate his feedback.

Shiro’s Saimin Haven

98-020 Kamehameha Hwy., Aiea
Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

Aiea, HI 96701

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best