Eatery’s menu items require time and care

A La Carte

December 10, 2018

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Lau Lau and “Local Boy” Beef Stew ($12.25)

The menu at Shiro’s Saimin Haven is packed with traditional diner food and island classics that can be found at many “local-kine” eateries.

But the difference between Shiro’s and its competitors can be tasted in every bite. Each dish on Shiro’s seemingly endless menu is assembled with a half-century’s worth of pride and expertise. The burgas and loco mocos are made with Big Island grass-fed beef, the noodles are crafted on-site, and some of Shiro’s most seemingly simple meals demand hours of preparation.

Shiro’s Wun Tun Min with Garnishes ($6.90 medium, additional $1.40 for vegetables)

Fried Rice Omelette with Pork Adobo ($10.55), available for breakfast, includes a serving of adobo that began as a pork butt roast two days earlier. “We cut it by hand, then marinate it for half a day,” says vice president and catering manager

Bryce Fujimoto, adding that the cooked pork seasons overnight. “Adobo always tastes better the next day.” It’s perfectly paired with an omelet stuffed with Shiro’s own char siu fried rice.

Shiro’s Wun Tun Min with Garnishes ($6.90 medium, additional $1.40 for vegetables), glorious with house-made noodles, is elevated into art with five hand-rolled wun tun whose wrappers are also made onsite. “Our hardworking cooks make 500 wun tun or more every shift,” Fujimoto estimates.

Fried Rice Omelette with Pork Adobo ($10.55)

Legendary among regulars, Lau Lau and “Local Boy” Beef Stew ($12.25) requires three days’ worth of attention. “We cut the laulau meat by hand, salt and cure it, wrap it the next day, and cook it the day after,” says Fujimoto. Available all day, every day, the traditional preparation includes a sliver of butterfish, wetland taro from Wong’s Products, and pork — both butt and belly.

Shiro’s laulau are hugely popular. As soon as one batch is done, a new batch is started. “Sometimes we run out of certain dishes, because we don’t take any shortcuts,” says Fujimoto, who says shifts are being added to keep up with inventory demands.

Aiea, HI 96701

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