Friday, November 23, 2007
Some of you may know that I used to live in Honolulu. Those were the bright years. Can't believe they were so long ago. During those years living in the islands, I got used to the food, specifically the Plate Lunches. They're impossible to find in Maryland so whenever I head out west, I always make a couple stops for some proper plate lunch.
One of Al and Polly's favorite places is Bruddah's Hawaiian Foods in the heart of Gardena, California. It's by no means fancy and is just barely a notch above "hole in the wall" but it is good and it is plentiful. Loads of pictures adorn the walls but unless you've lived in the islands and know island entertainers, they won't mean much to you. However, if you do know island entertainers then you'll notice that comedian Frank DeLima has been here, along with plenny others (and no, that's not a typo).
For the uninitiated, a Hawaiian-style plate lunch is typically some sort of main item (like a meat or fish) that's accompanied by two scoops of steamed white rice and one scoop of macaroni salad. It's decidedly low brow fare that's meant to fill and nourish and Bruddah's does not disappoint. Al's Kalua Pig plate had choke (the local term for "a lot") kalua (the local term for "smoked pork", sort of) and had just the right amount of saltiness and smokiness, not to mention wonderfully tender.
Polly went for the Braised Short Rib special. Two thick cuts of beef short ribs without the bones. The meat was tender and flavorful and covered with a light gravy. Simple. Tasty.
I chose the Chicken Adobo special and I almost regretted my choice. Not because it wasn't tasty, in fact the adobo flavor was a flawless example of proper Filipino chicken adobo. The proper balance of vinegar and soy sauce accented with bay leaf and black peppercorns. Delicious. The problem was the size: fricken' huge. Four thigh pieces floating in that magic sabaw (Filipino for "sauce") that were succulent and tender, but FOUR. That's enough to feed a small Filipino family but definitely worth the $6.95 price.
My personal preference for plate lunch is to drizzle a little Aloha Shoyu (this is soy sauce made is Hawaii and the only acceptable soy sauce for plate lunches) over the rice and a lot of Tabasco over the macaroni salad and I'm lovin' it. Most macaroni salads use macaroni for the pasta, Bruddah's uses spaghetti noodles that are chopped for the salad. It's different. It's tasty but the different pasta makes it seem, well, different. Not bad, just different. Maybe it's just the nostalgic part of me, but I think I prefer the macaroni pasta for the mac salad.
Either way, the food is good. The food is plentiful. It's a true Hawaiian experience that offers Hawaiian Sun drinks and real Aloha Shoyu. That alone makes it worth the trip.
Bruddah's Hawaiian Foods
1033 West Gardena Boulevard
Gardena, CA 90247