With all the talk this morning about diner E’s visit to the Taste of Puerto Rico in Ewa Beach this past weekend, we got da’ “ono’s” for Pastele and Gandule Rice, so we decided to head on over to The Pastele Shop on School Street for lunch.
The Pastele Shop is located in Kalihi at the makai-ewa corner of N. School street and Gulick Avenue, just across the street from Tasty Chop Suey…
This hole-in-the-wall establishment is made up of a service in front with a few items on display in a warmer case on the counter.
Like fried chicken…
Fried Chicken, $1.90 each
Patele Lumpia, $1.35 each
and Panadesa (pastele meat turnover)….
Panadesa, $2.75 each
Of course, the menu board on the wall…
Everything else is made in the kitchen.
There’s also a small dining area at the rear of the establishment…
IIRC, there were 16 total seats. When we arrived around noon’ish, 2 women were seated and enjoying their meal, and a young lady was at the front ordering Bacalao Salad to go.
As is usually the case, we ordered to-go.
Diner A went with plate #5…
He also ordered a Pastele Lumpia…
Pastele Lumpia, $1.35
The Pastele Lumpia has the same seasoned pork filling in the pastele, sans the grated green banana casing a regular lumpia has…
This was very good. The golden crispy lumpia wrapper complimented the spicy, chunky, tender pork filling nicely.
Diner E went with plate #1…
This is the Bacalao Salad included with the plate above, which, as a nice touch, comes in a separate container…
Bacalao (Salted Cod) salad
He also picked up a Panadesa…
Panadesa – Pastele Meat Turnover, $2.75
Here’s how that Panadesa looks inside..
This also has the same spicy pork filling as the Pastele, sans the banana. Only thing is, it that meaty filling didn’t quite match well with the flaky layered Filo dough “shell”. Not nearly as well as the Lumpia wrapper. While it’s still tasty, we all unanimously thought the lumpia version was better.
As for the Chorizo on his plate, Diner E cut me a slice to try, and we both thought it tasted more like a slightly smokey standard all-American hot dog. Or perhaps a Polish Dog. But it pretty much lacked the spices and characteristic flavor of what we’re familiar with, like that good one in the green can. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but just a bit “different”.
And yours truly ordered plate #2…
And here’s the Bacalao Salad that came with my plate…
Notice how much more cod they put on mine. Ha ha, Diner E, wop yo jawz. lol
Actually it ended up being TOO MUCH, as the salted Cod was very salty, which made it a bit overpowering in contrast to the lightness of the lettuce and tomatoes. I should have taken it off and added it gradually to my taste instead of just pouring the dressing and tossing it together as is. As for the dressing, it’s a basic Olive Oil Vinaigrette. This salad is very good and very fresh, but again, slack back a bit on the salted cod next time and it’ll be much better.
And how was the Pastele and Gandule Rice? Excellent, excellent, excellent. The pastele taste just like the one an old friend’s Puerto Rican grandmother used to make. The banana “Masa” mixture had the right consistency, being a little mushy, and a little “tight”, and chunky, spicy pork filling inside just explodes with flavor. It was a little salty, but not too much… just enough to make give the whole thing added kick.
The mild version Diner A and myself had was laced with chopped olives here and there…
You can see a chopped olive towards the right side.
And no, these Pasteles aren’t going to win any food stylist award anytime soon. lol But they sure are contenders for best TASTE award! Really, I’m no Pastele expert, but these are up there with the best in my collective memory
The Gandule Rice also tastes authentic and flavorful, taking on a slightly earthy, nutty flavor from the Achiote Oil. It also had just the right texture and moisture level; not too soggy, not too dry, but jusssss’ right. The only thing it didn’t have were little chunks of pork in it, which is what I put in mine when making Gandule Rice at home. Thankfully, it still had a meaty flavor, which probably came from the stock they used to cook the rice. They do have Gandule rice with meat in it, but only on the ala Carte menu. I suppose you can request it on the combo plate, but it really doesn’t need it, as the Pastele already has pork.
The portions of everything we ordered were quite generous. The Pastele is very big, as you can see in how it takes up an easy 1/3 (actually almost 1/2!) area of that standard-sized clamshell take-out “plate”. Just that and the Gandule Rice served with it should make most adults full, as it did for Diner A. I couldn’t even finish my plate in one sitting, having to wait for that “second wind”. The Bacalao Salad is also generously portioned, packed kinda’ tight in that separate foam container, having enough lettuce, tomato and cod to make just that practically a meal in itself.
Diner A gave his Plate #5 and Pastele Lumpia a solid 4 SPAM Musubi rating. Diner E gave his order a solid 3. I contemplated reducing my rating to 3 due to the over-salty Cod in the salad, but the Pastele and Gandule Rice is so darned good, I have to go with 4 for my plate #2. With that, majority rules, giving The Pastele Shop 4 SPAM Musubi.
The Pastele Shop is highly recommended.
The Pastele Shop
2101 N. School St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
Hours: Sunday & Monday 10am to 5pm
Tuesday ~ Saturday 10am to 6pm
Download the take-out menu here (120KB PDF document)
The Tasty Island Rating:
(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)