When reader Debbie-chan left a comment mentioning seeing a Kalua Pork Puff at Beard Papa, I just had to settle my curiosity about it. So I stopped by Foodland Ala Moana on my way home from work today and picked one up. I also picked up their new Breakfast Puff to try out. Finally, returning to the tune of sweet, I picked up another new menu item in the form of a Strawberry Shortcake Puff.
The last chain restaurant I recall applying Kalua Pig into new and creative menu ideas was Taco Bell with their Kalua Pork Soft Taco, Kalua Pork Quesadilla and Kalua Pork Stuft Burrito; most of which turned out to be quite good.
Now here we have Beard Papa, attempting to diversify their highly regarded, fresh baked choux pastry, going above and beyond their foundational cream puffs, in an effort to lure those seeking a more hearty meal.
First let’s look at the Breakfast Puff…
Beard Papa’s new Breakfast Puff, $3.50
Beard Papa’s marketing description for it goes like this: “A savory combination of cheese, egg and your choice of bacon or Portuguese sausage in our signature shell.”
Let’s take a peek inside and see what we got…
What they do is take their choux pastry – the same one they use for all the other cream puffs – and cut in half to make a “bun” out of it. The base part of the choux cream is really thin, but thankfully with this one, the egg – which is that thick yellow (looks white due overexposure) part on the second layer – helps keep everything else firmly supported.
On top of the beaten, formed poached egg are several thick pieces of Portuguese sausage, and on that is a slice of melted American Cheese, then capped off by the choux pastry “bun” top. There was also a slight scattering of green onions between the egg and the sausage. If you don’t care for Portuguese Sausage, you can also opt for bacon (or none of the above for that matter).
How was it? Very good. Due to the airiness of the choux pastry, It’s similar to a croissant breakfast sandwich, just not as flaky, but it still has that nice texture contrast, along with that tasty baked outter shell. I couldn’t pinpoint the brand of Portuguese Sausage, but it was on the hot and spicy side. The formed poached egg had a generic, mass-produced shape, but thankfully in taste it was flavorful and fresh tasting, not frozen (although it might have been). At $3.50 each, it’s not the best breakfast sandwich value in town, yet still worth a try. As with all other items at BP, the quality of the choux pastry part of its sum is the selling point.
Next we have the Barbecue Kalua Pork Puff with Pineapple Coleslaw…
Beard Papa’s new Barbecue Kalua Pork Puff with Pineapple Coleslaw, $3.95 each (or $7.50 for two)
Beard Papa’s marketing description for this one goes like this: “Just like the Southern favorite, our version of the barbecue pulled pork sandwich with a Hawaiian twist!”
Let’s take a peek into this one…
This one is made by filling the choux pastry “bun” with a layer of “Kalua” Pork, then topped by a heap of Pineapple Coleslaw.
How was this one? Pretty good. Different for sure. The Pineapple Coleslaw was perhaps the best part about it. Cool, fresh, with plenty of grated carrots and cabbage, accented by a few chunks of pineapple here and there. Very nice.
The kalua pork was moist and smokey, and went really well with the slaw. My only complaint was that the “Kalua” pork had barbecue sauce mixed into it. Wassup wit’ ‘dat? While it wasn’t dominant, it was there, taking the term “Kalua” right out of the pork. They should just be honest and call this a pulled pork sandwich. In essence that’s really what it is. Of course they want to “Hawaiianize” it by adding the Pineapple and using the term “Kalua” for the pork, which is fine with me, but you’ll see when/if you try one what I mean.
As mentioned earlier about the breakfast sandwich, the choux pastry “bun” base is thin, where in this case, the moist Kalua Pork soaks right into it, causing it to practically fall out from underneath as you attempt to grab the sandwich and bite into it. At least, such was the case within the 30 minute window of me buying it, driving home, taking photos, then sampling it. What they might wanna’ consider is to try putting a slice of lettuce between the pork and the “bun” bottom to create a moisture barrier. Somethin’ like that.
With the Barbecue Kalua Pork Puff with Pineapple Coleslaw coming in at $3.95 each, it’s a toss-up on value. The ingredients and quality is there, but taste is what matters most and that’s for you to decide whether you’d keep this on your “regular” list. For me, glad I tried it.
Size-wise , these are more like “sliders”, and you’d probably need at least two to fill you up if you’re really hungry.
I’m really glad I thought “long term” and got the Strawberry Shortcake Puff as a little dessert, as it ended up being a perfect way to finish the trial of the other two savory items…
Beard Papa’s new Strawberry Shortcake Puff, $2.65
The marketing description for this one goes like this: “Fresh strawberries floating in a whipped cream base.”
Cross cut view…
This photo perfectly illustrates how “airy” these choux pastries are, with that whipped cream and strawberry “shortcake” filling taking up every void of it’s interior. See how thin the choux pastry is on the bottom? That’s how it is in the savory sandwiches as well, which is why I pointed out that little “issue” with the Kalua pork causing it to get soggy on the bottom.
How is this one? Oishii desu! Of course different than their vanilla custard, as the filling here is made with sweetened whipped cream. Light, yet still decadent. Inside of the whipped cream were generous chunks of fresh, cold strawberries. That’s what I really liked about this one: the filling was cool. I think it’s worth $2.65. I’d certainly buy this again. The strawberries with the choux pastry is a winner. Perhaps I’m biased on that opinion due to my affection for Kachan’s totally amazing Choux Creme with the strawberry and Kiwi fruit in it.
As is usual of most Japanese products, quality and attention to detail is the name of the game at Beard Papa, right down to how they pack the goods…
These were packed nicer than that, with those “cute” little paper wrappers and all.
I kinda’ took ’em a part for unknown reasons. Perhaps it was too cute for my liking. lol
We will remember…
Beard Papa is located at select Foodland Supermarkets around the island. The items I got today were from the beautifully-renovated location in Ala Moana…
According to Beard Papa’s Hawaii website (which is currenty DOWN! ARGGHHH!), they also have a new Pita Sandwich, but that’s only available at the Waikiki locations, IIRC. Looks pretty good.
Well, at least you know now, in case wanna’ try something new, Beard Papa’s got a few things to consider checkin’ out.