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Beard Papa Goes Savory


Beard Papa’s new Breakfast Puff, Barbecue Kalua Pork Puff with Pineapple Coleslaw and Fresh Strawberry Shortcake Puff

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…


My apology for the over-exposed shot. I rushed the photo shoot.

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.

Related links:
BeardPapaHawaii.com
Beard Papa’s Cream Puff

22 thoughts on “Beard Papa Goes Savory

  • September 12, 2008 at 8:35 am
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    Yea! yea! yea! Beard Papa coming to Guam. Thanks Pomai for giving us Guamies a sneak peek of what to look forward to!!

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  • September 12, 2008 at 3:56 pm
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    Great review, as usual. Tried the strawberry shortcake puff about 2 months ago while on vacation in Hawaii – went to the Ala Moana location too. It was incredible and the young lady behind the counter was very nice.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm
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    Well a cream puff is still a cream puff. I really didn’t go for it. A corsant is much better for the sandwichs it a miss for me due to the egg texture and taste of the cream puff pastry. Their sweet cream puffs is what they are good at. They should invented a pastries wrap with sandwich filling and bake it. But it been done by Chinese dim sum places and manapua places.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm
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    I went to Beard Papa to try and no it going to be on my Get it again list. The eggy taste of the pastry is fine for sweet filling not for sandwiches type at all. They should use something French on those filling like a croissant which is better. Cream puff pastry is too much air in it not good for sandwiches fillings.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm
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    My friend and I try those new Beard Papa sandwiches and just did not go well with us. Sorry but it something about pastry too soft and lot of air in it for cream filling is OK. But meat fillings no way. Consumer know what they like and this sandwiches with cream puff shells is a MISS for sure with me and my friends.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 5:53 pm
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    We are getting two (count ’em, TWO) Papa Beard’s in Seattle this year and I can’t wait to try their cream puffs. I’ve heard so much about them and wanted to try them last year when I was on Oahu, but everytime I passed the one at Ward I was full of other things that were oishi. That’s the problem with every visit to Hawaii: Too many things to eat, too little time.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 6:33 pm
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    I totally hear you folks on the varying opinions on how the choux pastry matches – or doesn’t match the savory components. I could tell off the bat that this would be a hit or miss, depending on personal taste.

    It wasn’t so much the “eggy” flavor of the choux pastry that I had a problem with as much as the airy, less substantial mass, providing less support for the savory fillings, in comparison to a croissant or bread/bun/roll.

    Carl, I like your suggestion of them baking the ingredients inside the puff! Perhaps a pig-in-the-blanket (hot dog) baked right inside the choux pastry. Then again, I’m not a baker, and there may be issues with rising and other science-related obstacles in doing it this way. Another obstacle is that they’d have to bake each one to order, as I don’t think a made-in-advance, savory-stuffed choux pastry would have very good shelf life, even for less than an hour.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm
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    Yeah, I can see the breakfast sandwich working but not the kalua pork one. Their choux is too thin for a heavy meat deal like that.

    And why in heaven do they call anything that has pineapple in it “Hawaiian”?! Bugs me to no end.

    We’ve got a couple of Beard Papas here in the South Bay but don’t go that often – their prices are pretty high.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm
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    Nah , not so good. Too puff up the shell not great for sandwiches. When I bite into it soggy. I agree croissant would have better. They should done this as a survey to find out how many comsumers like it on menu and why. For me NO. This is not sink your teeth into sandwich for sure.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 7:38 pm
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    Pomai, thanks for checking it out! But BBQ sauce on kalua pork? That’s an abomination! I would have been pretty unhappy if I bought that and found it had sauce on it. Just hits a completely different note. The breakfast sandwich sounds pretty decent, though. So does the shortcake.

    I guess in terms of the disintegrating bottom “bun,” it would be best to eat it immediately after buying it. When I saw the chicken & tuna salad sandwiches advertised at the LA store, I thought that the filling might have been piped in the shell, similar to the way they add the custard, which would have better kept the structural integrity of the puff. Maybe not, though.

    As I recall, regular choux pasty is soft and closer to a batter, than firm like a bread dough. I know BP has a special, double-layer choux, to keep the outside crispy, but I still don’t think you could bake something inside and have if puff up correctly.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 8:27 pm
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    Beard Papa should had done a survey on it and now after reading your blog I too agree it not good at all. I try it out last week and no. Texture , texture is what it lacking in this so called Sandwich. Not even close to anything at all. Too moist and soft. OK for desserts pastries not for sandwiches. Sorry they Miss on this one.

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  • September 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm
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    Eh, we need one of these in Las Vegas! Get planny of us Hawaii people here!

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  • September 12, 2008 at 11:17 pm
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    This new sandwichs line is not going to make it with me. Brought one to try and it just not good. Fillings fine but using choux pastry not good ideal at all. Keep in French theme by using croissants or French breads to make it not choux pastry. Loading so much thing for kalua pork with pineapple coleslaw made it too busy. Can’t savor the pork it got lost among the pineapple coleslaw taste only that. Too airy moist for sandwiches better go back to drawing board on this ideal.

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  • September 13, 2008 at 3:38 am
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    Beard Papa actually came out with savory puffs several months ago with different flavors. The two I tried (the lemony egg salad and seafood salad) were pretty good, but kind of pricey for their size. I think they were about $3 a piece at the Waikiki Beachwalk location I purchased them at. Maybe I was paying the well known to locals and tourists alike “Waikiki prices.” By the way, Pomai, have you checked out the new Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center food court? The prices made even my jaded, long time Waikiki worker eyes bug out of my head. $9 for a plate lunch from Kennys! And $10 for sandwich, chips, & drink combo at Paradise Bakery!

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  • September 13, 2008 at 3:45 am
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    Pineapple cole slaw?! Why have I never thought of this? I love cole slaw, I need to remember to try pineapple sometime. I’m probably the only person who was impressed with slaw in a post about Beard Papa!

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  • September 13, 2008 at 6:52 pm
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    Pomai, I have say no way again on those Beard Papa sandwich puffs. Too mushy and like other reader Nick I totally agree texture is very important. Those choux pastry is good still for desserts fillings. I try the seafood salad one Nah, filling OK but pastry again mushy too soft . Pineapple Coleslaw by itself is good in a sandwich no. Price is OK for it value it not a good ideal to use choux pastry for it. French bread yes yes.

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  • September 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm
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    I thought I was the only one who didn’t like it but on your blog WOW. It was a very bad ideal to use choux shells to make this kind of sandwichs. I like the fillings and try 3 different kinds it good but the shells to make it on was sure bust. Maybe just sell the fillings to customers to take home to put own bread to eat. Choux should be kept for Cream Puff desserts.

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  • September 13, 2008 at 8:49 pm
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    How about if they pureed the kalua pig and pineapple cole slaw, then piped it into the choux pastry in “cream” / pâté form? lol

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  • September 13, 2008 at 10:06 pm
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    Yuck! That out of your mind Pomai!

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  • September 13, 2008 at 10:15 pm
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    Tina, what’s yuck? The “sandwich” itself as presented – or my suggestion of piping pureed Kalua Pig and slaw in it? lol

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  • September 14, 2008 at 1:07 am
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    Pureed Kalua pig with slaw ? What is it baby food in cream puff pastry?

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  • September 14, 2008 at 5:42 pm
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    Oh my! That a lot of readers not happy of Beard Papa’s sandwiches. I hate to be another one also. It a big NO not going to be buy again and try again for me. The reasons is the same as other there no need to say more.

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