Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kai's Pastele Shop

Kai's Pastele Shop is a food truck roaming Honolulu, Hawaii. Their signature item (pastele) is incorporated in several different dishes. There are two main forms -- a tamale version or a fried, calzone-like version -- and Kai's utilizes the former.

Kai's can be found at Eat the Street events (their first ETS event was in November 2011) or at Taco'ako Tuesdays (Ilalo and Cooke).

The line forms at Kai's during "Taco'ako Tuesdays"

Menu (December 2011)
I sampled several dishes at Kai's. First, a side order of their pastele ($4). The pastele is prepared similar to how it's made in the Dominican Republic: a tamale-style pastele consisting of masa (using green plantains or bananas), tomato paste, and more. A banana leaf on the bottom of the pastele added to the authentic preparation.

Pastele, salad, and gandule rice
(Kai's Pastele Shop)
A very delicious pastele with a strong tomato presence -- almost like incorporating marinara sauce into a tamale. The tomato and tamale preparation made it feel like a Mexican-Italian hybrid.

Next up, the Bacalao Salad ($3.50). While my understanding is for this to be a salted cod salad, I got zero cod in my portion. In fact, this looked more like a messy watercress salad with the pieces not cut small enough (needed a knife here so I didn't look like a moron trying to fit a huge chunk of watercress in my mouth). No flavor in here at all...just really watercress and onion. I'm assuming this was a misstep on what the order really was, because I can assure you I didn't get bacalao salad.

I got a free scoop of gandule rice on the house. It's basically a Spanish rice, with diced cooked pork, capers and whole kalamata olives inside. A lovely color here. The capers and the olives added a little brininess. Unfortunately, other than that, this rice was largely bland.

Kai's has taco sauce or a banana hot sauce for people to try. Perhaps I coulda used that on my rice and salad to get some flavor in there. An average experience here, at best (mainly for the delicious pastele). 5/10

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