Thursday, November 26, 2020

Chamorro Grindz

Chamorro Grindz is a food truck generally found at the Waikele Premium Outlets mall in Waipahu, Hawaii. Before getting a spot in Waikele, they were found at many Eat the Street food truck events around Oahu.

The panda continues to have cabin fever during this pandemic. With COVID-19 cases rising again throughout the country, even getting out for a bite to eat feels like a reward.

I first heard about Chamorro Grindz through a Star-Advertiser article in July 2019. From that point, I hoped to visit this truck sooner, but the pandemic got in the way. I finally got my chance last Saturday for lunch. A bunch of people at the shopping center, but virtually all wearing masks from what I could see.

Chamorro Grindz features cuisine found in Guam. The Hafa Dai plate ($18) gives you a sample of virtually everything on the menu, but there are a few other combo plates available. Signatures include their BBQ ribs, which resemble thick grilled bone-in beef chops, and their chicken kelaguen, a cold chicken salad-type dish with Thai chiles and lemon juice.

I got their Combo #2 ($13), which includes three BBQ ribs over two scoops of red rice, tossed salad, and a scoop of chicken kelaguen.

Excellent ribs, juicy and tender, with complementing char from the grill. The Chamorro red rice likely gets its color from achote powder and there are numerous recipes online to make it.

The chicken kelaguen was also wonderfully prepared, but as a spicy food fan, I wished there were a bit more red chiles. It's probably fine as is for the majority, though.

This plate wouldn't be complete without finadene, a Chamorro sauce that's usually made with soy sauce, vinegar, chiles, and some onions. I've also seen lemon juice used instead of vinegar. The one at CHamorro Grindz is very good, with a good salt-acidic balance.

They put ranch on the tossed salad, but I'm not a fan of any ranch dressing in general. I'd probably ask for no dressing on the salad next time.

My friend enjoyed his Hafa Dai plate, and I got a photo of the shrimp balls and empanada that are included with that dish - placed in a separate container.

Interestingly, most of the people I saw at the time went to the adjacent Mexican truck; the 3-4 other trucks there (including Chamorro Grindz) had no line.

Hopefully I'll be able to resume getting to more food trucks in 2021, and if they have great food like what I got at Chamorro Grindz, I'll be one joyous panda next year. 8.5/10

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