Hawaiian good stuff in Monterey Park.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside. Truthfully, if it did have the sign outside, you’d think you were in some kind of Medical Office park.
But no, you’re in Shakas, a palace of Hawaiian treats and tastes (their words).
Those expecting Tiki Dolls or an general feeling of Polynesian tropical goodness might be a bit disappointed. Those having lived in the actual state of Hawaii should feel right at home.
Hawaii itself is a very different kind of state. Besides having produced our 44th President (yeah, this guy), it is…as Tony Bourdain put it in his most recent trip to the state: “Hawaii is America. As American as anything could possibly be. Yet it never shed what was there before. And the layers and layer that have come since.”
Like Louisiana, like Florida…heck like every state in the union, Hawaii has it’s own rhythms, it’s own take on American culture, and most importantly, it’s got it’s own kind of food.
One does not go to Shakas for the ambiance. One goes for the food, inexpensive, tasty, meaty and starchy food.
If you’re on a diet, do not expect the food at Shakas to have a slimming effect.
If you’re on a diet, this a great place to shatter it into a million pieces
Walking in, head right to the counter. Peruse menu. Order up. Simple as that. You’re given a number, and you can saunter over into a seat, and wait for stuff to arrive. Overhead are a couple of TVs, in today’s case, tuned to the NFL Channel, waiting Preseason Football (always a treat). And…
I gotta admit, a part of me thinks this is a college place. I mean, I’ve barely cracked ten bucks for my meal (including drink). Food’s going to be served to me in the same To-Go styrofoam trays whether I’m sitting there or not. Some kids are here, more than a few local firemen. It’s a neighborhood joint. A place to grab a quick bite of something you know you’ll like, and not break the bank for it.
It is worth traveling all the way across town for? Ehhh…yeah, a little bit. I mean, near me, we’ve got L&L’s Hawaiian, but I’ve been there before, and the food’s never grabbed me. This place? Got a hold of me. I’m looking at this menu, and I want to come back.
If you’re a restaurant owner, what more could you ask for?
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I went with the Bacon Fried Rice, which is a Hawaiian style Fried Rice (Whatever that means) with Bacon, Portuguese Sausage, Kamaboko (which is the pink stuff, a a Japanese processed seafood product, in which various white fish are pureed, combined with additives such as MSG, formed into distinctive loaves, and then steamed until fully cooked and firm), Egg and Green Onions.
With my seafood allergy, no reaction to the Kamaboko, so that’s a good thing.
I liked what I had. I couldn’t finish it all, so I had to bring it home and knock it out for Dinner. It held up great. First bite as tasty as the last.
The only complaint that you might have (though I didn’t) is that the dish overall may be a bit salty. Like I said, not so much to me. To me, it was the Bacon and the Portuguese Sausage taste soaking into the rice, and giving it a very sharp, very porky taste. Many people complain about the overall saltiness of Hawaiian food. I’m not one of them.
But next time I’m here, I’m totally going for the Portuguese Sausage and Eggs, or the Hawaiian Chili (It’s just got me curious now.)
Also, any place that has something called the 442nd Combo, has my eternal respect.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Other than how the building looks from the outside, nothing too much to report. Just look for the sign, otherwise you might miss it.
PARKING: Shakas shares its spaces with a two other businesses on it’s block, so Parking is free, but limited. Odds are most of the spaces will be taken when you get there, but there should be one or two. You can try E. Riggin, but that’s a bit of risk also, as it’s a residential street, and a bit packed on it’s own. You have been advised.
Shakas (Monterey Park)
2300 S. Garfield Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: (323) 888-2695
Monday-Thursday: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm