Lau Laus and Pork Adobo Bring a Little Bit of Hawaiʻi to Seattle— Cooking in America

Lau Laus and Pork Adobo Bring a Little Bit of Hawaiʻi to Seattle— Cooking in America


– We’re at Kauai Family
Restaurant where Peter alongside his daughter
Randi are serving up pork adobo, oxtail soup,
lau lau and loco mocos. I’m excited to taste a
little bit of Hawai’i. (upbeat music) – Hey Sheldon, how’s it,
welcome to Kauai Family Restaurant my man.
– Right on. Mahalo, I walk in just like
I’m in a restaurant in Hawai’i. – Yeah, that’s why we created
it to be just like that. – I brought my knives
so we can get cooking. – My mom and my sisters
were living in Seattle and they said there’s
no Hawai’ian restaurants up here, why don’t you
come up here and open one. – Was it just Hawai’ian’s
that was living up there back in ’93 that
were your first customers? – Believe it or not,
it was the caucasians, because on this corner here, it used to be a Dag’s Hamburger place. When I opened here, they shut down and I was the only one selling
hamburger in this area. So they would come here to get
hamburger and french fries. It took one month for one
Hawai’ian guy to come in. That one guy, the next month,
only Hawai’ians came in. Then the Hawai’ian food kicked in. We’re a plate lunch
place, two scoops of rice, mac salad and then your
dish, all old school. You know I try to
replicate how we used to do it in the back yard, my lau lau
would cook for 15 hours. – And that’s what we’re
gonna be making right now. – Hawai’ians used to make lau lau, they used to use all the scraps. – Like family style,
everybody bring their own portion of meat,
traditionally, this used to go inside the Emu too, so this was buried underneath when they
would make Kahlua pig. – We cannot put them in
the ground over here. – We don’t even have a
backhole in the back. – You cannot sell it if
you put it in the ground. – The ground, that’s true. – I guess the Board of
Health, anyway so what I do is I lay down a tea leaf, the taro leaf. Put a little bit salt,
pork fat, and beef fat, one piece of fish and
three pieces of pork. – [Sheldon] That’s some
fat lau laus there. – Because you’re steaming it, it blends in with the taro leaves. – Bring home lau laus from
Seattle, back to Maui. So we make adobo first. – The first thing we do is cook the fat. – You’re family is Hawai’ian, Filipino, Spanish you were saying. – Yes, we’re from the west side of Kauai. I came here by myself, I
had three kids back there. That’s why I named the restaurant
Kauai Family Restaurant. My dad came from the Philippines. It depends on what region, the style of cooking is different. This is a compilation of
different styles into my style. We’re tenderizing the
skin and braising it. We’ll fry the garlic,
just like a pro yeah? (laughing) – When you had learned to cook? – I grew up earlier than you
in the ’60s and I grew up in plantation camp,
when people had parties, they would kill pigs and then the Filipino men would cook it in the big siliocis, the woks on the open pit fire. That’s the way I learned. – And this has been marinating? – Yes. – And this is just pork
butt that’s been shoyu, vinegar, black pepper and bay leaf. It’s kinda cool to be all the
way out there in Seattle. This is my food right here, it’s got comforting flavors of Hawai’i. (upbeat music) I’m excited to taste the lau lau. I always eat them with chili pepper water. (laughing) The fat is unreal, I might have to take lau lau home back to Hawai’i. (laughing) Pork adobo, I love that
you fried the fat first. That’s where all the flavor is. – Yeah. – Perfect, it’s vinegar forward, sometimes you can taste the pepper
corns, sometimes you can taste the shoyu, that’s
how my dad used to make it. Like growing up, this is local style. – Very simple. – So comforting though.
You’ve been here in the city for a really long time. You must’ve seen a lot of changes. – I think in ’93, there was about 38,000 transplants from Hawai’i
in this Puget Sound area. In ’96, it grew to about 68,000. – That’s a lot of Hawai’i transplants. – Today, there’s probably
double that, cause kids start coming to
school here and stay here. So a lot of the kids
they work in high tech, lawyers or doctors or
nurses and the families move from Hawai’i to join their kids. – You’re in here everyday
too, in the kitchen? – Yeah, I pretty much
grew up in the restaurant. – She helps take the edge off. – We’re waiting for him to retire. – Being in the restaurant
business, it’s really stressful. – I like it, it’s so familiar to me. – Of course, I’m proud of her
because she does a lot. – Those mom and pop shops
are slowly disappearing. – Kids don’t wanna take over,
so it’s slowly going away. – It’s awesome to come all
the way out here and see this. That Aloha spirit and that
family tradition continuing on.

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