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Shay’s Filipino Cafe – Waipio Shopping Center and SALT Kakaako

Let me start this review off by saying I’m biased when it comes to Filipino food. I grew up eating Filipino food prepared by my grandparents, so I have my preferences. I’ll also admit that the only Filipino restaurant I tend to recommend to anyone is Thelma’s in Waipahu. However, we all need some change in our lives sometimes, so I decided to change it up with a visit to Shay’s.

I invited two friends: one that says Shay’s is her favorite Filipino restaurant, and another that said he “doesn’t want to cheat on his neighborhood favorite, Julie’z,” but will come because I’m paying.

We went on a Sunday at around 1pm. We wanted to order a lot so we could sample almost the entire menu and take the rest home, but they were out of a lot of things: bangus (milk fish), squid adobo, oxtail for the kare kare, and palabok. That can’t be helped, but the waitress did mention that they were out of those things for a while now, so just a tip that their 86 list tends to have a few things on it consistently.

Here’s what we decided on:

  • Pork Guisantes
  • Longanisa Fried Rice Omelette
  • Pork Sinigang
  • Lechon Kawali
  • Chicken Adobo
  • Ube Pancakes (big stack)
From left to right, top to bottom: Pork Sinigang, Pork Guisantes, Lechon Kawali, Chicken Adobo, Longanisa Fried Rice Omelette.

Even with the 86 list being kind of a bummer, we were able to eat a lot and still order a good amount. This could have fed 6 people but we wanted to try as much as we could!

Let’s talk about some standout dishes.

Pork Sinigang

This sinigang is the closest one I’ve had to my grandma’s. If you don’t like yours really sour to the point you can smell it from a few feet away, this probably isn’t for you. But, for those that love sour, this is the one. Usually, I would order bangus sinigang but we chose pork due them being out. The pork was pretty fatty, so it’s a hit or miss with that as well depending on if you like fat or not. Soup and vegetable wise, this is something I’d get again (but with bangus next time).

Chicken Adobo

I normally wouldn’t order this, but I’m glad that I did. Unlike the super sour sinigang, this adobo was more heavy on the shoyu. I liked that there was enough of the soup to put on our rice. The chicken was also really soft and was falling off the bone.

Ube Pancakes

Lastly, these pancakes were super purple and I was a little scared to eat them because of that. But, once we all took our first bite, we wanted more! They weren’t super sweet and the ube flavor wasn’t overwhelming or chalky/starchy like some ube desserts I’ve had in the past. My only complaint is that the big stack is 3 pancakes but I wish it were 5!

So, would I go to Shay’s again? If I were in the area or someone invited me, probably. But do I still love my grandma’s cooking and will remain loyal to Thelma’s? Yes.

Do you have a favorite Filipino restaurant? Let me know in the comments so I can try it!

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Rating: 4.2/5. From 3 votes.
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