Roll With It is a Frolic series about the food trucks we’ve seen everywhere. We track them down and try dishes to bring you 4-1-1.
Oith food prices skyrocketing along with just about the basics of life, mobile food is beginning to mark another change in O’ahu. What’s exciting is that the food trucks and trailers we see this time around aren’t selling loco moco, chicken katsu, and garlic ahi plates. There are different fares to be had and in the case of El Gallo in Kaka’ako, it’s Peruvian. Chef-owner Miguel Gutierrez cooks from his heritage: grilled beef skewers, fragrant fried rice, and fluffy butternut squash beignets — all so good you might wonder if they actually came from a food truck.
In one look :
The menu is succinct with two starters, empanadas, two desserts and a few drinks. Starters are centered around beef and include seasoned or fried rice as a starch. Both desserts are vegan, and the mazzamora corn pudding ($5) is also gluten-free. You won’t find Peru’s ubiquitous roast chicken or ceviche here, which makes El Gallo stand out among other Peruvian options in Hawaii.
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Antichuchos, $18. Two beef skewers, marinated overnight with ají panca, which Gutierrez says is Peru’s answer to smoky chipotle, with more marinade added because it’s grilled to order. Traditionally, antichuchos are made with beef heart, but steak is a common substitute. A thick drizzle of green ají huacatay, a creamy, herbal sauce made with Peruvian mint, garlic, scallions, cilantro and oil, highlights the tender beef. Huacatay is a staple in Peruvian households and often accompanies roast chicken or grilled meat.
Hawaiian Juane, $12. A Peruvian lau lau filled with golden rice seasoned with turmeric and cumin, chunks of beef, boiled eggs and olives wrapped in kalo leaves and steamed. You’ll find juane served in restaurants and by street vendors, but it’s most commonly consumed during the San Juan Day holiday on June 24. Gutierrez’s juane is comforting and quite substantial for such a nice package.
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Picarones, $6.50. Another Peruvian street food, picarones are made from a paste containing butternut squash. The squash acts as an egg substitute and gives donuts a lighter texture with a bouncy, gooey interior and a crispy exterior. Gutierrez glazes his picarones with fig syrup for a slightly sweet finish.
How it rides:
Where: Mother Waldron Neighborhood Park, corner of Cooke and Pohukaina Streets
When: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or soldout
Payment: Cash or credit card