Honolulu Cinco de Mayo hotspots
Tacos from Zaratez Mexicatessen. Photo courtesy of Zaratez.
“Go to Mexican restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day, go to Irish pubs on Cinco de Mayo, unless you’re on Kauai, in which case just go to The Feral Pig, all the time,” says Dave Power of The Feral Pig.
But for those who actually want to celebrate this fabricated American holiday, here are my picks for Mexican food:
Four years ago, Paul Zarate made clandestine burrito drops to Mexican-food starved downtown workers. From there, he’s grown into a legitimate business, from food truck to farmers market vendor to, at long last, a brick-and-mortar location. It’s open for limited hours until mid-May, and then it’ll be open for lunch and dinner, serving tacos and burritos and other street eats (hello, mulitas!)
Also, look out for Zarate at the Cinco de Mayo Chinatown street party (which is actually Saturday, May 4).
1273 S. King St., check hours at facebook.com/zaratez
Left: burrito grande, right: smoked ahi tacos from Baja Style.
Baja Style Mexican Food
This food truck has some of the best Mexican food in town. What makes it so: fresh-griddled tortillas (there’s no better way to ruin a taco or burrito than with cold, crumbly corn or flour tortillas), and well-seasoned meats including chile verde (tender, roasted pork in a tangy green chile sauce) and carnitas. The truck will also be at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Chinatown. If you’re avoiding the crowd, Baja Style will resume its Tuesday and Friday schedule at the Capital One 360 Cafe (formerly the ING cafe) in June. (The cafe is actually a great place to relax or work, especially when there’s Mexican food!)
Check schedule at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baja-Style-Mexican-Food/401008029967751
Cochinita pibil sopes from Cocina. Photo courtesy of Cocina.
Salt and Cocina
At the Chinatown Cinco de Mayo fiesta, also check out Salt, which will be serving empanadas. Salt doesn’t always come to mind for Mexican, but chef Quinten Frye shows his skill in this arena, particularly in his Cocina pop-ups at Taste, making his own breads and tortillas and featuring Mexican street food outside of the usual taco/burrito routine, such as duck carnita tortas and headcheese dorados.
Chorizo and chili verde tacos from Serg's
Serg’s Mexican Kitchen
I love that the corn tortillas here are hot and fried, and I always get a taco each of al pastor, chorizo and chile verde (even though the latter is greasy as all hell…but maybe that’s why I like it). Celebrate here on the actual Cinco de Mayo; it’s offering free cake, plus $1.50 meat tacos and $2 fish tacos. There will also be menudo, or tripe stew, for your street party hangover.
Coronaritas. Photo courtesy of Wahoo's Fish Tacos.
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos
And what is Cinco de Mayo without drink? Wahoo’s Fish Tacos’ Coronarita—a Corona stacked on a margarita—is a marvel of ingenuity, structurally speaking, and, taste-wise, pretty fun. Go, if only to watch bartender and sometime Biting Commentary contributor Justin D’Olier handle his first Cinco de Mayo behind the bar. (Find him at the Kahala location.)