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Wahiawa eats: Shige's Saimin Stand and Marilou's


Whether or not you made it to Wahiawa's Pineapple Festival this past weekend, there's enough good eats in Wahiawa to warrant another return, or at least a pit stop on the way to a North Shore adventure.

My standbys in Wahiawa include Da Pokeman for poke and laulau, as well as Maui Mike's for roasted chicken (where's that town location Maui Mike's keeps promising us?). This past weekend, I strayed from my go-to's for that classic institution, Shige's Saimin Stand, and Marilou's for Filipino food.

Shige's is one of the last saimin stands that still makes its own saimin. The noodles are certainly different: a little flatter and whiter, slightly spongy, perfect for the broth (which leans salty). Wonton wrappers are thick and chewy. A perfect bowl for a post North Shore beach day. The BBQ sticks are just passable: teri beef in a goopy sauce.

A few doors down is Marilou's, with all the popular Filipino dishes: lechon kawali, crackly, crispy, fatty chunks of pork with tomatoes and onions marinated in fish sauce; pork adobo, tender meat in that distinctly Filipino shoyu-vinegar-bay leaf braise; kare-kare oxtail, with water spinach and cabbage in a thick peanut sauce and on the side, salty, fishy shrimp paste. The most-ordered dish at Marilou's? The dinuguan, a pork blood stew. When I take home leftovers, my half-Filipino husband takes one look and knows instantly what it is, but won't touch it. The dinuguan is thick and black, savory like the Filipino equivalent of a bolognese.

I love halo-halo, that coconut-milk soaked Filipino shave ice, but I love, love, love Marilou's version, which has lychee jellies on the bottom and is topped with thick custard and bright purple ube (purple yam) ice cream. I am slightly ashamed that I fought the two-year-old at the table for it, and held it out of reach of his grasping hands.

Shige's Saimin Stand, saimin bowls from $4.20 to $6.90, 70 Kukui St., Wahiawa, 621-3621
Marilou's, $8.95 (pork adobo) to $11.50 (kare-kare oxtail), 70 Kukui St., Wahiawa, 621-1196

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