Find Homestyle Filipino Food at Consuelo’s Kusina
This little eatery in the ‘Ohana Hale Marketplace serves up classics, Cebu-style.
Consuelo’s Kusina, owned and run by Sherry Mantalaba, opened in the ‘Ohana Hale Marketplace in May 2019. O‘ahu is home to some great Filipino food, but little of it in Kaka‘ako, so Consuelo’s fills the void with homey Cebu classics. (Mantalaba says Cebu-style cuisine has a different balance of sour and sweet from foods in the northern Philippines where many Hawai‘i Filipinos have their roots.) The food business is not new to Mantalaba, as her parents ran H&N Food Service, a now-shuttered lunch wagon that served many of the same dishes to schools and communities in the Dillingham area and Sand Island. But Consuelo’s Kusina is solely her own enterprise. “It’s named after my grandmother to keep and expand family roots,” Mantalaba says.
Though Consuelo’s Kusina has a small menu, each dish is executed with the same care you might expect only at home. The menu includes a variety of bowls: pancit noodles, lumpia, pork adobo, shoyu chicken and pork guisantes (pork and peas) ranging from $6 to $9. Each bowl comes with a choice of all rice or half rice, half pancit.
The pork adobo bowl with rice and pancit ($9) features tender pork, sharp and aromatic with vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaves. The pancit was the color of turmeric and lighter than I’m used to, but it was refreshing, especially with a squeeze of the calamansi.
Lola’s Plato (“Lola,” Filipino for “grandmother”)—comes with half rice, half pancit, shoyu chicken, pork adobo, pork veggie lumpia and a drink ($13). It’s a good way to try everything. The shoyu chicken, sweet and juicy, was tender enough to tear apart with your fork, and the lumpia fried fresh, crisp and stuffed with vegetables and pork. For dessert: banana lumpia, golden brown, crunchy, sweet and blazing hot directly from the fryer (one for $1.50 or four for $6).
The dining area consisted of some stools in front of a counter and three tables—cozy and pleasant, not unlike dining in someone’s home. Come Saturdays for the lechon kawali, or deep-fried pork belly. Consuelo’s also offers party trays of pancit and lumpia, so you can bring a taste of Mantalaba’s home to your own.
Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 333 Ward Ave., Suite 3, Booth #33, (808) 670-4332