We headed to Shay’s Filipino Cafe to try this Italian-Filipino mashup.
Roll With It: This Mexican Food Truck Serves Up Tacos, Carnitas, Chimichangas … and Pastrami Melts
We’ll tell you how to pronounce ‘Tlacuaches’—and yes, get the pastrami melt.
Roll with It is Frolic’s new series about new food trucks we’ve seen out and about. We’re tracking them down and trying dishes to bring you the 4-1-1.
When Waikīkī’s La Cucaracha Mexican Bar and Grill closed last July, restaurant manager Mario Bonilla pondered what to do next. His solution: Partner with the chef, Jesse Ramirez, and open a food truck.
Tlacuaches—pronounced tlah-kwah-cheh (hold your tongue against your teeth for that initial combined ‘tl’ sound)—rolled out in November. Used to the fixed location of a brick-and-mortar, Bonilla and Ramirez decided to park permanently in Kaka‘ako with a set menu and weekly specials.
You’re probably wondering about the truck’s name. First, it’s hard for many to pronounce or even remember. Second, what does it mean? “It’s an Aztec word,” Bonilla explains. “Tlakwah means ‘to eat’ and ches means ‘a group of people.’ So tlacuaches means ‘a group of people that likes to eat,’ but it’s a play on words because it also means possum, the animal.”
That explains all the possum art on the truck. And it’s a much better visual than cucarachas.
At a glance:
Even though it’s known for its Mexican fare, you can get everything from burritos, tacos and fajitas to chili bowls and wings here. Prices range from $6.95 to $14.95. Check out the ‘create your own entrée’ section at the top of the menu, where you can pick from nachos, tacos, burritos, chimichangas, flautas or quesadillas; plus your choice of meat and a side.
Ask about the daily specials. You’ll see them if you order online, but they often aren’t listed on the truck’s menu. Previous specials include a spicy tuna melt with fries, birria mac and cheese with Spam and two birria tacos on the side with consommé, and a Caesar salad topped with New York strip steak.
You’ll also find specials like a taco sampler—pork, ground beef, chicken and shredded beef—for a discounted $10.95 with consommé on Taco Tuesdays. The sampler’s four meats are paired with different of toppings: ground beef with lettuce, cheese and red salsa; shredded beef with onions, cilantro and green salsa; pork with pineapple pico de gallo, and a spicy chipotle chicken.
- Crispy carnitas plate, $13.95. The best seller with crispy but succulent pork served with grilled onions, rice and beans, your choice of corn or flour tortillas and salsa verde.
- Pastrami melt stuffed with pastrami, grilled onions, melted Swiss and cheddar cheese and served with fries, $11.95
- Chimichanga with pulled pork and side salad, $12.95
How It Rolls
- Where: 740 Kawaiaha‘o St., Kaka‘ako (corner of Kawaiaha‘o and Cooke streets)
- When: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Preorder: Online or call (808) 797-7784
- Payment: Cash or credit card
- Follow: @tlacuaches808, tlacuaches808.com