Try DJ Tittahbyte’s Hawai‘i-Inspired Fried Garlic Shrimp Recipe for Your Next Potluck
Honolulu DJ Riana Stellburg shares the flavors of her Filipina childhood—and serves up some food inspiration for your next potluck.
Riana Stellburg, known as DJ Tittahbyte, has a knack for creating a certain vibe and rousing a crowd as one of Honolulu’s most sought-after DJs. But one look at her Instagram feed and you’ll notice another passion: food. Deeply connected to her Filipina roots, the Hawaiʻi-born Stellburg has grown up with a love of food and cooking, which she documents on her Instagram @tittahbyte. And she created a highlight and the hashtag #tittahbites to dedicate those posts to the food she loves to cook and eat.
We asked Riana to share a bit about her passion for food and the dishes she loves to take to Island-style potlucks.
HONOLULU Magazine: Give us a bit of insight into your love of food. What role has food played in your life?
Riana Stellburg: I love how food offers common ground to all walks of life. Being born and raised in Hawai‘i and growing up in a Filpino household, food has become a love language for me. It builds a bridge for my loved ones, new friends and me to communicate with.
HM: Who taught you how to cook and encouraged your love of food?
RS: I was never really allowed in the kitchen unless it was to peel lumpia wrappers or knead meat for longanisa (Filipino sausage). Every time I’d attempt to make food my mom would tease me for it. My late brother played a huge part in encouraging my love for food by cooking all different types of cuisines, taking me to different restaurants to eat and letting me watch Top Chef or Iron Chef growing up. His wife was the one who actually taught me how to cook and never made me feel silly for asking the most basic questions.
HM: What kinds of cuisine did you grow up eating?
RS: Lots of homemade Filipino food, Chinese and Italian cuisine. Whenever my mom would take us out it was always at Golden Eagle in Mōʻiliʻili or Ricado’s in ‘Aiea.
HM: Do you have any favorite childhood dishes you remember enjoying in the summertime?
RS: We never had air conditioners in our house so it was always hot. I remember my mom would make halo-halo (a Filipino shave ice dessert) with Carnation evaporated milk and shreds of cantaloupe and coconut because I didn’t like the beans or jelly. She’d also get ube (purple yam) ice cream and put it in between a slice of bread like an ice cream sandwich.
HM: How did the #tittahbites hashtag come to be and what kinds of posts do you share?
RS: Before my brother passed away, I had asked him to share with me all his recipes he cooked for me growing up. I realized that every time I cooked I would go into this flow state where time just fell away and all I focused on was feeding my family something delicious. I started documenting it on Instagram and my boyfriend (now fiancé) said I should name it Tittahbites, derived from my DJ name, Tittahbyte.
HM: We always love an opportunity to gather: What is one food item that you love bringing to share at a potluck and where can we find it?
RS: I usually call my mom and ask her to make a pan of pancit that I can take with me. She buys her noodles from O‘ahu Noodle Factory in Kalihi and she puts shiitake mushroom, hibi (tiny dried shrimp), bits of fried pork and other vegetables. I’ve even sold her pancit for countless fundraisers for concerts and events. It’s always a hit. But pancit from North Star in Kalihi is also good.
HM: When did you discover pancit?
RS: Can I say out the womb? Just kidding. My mom was an entrepreneur and was always thinking of different ways to make money. She would stay in the kitchen all day with my aunties cooking pancit and packaging longanisa to sell.
A post shared by Riana Stellburg (@tittahbyte) on
HM: What is one dish you love to cook to share at a potluck?
RS: I love making fried garlic shrimp; it’s like a remix of all the Kahuku shrimp shacks/trucks. Ten out of ten people are down to get their hands dirty to eat them.
HM: Who introduced you to this dish and how long have you been making it?
RS: My brother and his wife took me to Romy’s in Kahuku and because it was so far away, we decided to try and figure out the recipe. My sister-in-law actually figured it out and taught me how to make it. I’ve been making it for about six years now. Still don’t know how they do their dipping sauce though!
Tittahbites Fried Garlic Shrimp
1 pound of white shrimp with heads (she recommends Kaua‘i shrimp from Costco when available)
1½ cloves chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste (garlic salt is a great option, too)
Chile oil to taste
Vinegar (any will do)
Squeeze of calamansi (optional)
Heat pan on medium with olive oil, butter, garlic and a couple of drops of chile oil.
When garlic becomes fragrant, lay shrimp down in pan.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, let it cook until pink, flip over and repeat.
Add more garlic and toss all shrimp together.
When pink, put it on a bed of rice and serve with dipping sauce.