What Happens When Cheesy Pizza Meets Salty, Tangy Filipino Adobo?
We headed to Shay’s Filipino Cafe to try this Italian-Filipino mashup.
To be honest, I’m not a fan of most Filipino foods. Surprising, considering I’m Filipino. Don’t ask me why. That being said, I do love certain dishes. Chief among them is adobo. I love adobo. I mean, I really love adobo.
Something about that combination of soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves and black pepper evokes delicious memories of my childhood. Imagine a burst of salty soy sauce with a vinegary tang, followed by spicy peppercorns and the earthiness of bay leaves. Now toss in fatty slabs of pork or juicy chunks of chicken and that’s what I call happiness.
SEE ALSO: My Own Private Adobo
While I could eat adobo every day and be happy, I admit to wanting many other foods also. One of which is pizza. So I was pretty excited to learn about the adobo pizza at Shay’s Filipino Cafe.
Since my wife and I live in town, we headed to Shay’s at Salt in Kaka‘ako. There were two options for the adobo pizza: full size ($17) and personal size ($7), with choice of pork or chicken adobo. We got a mini pizza with half-chicken and half-pork. It was a good pizza, but that’s all it was—a good pizza. It had a warm, soft crust and was delicious, extremely cheesy, with a strong flavor of marina sauce. Too strong, unfortunately, because the marinara overpowered the flavor of adobo. If I hadn’t known it was an adobo pizza, I wouldn’t have noticed the adobo. It was a good pizza, but we couldn’t actually call it an adobo pizza.
Well, there happens to be another Shay’s location, the original one in Waipio. It’s a bit of a drive from town, but I was willing to make the trek to see if the original location would offer a different experience. I checked it out with a recently vaccinated buddy and we devised a backup plan: In case the adobo pizza didn’t turn out as hoped, we also got an order of regular pork adobo.
This time we got the full-size pizza with half-chicken and half-pork adobo. We waited roughly 20 minutes for our order to come out. Was it worth the drive from town? Was it worth the 20-minute wait? Yes, it was.
The pizza came out hot, covered in melted cheese with glistening, juicy chunks of chicken and pork adobo sprinkled with green onion. A hint of the familiar scents of vinegar and soy wafted in the air, mixed in with aromas of cheese and freshly baked pizza dough. I lifted a slice. The cheese pull that stretched all the way down to the rest of the pizza was so laden with meaty adobo chunks, I had to scoop them all back onto the slice.
Not only did the pizza look amazing, it tasted amazing. The hot cheese hit my palate first, followed by the flavors of soy sauce and vinegar. A hint of marinara was the perfect capstone, along with soft, warm, lightly floured pizza dough. The green onions gave a hint of refreshing crunch and sharpness. Chicken and pork were both delicious in their own way, the pork with a strong salty flavor and the chicken a lighter but still flavorful experience.
If you love pizza, adobo or both, make the trek to Shay’s in Waipio and experience the combo for yourself.