Which Birria Type in Honolulu Matches Your Personality?

It’s Taco Tuesday—there’s a soulmate birria out there for you.



hich place on O‘ahu has the best birria taco?”


I get asked this a lot—especially after I wrote a roundup of the ultimate birria tacos in Honolulu about everything birria, from tacos and lumpia to saimin and banh mi.


My answer: “It depends on your preference.”


Do you like spicy food? Extra cheese? Can you handle heat? Do you prefer small, thin street tacos or the huge and loaded kind?


There’s a birria type and place for every personality. Scroll on to see where your next birria stop should be.


SEE ALSO: Birria Ramen and 10 Other Ways to Get This Trending Mexican Dish in Honolulu (None Are Tacos)


The Cheesy One


Taco Bout It’s birria tacos. Photo: Kelli Shiroma Braiotta


The phrase “too much cheese” doesn’t exist in your vocabulary. Asking for extra cheese with any dish—pasta, salad, sandwiches, pizza, anything—is a given. You love all cheeses, from mozzarella and Parmesan to more exotic ones like Havarti, gruyere and burrata.


It ain’t easy being cheesy, but check out these shops to live the Gouda life:


  • Aloha Mamacita
    • Food truck at Geiger Community Park, @alohamamacita
    • Aloha Mamacita is known for beef birria tacos stuffed with mozzarella cheese and wrapped in large corn tortillas that are dipped in a blend of beef fat and house-made chile oil and fried crispy. Three birria tacos, a cup of consommé and fresh garnishes are $15. Check Instagram for updates.
  • Taco Bout It
    • Makiki, @taco_bout_it_hawaii
    • The signature mozzarella cheese crust on the outside of these birria tacos was born from an early cheese spill. When owner Kyrston Avery realized this made the tacos next-level crispy, the cheese crust stayed. At this food stall, a plate of three birria tacos with 8 ounces of consommé, a side of saimin noodles, red onions, lime and cilantro is $18. Check Instagram to order.


SEE ALSO: Aloha Mamacita’s Birria Tacos Are Coming to Town


The Carnivore


Barbecue brisket melt from Jolene’s Market. Photo: Kelli Shiroma Braiotta


You’re always down for an AYCE barbecue feast, and you’re the last one standing after all your dining companions get the meat sweats. Some of your fave restaurants include steakhouses. At any barbecue potluck, you’re first in line at the grill.


If you love meat and are open to alternative birria forms, here are a few options:


  • Jolene’s Market
    • Open Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 100 N. Beretania St., (808) 540-1000, jolenesmarket.square.site, @jolenesmarkethnl
    • This barbecue brisket melt is a hefty blend of 18-hour smoked brisket with Havarti, American and mozzarella cheeses between soft, house-made Japanese milk bread. It comes with spicy birria consommé for dipping. It’s a huge sandwich that doesn’t skimp on the meat or cheese, and the consommé is made with Thai and other spicy Asian peppers instead of more typical Mexican smoked peppers.
  • Cocina de Roja
    • Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 2334 S. King. St., @cocinaderoja
    • The fusion birria banh mi features a crispy toasted baguette stuffed generously with birria meat, mayo, cucumbers, daikon, pickled carrots and cilantro with a cup of consommé on the side. The birria tacos and pho are delicious, but the banh mi is my fave because it’s loaded with shredded beef.


The Spicy One


Hell Fire tacos from La Birria. Photo: Kelli Shiroma Braiotta


When it comes to spicy food, the hotter, the better. You were the first in your friend group to do the fire noodle challenge and the only one to come out unscathed. Even the spiciest dishes cause only a slight tingling on your palate. While others steer clear of menu items with the chile pepper icon, these are your favorites.


  • La Birria Tacos
    • Daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pearlridge Center, 98-180 Kamehameha Hwy; daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cooke Street by Mother Waldron Park; @la_birria_hi
    • Four-inch corn tortillas are coated with chile-infused oil, fried and filled with shredded braised beef, cheese, onions and cilantro and served up as Hell Fire tacos. The fire comes from a house-made ghost pepper chile blend, which also contains habanero and other peppers and features in the tacos and accompanying consommé. Only those with a high heat tolerance will finish without breaking a sweat. A plate of two Hell Fire tacos is $12; a 12-pack is $55.


SEE ALSO: We Found Birria Tacos and Birria Saimin in ‘Aiea


The Noodle Fiend


Birria saimin from Forty Niner Restaurant. Photo: Kelli Shiroma Braiotta


Pho, spaghetti, ramen, tsukemen—noods is the name of your game, and you love them all. If nothing sounds more comforting to you than a steaming bowl of noodles, check out the following:


  • Forty Niner Restaurant
    • Open Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., 98-110 Honomanu St., (808) 484-1940, @fortynineraiea
    • This $11.95 birria saimin is a special; call in advance to see if the restaurant has it. Forty Niner describes its birria saimin as having “rich, authentic Mexican flavors mixed with local saimin noodles.” The broth is made using Mexican spices, chiles and beef bones for added flavor. The beef is braised for four hours, and there’s a generous portion of it in the bowl.
  • Noods Ramen Bar
    • Daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., 3611 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 888-2115, noodsramenbar808.com, @noodsramenbar808
    • The $15 birria ramen bowl features a Mexican-style beef broth topped with slow-braised shredded beef, jalapenos, cilantro, onions, chile oil and lime. Upgrade to the extra noodle portion for $2.
  • Jenny’s Birria
    • Instagram business in ‘Ewa Beach, @jennysbirria
    • Birria ramen here starts with beef-flavored ramen from Nissin Foods and adds on cilantro, onions and shredded birria meat for $12. Open on Tuesdays and Sundays for pre-orders only. Direct message on Instagram to order.
  • El Jalisciense
    • Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 95-790 Lumiaina St., (509) 423-4871, @eljalisciense2017
    • This Waikele food truck features birria ramen on its birria days, which are currently Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For $10 you get birria meat, cilantro, onions and ramen noodles in a consommé broth.
  • La Birria Tacos
    • Daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pearlridge Center, 98-180 Kamehameha Hwy; daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Cooke Street by Mother Waldron Park; @la_birria_hi
    • La Birria sells birria saimin for $12, or as a side for $5. It features Sun Noodle’s original medium-weight curly saimin topped with onions, cilantro, braised beef and fried tortilla strips.


SEE ALSO: Which Bubble Tea Shop Matches Your Boba Personality?


The Extra One


Photo: Kelli Shiroma Braiotta


You love to stand out and take everything to the next level. You have the topper mentality and basic never cuts it. Others might say you’re a little extreme, but you just want to live your best life.


If birria tacos are too plain for you, check out these creative renditions:


  • Elimeko Kitchen
    • Makiki, @elimekokitchen
    • It’s all about crispy, golden brown queso birria lumpia and wontons at this Instagram business. Packs of 6, 9 and 12 are $12, $18 and $24, respectively and include consommé dipping broth. Both wontons and lumpia are filled with red onions, fresh cilantro, mozzarella cheese and ultra-tender 10-hour braised beef birria. There are $4.50 birria pandesals as well, served with that beef birria and consommé. Pickups are on Saturdays and Sundays in Makiki. Direct message on Instagram to order.
  • El Jalisciense
    • Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 95-790 Lumiaina St., (509) 423-4871, @eljalisciense2017
    • This larger-than-life birria pizza looks more like a quesadilla: It’s made with three 12-inch tortillas stuffed with birria meat, onions, cilantro and cheese, with consommé for dipping. The $35 pizza is cut into six huge slices.
  • Cocina De Roja
    • Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 2334 S. King. St., @cocinaderoja
    • This birria pho is better than a warm hug on a rainy day. The large bowl of rice noodles comes in a meaty birria stew topped with mung bean sprouts, red onions, cilantro and Thai basil. There’s mound of shredded beef balances nicely with the refreshing veggies.