Having not been here in awhile, and trying lau lau for the first time a month or so ago at Island Grinds/Sully's, I decided to head back to Bruddah's in Gardena to see if they still rank at the top of my Hawaiian restaurants list.
Relatively crowded in the restaurant this afternoon, I was happy to see that they had lau lau and lomi on the menu. For those not familiar with lau lau, it is similar to kalua pork, but the pork is roasted in taro spinach leaves for a long time, and sometimes it is more tender than kalua pork. I think lau lau can also be served with chicken, but I haven't tried this yet.
Having not tried the kalua pork yet at Bruddah's, instead of going for the lau lau and lomi, I ordered the combo with the lau lau and kalua pork (lomi salmon would be extra, so I didn't order it). I figured I could do a direct comparison between the two to see which one I liked better. Along with my combo of the two pork dishes were two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. Priced at a very reasonable $8.25. FYI, the lau lau and lomi salmon entree is $7.25, the cheapest I've run across so far for decent-sized portions.
Maybe I just haven't had good kalua pork recently, but the one at Bruddah's is the best I can ever remember eating. Last time I remember eating it was at Back Home in Lahaina, where it was chewy, a bit dry, and a bit tasteless. Here at Bruddah's, the kalua pork was moist, soft, tender, flavorful, just about a perfect 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. I would rate the kalua pork at Back Home in Lahaina as a 3 or 4 in comparison.
As for the lau lau, it was pretty good, ranking maybe a 7 or 8. It was the same or maybe slightly better than the one at Island Grinds/Sully's, but it wasn't as tender and moist as the kalua pork.
I was swapping bites back and forth between the kalua pork and lau lau, and it was just no contest that the kalua pork was better. But the lau lau was pretty good on its own too. As a combo entree, this was a great meal and reaffirmed my rankings of Bruddah's as one of the best, if not the best, authentic Hawaiian restaurants in SoCal.
After having such a good meal at Bruddah's, it makes it so hard for me to try other places nearby, because I want to go back to Bruddah's and try some other spectacular dish on the menu, like the beef kalbi and teriyaki chicken, which is what I usually order to gauge and rank the quality of a Hawaiian restaurant.
I cry constantly that there is not a gem of a Hawaiian restaurant like Bruddah's here in OC. But next time I'm in the neighborhood, I might have to try the lau lau and kalua pork at Bob's Okazu-ya to see if they can match Bruddah's, which they have so far in my book.
Bruddah's Hawaiian Foods
1033 W Gardena Blvd
Tu-Thur 8AM-8PM, Fri-Sat 7AM-9PM,
Sun 7AM-8PM, closed Mondays
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