Hilo Bay Cafe: A Pork Plate Special and Dessert
Hilo Bay Cafe’s pork program adds variety to this Big Island restaurant’s menu.
Aaron Anderson, executive chef at Hilo Bay Cafe, says the restaurant purchases about two hogs per month from local slaughterhouse Kulana.
“Within the farmers on the island, we get the macnut wild boar, a Berkshire hog, a Yorkshire hog. I consider the Berkshire to be the more superior,” he said while pointing to a pork plate he made using that particular meat.
On the plate were two fatty pieces of pork and an interesting array of food, including cabbage brazed in lard, a colorful sweet potato or okinawan potato and pickled cucumber.
While the plate looked busy, Anderson said the dish is rather simple to make.
“This was pork stock, celery, carrot, onion, fresh herbs…” he said of the recipe. “It’s very simple.”
Sitting next to the pork special that day was a sweet Napoleon pastry made by Hilo Bay Cafe pastry chef Jade Gusman.
While these dishes are unlikely to be seen on the menu anytime soon, Anderson said a variety of other appealing specials can be ordered each week. You never know what you might get, he said, as the specials change just about every other day.
“The specials are going to change because we start with the whole animal and we’ll work through the bone and rib chop into the brazed pork shoulder, the shanks…we’ll take the pigs feet and make stock or pigs feet soup,” he said.
Anderson said being able to use the entire animal for a variety of recipes is one of his favorite aspects of the program.
“We consider ourselves fortunate because we get to use the whole animal,” he said explaining that even the chicharrones, or pork rinds, on the plate were made from the same pig.
Aside from buying their meat locally, Anderson said the restaurant also works with a wide range of farmers for numerous ingredients.
“It gives us a chance to use what’s in season,” he said.
Hilo Bay Cafe is located at 123 Lihiwai St. near the Suisan Fish Market. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.