Heiho House is a restaurant in Honolulu that has a lot of Filipino influence on its menu. The place also prides itself on its cocktails. The vibe is a mix of bar scene and izakaya. NOTE: The entrance is a bit hard to find. Uber dropped us off at the address indicated but the entrance was down an alley and hallway. There was a street entrance in the back too. Its best to just ask the other local restaurants if you can’t find it (apparently, they were used to it).
We started with a few cocktails which the restaurant obviously put a lot of thought into.
Our first dish was the shrimp toast that was inspired by ensaymada (a Spanish pastry that was brought to the Philippines). This was a creative play on ensaymada but I prefer ensaymada and shrimp toast on their own.
This was followed by bistek and pork belly inihaw (Filipino BBQ). These were a bit salty, and I prefer traditional inihaw. As with many fusion/modern interpretation places, it is hard to execute well because the fusion needs to improve on the original and blow the diner away. The traditional are traditional for a reason. They have stood the test of time. They have been perfected so tough to beat.
The next dish was a very interesting on. Pancit Canton Salad: crispy egg noodles, pork shank, spicy aioli, okonomiyaki sauce, pickled fern shoots and rainbow chard.
I did not know what to expect when I ordered it, but I thought this dish was pretty good and creative.
For our main, we had the daily special. Fish and their interpretation of Filipino garlic fried rice (sinangag).
The fish was pretty good. Simple and well cooked. However, it should of been served with some Filipino vinegar on the side. The garlic fried rice was disappointing. I believe they added some shard to it which totally ruined the taste. Sinangag is one of the best, and most simple Filipino dishes. Its delicious and the perfect companion to many Filipino dishes. In fact, rice is the star of a Filipino meal. This is evident by the word “Ulam” which roughly means side dish, but is used to describe what you are going to have with rice. For example, “what is the ulam”? If the response was chicken adobo, the implication is that “we are having chicken adobo WITH our rice”.
For dessert we had their interpretation of the famous Filipino dessert halo halo and and an adobo ice cream.
The halo halo was disappointing and did not resemble the classic at all. The adobo ice cream was interesting and pretty good. Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. It is basically a protein cooked in a soy sauce and vinegar sauce. Its a unique flavor for ice cream and this place did it well.
Overall, the service was pretty good. The servers were passionate about the cocktails. The food was interesting but so so. The atmosphere was good. I would come for drinks rather than food. I ended with another interesting cocktail.
1 thought on “Lots of Filipino influence at this Honolulu Restaurant”
So FFT to end dining with a cocktail! Style! Nice dissection of the meal components to share which are worthy of consuming and which are not. Poorly made garlic fried rice is a common misstep of filipino fusion attempts because there is perception the dish is too simple and maybe patrons wont feel cost is justified. If I am resto owner I would offer both options for those who want a fusion dish and for those who want traditional, after all, very very easy to have both available daily. Did you find the umami level satisfactory? I wonder if the fusion chef went so far as to distance the flavours from traditional Filipino by excluding msg from the dishes.