Sari Sari — Shaken, Not Stirred

Richard Butuyan is part of the Filipino food empire Elena’s in Waipahu. I’ve been going to the family establishment for more than 20 years, and you can always count on its consistency. Along with the restaurant on Kamehameha Highway, you will find Richard running one of the three Elena’s food trucks in Campbell Industrial Park, making one of my all-time favorites: Sari Sari.

No forget to cook rice with this one!


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All prepped and ready to go


* 1 long squash (opu)

* 1 long eggplant (dark purple)

* 1 bitter melon, cut into cubes

* 1 bunch on choi leaves (no stems)

* 2 medium-size tomatoes

* 2 round yellow onions

* 1 pound small peeled and deveined shrimp

* 1/2 pound roast pork (lechon kawali), chopped

* water

* patis (fish sauce), to taste

* Hawaiian salt, to taste

Cut roast pork into 1/2-by-2-inch pieces. Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Other vegetables that can be used are long beans, green beans or chayote.

Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute ginger, garlic and tomato in oil until garlic is translucent. Add roast pork and stir-fry for two to three minutes until pork is heated through.

Add in vegetables (except bitter melon) and patis (start with 1 tablespoon). Reduce heat to medium. Partially cover pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost tender. Add water, if necessary, to prevent sticking.

Add shrimp and continue cooking until shrimp are pink and done. Adjust seasoning by adding salt or additional fish sauce. Add in bitter melon. Cook until bitter melon is tender. Do not stir; shake pot instead. Do not overcook or damage bitter melon (which can be omitted if you don’t like the bitter taste).

Watch episodes with Richard and other guests on Cooking Hawaiian Style on OC16 On Demand channels 15 and 1015 or on Channels 12 and 1012 at the following times: Monday: 2 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Tuesday: 1:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday: 4:30 a.m.; Thursday: 9:30 a.m.; Friday: noon, Saturday: 5 p.m.; Sunday: 2:30 and 8 p.m. Visit for more of Richard’s recipes.