Featured Photo: Sione Maumalanga (far right) and members of the Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine team are preparing for the June 4 launch of their food truck at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market.
It boggles the mind that there’s not a restaurant serving Hawaiian cuisine on every other corner in every major city in Louisiana. Hawaiian culinary traditions include heaping platters of rice, beef, gravy and potato salad (like in Louisiana, Hawaiians just call these plate lunches) and dishes incorporating slow-roasted pork (Hawaii’s answer to the cochon de lait is called kalua pork). But there’s also musubi (the most famous version, SPAM musubi, is a slice of grilled SPAM atop a block of sushi rice), Kahuku garlic shrimp (shell-on prawns prepared with lots of garlic, butter and lemon juice) and more. Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine, a new, Shreveport-based food truck that will debut at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market on Saturday, June 4, 2016, will be serving all of the above.
“I’m gonna cook what I grew up eating,” Ono’s owner Sione Maumalanga told me. “I was born in Oahu and I grew up in Tahiti. I grew up eating island food, and that’s what I’m planning to represent.”
If Sione seems familiar, that may be because he’s one of the better-known servers in Shreveport-Bossier’s fine dining scene, where he built a following by serenading tables with his truly remarkable singing. Sione says that he’ll hang onto his job as a server at Jimmy’s Seafood and Steak at Margaritaville Resort Casino. He credits Chef Frederick Ngo of Jimmy’s (who we’ve written about here) as being a mentor and a source of inspiration. He plans to sing to food truck customers, too, despite the lack of white tablecloths.
“When it gets really busy, I’ll come out and sing for the line and play the guitar and ukulele,” Sione said. While he’s singing, his line cooks – three burly Hawaiian guys from Sione’s rugby club – will presumably handle the cooking duties. The entire equation makes Ono’s a fascinating newcomer to Shreveport-Bossier’s culinary scene.
Like Ono’s Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine on Facebook.
Follow Ono’s on Instagram at @OnosHawaiiTruck.
Love local food? Check out the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s latest culinary guide, Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.