Only in Hawaii would you find a hole-in-the-wall in another hole-in-the-wall, serving Russian street food next to Filipino plate lunch. When we arrive there’s already two customers in line.
I quickly order two lunch specials–Piroscki, fried squid, toss salad $4.99 +tax. As we wait for our food I talk story with a Japanese man in jeans, slippas and a five o’clock shadow. A customer since its original location across Fort Street he jokes “we used to call these Russian manapua.”
The line gets longer as two local women wait their turn. One of them orders a dozen. “I’ll wait” she says and smiles. As we talk she explains she catches the bus from Waianae to run errands and tries to make a stop here whenever she can.
The menu at Rada’s is small–three kinds of Piroscki (Piroshki), fried squid, and toss salad. Like Manapuas, the Piroscki and squid are a quick and cheap snack at $2 (including tax).
The dough can be seen from the window as it’s stuffed and fried. Lorna learned to make the Piroscki from her great-aunt who learned to make them from Rada, the original owner.
Like the restaurant, the Piroscki is a pocket of nostalgia. Some customers have been coming here for decades. In fact, according to Lorna, Rada’s has been selling these Russian Manapuas for almost 50 years!
I’ve never had a Piroscki or even a Piroshki before, but at $2 you can’t go wrong. We ordered the lunch special, but skip the salad if you’re on the go. Like all good street food, Pirsockis can be eaten with one hand and the fried squid comes in a paper bag. Be sure to get dressing. The sweet dill vinaigrette is great for dipping.
A quick sampling of the Filipino food offerings.
Coming here was all about the experience. It’s a wonderful mishmash of cultures that Hawaii is so good at embracing. As we eat our Russian manapuas, next to the Filipino counter, a Chinese Lion Dance parades down the mall in celebration of the Lunar New Year. A multi-cultural education and a show for two bucks…Only in Hawaii.