It's food that transports you to a tropical paradise with each and every bite.
"It’s just yummy, it reminds us of Hawaii," said Jolla Huff. "The flavor is spot on!" added her husband, Mike.
"We just wanted to bring the love we have for Hawai'i to everyone in Seattle," said Michael Zander, the man responsible for the flavorful experience that is Hapa Food Co. From a food truck parked near Samena Swim Club in Bellevue, Hapa is dishing up some seriously 'ono" grub (that's Hawaiian for "delicious").
"We make a lot of really good stuff!" said Zander. "We make Kalua Pig, Kalbi Ribs, Garlic Shrimp, we make Ahi Poke - we have regular and Shoyu version, which is spicy."
They feature tastes from many places.
"Hawaiian or local food is really like a grouping of all the best foods from the Pacific Rim cultures, you know, Chinese, Japanese, Native Hawaiian and even Portuguese," he said.
For Zander, this is personal.
"Food means to me, personally, a cultural connection to other people. And so no matter what culture you’re from, you can also connect."
Their menu spotlights five "Mix Plates," which he described as a grouping of multiple entrees.
One of their best loved items is a sweet treat called the malasada, a kind of Portuguese donut.
"We have a small menu and almost everything is equally as popular," he said. "[But] I would say the Malasdas are really up there, top of the list. A malasada actually has a little yeast in it, eggs, butter, flour and some other things. We have to let it proof and get really fluffy and then we put it in the fryer and they puff right up."
The outside is rolled in sugar - then, there's the filling.
"We’ll have special filling Ube, Coconut, Chocolate, Lilkoi - which is Passion Fruit," said Zander.
In case you're wondering about the name of the business, Hapa Food Company has a special significance.
"It typically means a mix of an ethnicity, maybe Asian, Hawaiian with Caucasian," explained Zander. "We actually named the business after our kids, our kids are ‘Hapa’."
That focus on family is what makes this place so special.
"You really do get that family vibes, and all that and you can see it and all that in how they are are with you and how they operate," said Jolla Huff. And that means a lot, especially during these uncertain times. "If I don’t feel like cooking or we don’t know what to do we’re like ‘Hey let’s go to the Hapa Food Truck’ and grab some food and we really do all the time - so Mike knows us."
At Hapa Food Co., the spirit of aloha is the magic ingredient in everything they do.
"It’s a blessing we don’t take for granted," said Zander. "It’s a gratitude we really try to show our customers. We really try to do everything to go above and beyond."
Hapa Food Co. currently has two food truck locations. One is located is Bellevue and the other is in Woodinville. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.