Guam Diner Bytes: Terry's Local Comfort Food
“Chocho, Gimen Yan Gosa I Minagof” (“Eat, Drink and Enjoy the Happiness!”) is the perfect motto for the recently opened and relocated Terry’s Local Comfort Food restaurant, now housed in the odd-shaped building previously occupied by Sushi Ebisu Japanese Restaurant. We decided to stop by one night to see how they were adapting to their new home in Tumon. I had first reviewed Terry’s in Yigo three years ago and I really enjoyed how well they prepared Chamorro food. I remember having left overs (balutan) and eating various dishes for several days after.
Although the owner, Tessie Bordallo, wasn’t there during our visit, we were able to order some dishes that we thought would give us ample opportunity to evaluate how well they were doing. For a newly opened restaurant, they did fairly well so I can recommend them. Since they put a sign board outside that has photos of their dishes they got immediate results, since tourists could see what kind of food they were serving.
We saw tourists eating there along with local families. I suggested to our server that they put food photos on the menu to help guests with their selections. Still, Terry’s has a nice, cozy homey feel to it, and the walls are decorated with paintings, art pieces, and local collectibles that reflect the island’s culture.
First to come was our appetizer, Hagan Suni ($5.49, which is spinach made local style). This is a tasty way to start and usually has taro leaves (which can be substituted with spinach leaves), which are cooked in coconut milk.
Next came our Fiesta Plate, ($11.89 - fried chicken, ribs, chicken kelaguen, pancit, shrimp patty). This also has 2 scoops of red rice and soy finadene. This is a representative “Chamorro Fiesta Plate” and if you showed this photo to any local, they would know exactly how each item is supposed to taste!
Best items on this plate were the fried chicken, then the chicken kelaguen. It’s a decent kelaguen that has a few chopped boonie peppers inside, so be careful! The rib may have needed more marination as it seemed bland. This dish could have had barbecue chicken instead of fried. My ribs at the previous Terry’s was better.
The parrot fish with rice and salad ($14.55) was brought out next and I definitely wanted to take this photo! The parrot fish was medium sized, cooked perfectly (crispy and moist), and instead of red or steamed white rice, we replaced it with another side salad (cabbage slaw), which was also very good. The only thing I would have liked with this parrot fish is the lemon or vinegar finadene. We had forgotten to order tatiyas (2) $3.25 earlier so got some and had them fried. These are best with the kelaguens.
Our server let us know about their dinner specials, and the first one we ordered was a Tinaktak dish, which we found out to our dismay they didn’t have, so we settled on the other special, the Ham Hocks and Mongo Beans ($13.75). I actually ordered this so I could take its photo. It is a local favorite and Terry’s prepares this with pride. This dish we tasted and then packed to take home.
Terry’s menu has a variety of other local standards you would find on any fiesta table. This include kadon pika, chamoru bisteak, short ribs with grilled onions, chop steak with veggies and rice, and beef & shrimp kelaguen. We were then offered dessert and decided on the Champulado - $4.99, which is a huge favorite for so many locals who grew up with this chocolate, pudding like dessert made with white rice. This was served hot, although I’ve had versions of this chilled.
I commend Tessie and her family for taking the risk to put an authentic Chamorro food restaurant in Tumon. Although the parking is limited, they have a wonderful opportunity to attract those walking by their eatery. It’s almost impossible to miss the big signboard on the sidewalk in front. Those pictures of the fried and barbecue chicken, red rice, ribs, and finadene is all it takes since that is one of our visitor’s missions on Guam - to try the local cuisine. It’s eating the local food served at the Chamorro Village food stalls, only without flies!
For those of us who live in the Tamuning area, Terry’s has come to our rescue when we need to order take-out! When you live on Guam you just get these cravings for kelaguen, kadon pika, or local fried chicken. They are open seven days a week! Come down and get your local fix at Terry’s in Tumon, a place for local comfort food!
Ken “The Guam Food Guy” Stewart