Little Pika’s on Guam serves up tasty Chamorro meals

Little Pika’s on Guam serves up tasty Chamorro meals

by Anne Jing Ping Wen
Stripes Guam

Known for its island hospitality and loco moco, Little Pika’s showcases locally sourced items and Chamorro greetings.The Tumon restaurant, now open from breakfast to dinner, delivers an abbreviated new menu, with fan favorites including eggs benedict, tinaktak burgers, and an assorted variety of Chamorro fried rice.

According to manager Gabriel Sinochuiz, one of the most popular comments from tourists is that Little Pika’s is unique Chamorro. When customers walk up the three steps before an automatic sliding door, waitresses greet you with a “Hafa Adai,” “Maila Halom (meaning Welcome to Guam)”, or “Si Yu’os Ma’åse.” By bringing a sense of Chamorro pride to Tumon, Little Pika’s preserves Guam’s cordial hospitality and its authentic cuisine.

The 55-seat restaurant is known for its traditional Chamorro loco moco. The famous dish contains a hamburger patty served over rice, topped with a mushroom-brown gravy, caramelized onions and sunny-side-up eggs.

“You break into that and get all that comfort food and goodness into your belly,” said Sinochuiz.

When managers first planned Little Pika’s menu, they wanted to appeal to tourists yet remain true to their original Chamorro menu. The chefs created a dish familiar to tourists’ palettes but added a Chamorro twist. The result? Little Pika’s curry loco moco. The new fan favorite combines popular Japanese curry with “secret” ingredients.

Sinochuiz noted that the sauce alone takes three hours to make, and Japanese visitors regularly remark “that it was really familiar to them, but there’s something different about it.”

For consumers who prefer burgers over rice, the tinaktak burger offers an appetizing meal choice. Often considered an unusual ingredient combination, the tinaktak burger features a hamburger patty coated with coconut milk. In fact, Sinochuiz commented that if you look at the picture, it even looks like melted cheese. Tinaktak is a traditional Chamorro dish served over rice, and the word “tinaktak” refers to the chopping noise when mincing meat.

“You still have your roasted tomatoes, creoles, balsamic onions, but our Chamorro twist is that it’s provided in a hamburger,” said Sinochiuz.

Typical restaurants seat most customers inside a building, and overflow is sent to the patio. Little Pika’s operates in an opposite way. The biggest area of seating is the patio and the inside of the restaurant fits two to four tables.

Walk-in customers unexpectedly marvel at the small size, but given the ocean views, island breezes and al fresco dining, the meals are refreshing.

People from hotels or downtown Tumon often stop by Little Pika’s for a quick bite. Given Guam’s recent surge in Korean tourists, it’s no wonder Koreans form a majority of the customers.

Though many tourists are intimidated to speak English, a warm greeting in Chamorro immediately drops that guard.

“Because a lot of our staff already worked in Tumon, they know some Korean and Japanese,” said Sinochuiz, who added that waitresses enthusiastically take pictures with customers and teach them how to say Chamorro words.

A typical Little Pika’s meal is delivered within eight to ten minutes. The high turnover results in fast trips in and out of the restaurant. At the busiest times, waits are expected to be only 15 minutes, and such a short waiting time satisfies the original goals of Little Pika’s to be quick and tasty. For a yummy Tinaktak Burger or curry loco moco dish, stop by Little Pika’s today and pick up your Chamorro meal.

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