Just five years ago, Monique Genereux (Mo) and Sara Pleadwell (Sa) pooled all their resources into a single food truck called MoSa’s Hotbox. With heaping helpings that threatened the structural integrity of their eco-friendly lunch plates, MoSa’s quickly became an island favorite.
In January, MoSa’s Joint moved to Marine Drive in Hågatña filling their space with works from their favorite local artists and commissioning the island’s prettiest hand-painted bar.
With fresh local ingredients and an-ever changing menu written on a white board, you’re going to want to put this in your mouth.
Killer App: Ahi Kelaguen
Also recommended: Deep-fried chicken, as one server put it, “We have a very good fryer here.”
Kelaguen is believed to have originated as a pre-fridge necessity to preserve fresh catches longer. Of course MoSa’s doesn’t have to worry about saving their meat, since their fish comes in fresh from the Co-Op just across the street. Meaty cubes of fresh ahi are marinated with lemon juice, boonie pepper, and flakes of fresh coconut. The resulting bite holds an immediate punch of sour, balanced by the mild tuna, followed up by a jab-like heat that lingers between morsels.
Kelaguen is almost always served with corn or flour titiyas, but most places just toss stiff, stales pieces of flat bread on the plate like an afterthought. Instead of using a tortilla shell base however, MoSa’s deep-fries its own pita bread into soft and chewy chips with a golden crisp. These titiyas are the perfect pedestal for the kelaguen, absorbing a bit of the acidity and adding a complimentary texture.
Sangwhich: Dinanche Bacon Swiss Burger with Waffle Fries
Also recommended: Ahi fish and chips with Asian salad will leave you wondering, Which is fresher — the fish or the greens?
Why would you go to a local restaurant and settle for an American hamburger and fries? That’s like going to France for the grilled cheese or Japan for the pizza*. Although you’re not going to find burgers at any of the village fiestas, MoSa’s use of original dinanche as a condiment on its award-winning burger patty make it well worth mentioning.
A preserve of hot peppers, MoSa’s dinanche is a kimono red paste, with a creamy texture and flakes of fresh coconut. If this were a candy egg, it would be the gooey center that pulls it all together. But the spicy sauce is a sideshow to a mean burger dressed in a hashtag of thick-cut bacon and a layer of nutty Swiss cheese. There is a pickle and tomato buried somewhere in the bun, but those flavors are lost to the dominating dance of meaty goodness.
*Actually those experiences wouldn’t be complete without croque-monsieur or okonomiyaki. Sometimes the so-called classics are the most delightfully surprising things you can order.
Chef’s Special: Shitake Miso Loco Moco
Also Recommended: Greek pie, because where else on Guam can you find a Greek pie?
Why does fish taste better when you can see the ocean out the window? A true beach house Loco Moco, MoSas’ is made not with beef but fresh, locally sourced mahi mahi. The fish is crispy on the outside, and flakey on the inside, doused in a tangy, slightly smoky miso mushroom gravy. Don’t insult this gravy with Tabasco, instead mix in a spoonful of coco-nutty and spicy dinanche. Served on a bed of white rice, and topped with an egg from the University of Guam Triton Farm, it’s hard to find a dish more local that this.
Daily deserts range from mango cheesecake to mocha crème bruée. With homey, hearty comfort food, the best thing after a MoSa’s meal is of course a leisurely stroll around the capital of Guam.