Time for Zippy's Portuguese Bean Soup

As the “chilly” winter island weather continues to be conducive for body and soul warming comfort foods, this time I had da’ “onos” (craving) for Portuguese Bean Soup.

Yeah, all you mainland folks who just read that are probably ROFL’ing at just the thought of me saying Hawaii’s weather is EVER “chilly”. This, when temperatures in Honolulu are currently in the low 80s in the day and 60s at night, while readers just on this blog alone have reported recent temperatures in San Francisco in the 20s and Montana in the SUB-20s! B-B-BRRRRRRR!

Well hey, making the most of whatever it is we consider “winter” here in Hawaii, I’m taking advantage of it at the dining table with another Zippy’s favorite, their Portuguese Bean Soup. This being hot off the heels of my recent post on their also excellent cold weather dish, the Zip Min.

While I gotta’ admit I can make a mighty fine pot of Portuguese Bean Soup myself, when it comes to what you can get from a restaurant, Zippy’s example of the dish is as good as it gets, and best of all, I don’t have to cook! Their Portuguese Bean Soup is EXCELLENT in my opinion, and I’m sure one of their best selling dishes, regardless of the weather outside.

It has just the right amount of thickness, almost on the verge of being considered a stew, yet thin enough to slurp every last drop off your spoon. Best part is this hearty soup is loaded with plenty of the good stuff…

In that photo where I transferred the Zippy’s PBS into a porcelain saimin bowl, you can see spooned up slices of Portuguese Sausage, Macaroni, Kidney Beans and diced potato. There’s also sliced celery and cabbage in it. Floating at the surface is a chunk of super-tender and savory good smoked ham hock meat, which is the true GOLD in the bowl, where depending on your luck in how the cook ladled your order, sometimes there’s huge chunks of it. Yum-num-num-num.

Speaking of smoked ham hocks, you can really taste that as the main essence of the soup broth, which is what truly defines a great bowl of PBS. The tomato sauce part of the broth is also well-balanced and in perfect harmony with the flavor imparted by the smoked ham hocks. There’s also a little spicy bite to it, like they add either tobasco or ceyenne pepper. It’s very subtle, but there.

Deviating for a moment, Notice in the first photo that by default they serve it with Diamond Soda Crackers, which is my number one favorite cracker. I always keep a big Costco-sized box in my pantry. I like these individually-wrapped ones even better, as they’re a little more crispy than the ones in the bulk-sized box bag…

Gotta’ say though, the Sky Flakes Crackers imported from the Philippines give Diamond Soda Crackers a run for the money. Good stuff. Both make EXCELLENT soup crackers.

With that, when eating soup, I like to roughly crumble up the soda cracker then sprinkle it on the surface of the soup like this…

I do this one cracker at a time so that it stays crispy as I grab each spoonful of soup along with some of the crumbled crackers. After I finish one cracker’s worth, then I crumble another cracker, and another cracker, right down to the last drop of soup. So ono like that.

Some of you folks might like doing it this way, where  you place the thick soup and its goodies ON the cracker….

That works too, but I like the crumbled-cracker-in-the-bowl method better, as the broken edges allows it to partially soak up the broth, giving the cracker this wonderful dual soggy-meets-crunchy texture.

Bet you never thought the simplest of things in life such as eating soup could get so deep in thought, did you?  Or, I’m just weird like that. lol

If crackers aren’t your thing, Zippy’s dine-in restaurant offers a Portuguese Bean Soup Meal, which includes a side dish of two scoops rice and one scoop mac’ salad…

You can also substitute crackers for rice at the takeout counter, which they place the rice under the soup, just like the chili rice bowl.

Zippy’s also sells their Portuguese Bean Soup in the freezer section at the grocery store, alongside their famous chili. Like the batches served at all their restaurants, these, along with many of their other menu items are centrally prepared at Zippy’s processing plant in Waipio, next door to their restaurant.

What? Zippy’s Portuguese Bean Soup
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Nimitz Zippy’s, $3.25 for large take0ut bowl.
Big Shaka to: In contention of winning Hawaii’s Best Portuguese Bean Soup from a Restaurant award. Generous helping of goodies, including Portuguese Sausage, smoked hamhock meat, tender kidney beans, diced potatoes, celery and cabbage. Nice and thick viscosity. Nailed it on the broth flavor.
No shaka to: Spilling soup on my shirt. Arctic blasts.
SPAM Musubi rating: 5


19 thoughts on “Time for Zippy's Portuguese Bean Soup

  1. That looks so yummy, I wish there was a Zippy’s here (eastern Oregon) where we have been stuck in fog and freezing temperatures for so long! Actually, my favorite PBS (from memory) was from Tiki Tops…my family used to eat there somewhat regularly, and I would always order that!

  2. looks ono brah! Im suprised that zippy’s, with all their success, has nevah branched out to neighbor islands (i think) or to da mainland! If L&L’s can be a successful franchise, I don’t see why Zippy’ couldn’t…….they are definately missing out on some moolah to be made.

  3. Kelly, in order to maintain quality control, Zippy’s prefers to operate entirely under corporate management, and not under independently-owned franchises. FYI, Zippy’s opened their first neighbor island location on Maui in Kahului in August of 2008. Surprisingly it’s not performing as well as expected, although I’m sure they’ll succeed in the long run when the economy picks up.
    Ann, ah, Tiki Tops! Now you’re “dating” yourself. lol Are you from Kaneohe too? My late father (who was pure Portuguese) also thought very highly of Zippy’s PBS, also noting Like Like Drive Inn made a pretty darned good bowl of PBS. That’s another place I have to blog.

  4. Perfect timing — I was about to make Portuguese Bean Soup this week. Been saving a ham bone from Thanksgiving and picked up the veggies this week. Just need to throw it all into the crock pot! I may be changing the recipe out a bit from my mom’s, so hopefully it doesn’t cause a ruckus amongst the traditionalists!

  5. Sometimes my mainland family members ask if I ever plan to move back (nope), and my mind scrolls through all the hundreds of things that I would miss too much if I did. PBS would be right up there! (Well, that and having to wear shoes… 😉 )

    General opinion needed from Pomai and everyone; I have a nice quantity of good ham left over in the freezer from Christmas, and I was thinking about firing up the PBS recipe from this blog. The ham’s off the bone, unfortunately. Would it be a travesty to go ahead and do it anyway without the ham hocks? I’m sure it would be tasty, but I don’t want the universe to start spinning around in the wrong direction or anything….LOL

  6. Pomai, when I have time make my own but sometime head to Zippy for some. Last left San Francisco back to Honolulu it was 47 degree now been back the temperture not bad in Honolulu compare to San Francisco. I had a hot and sour soup in San Francisco Chinatown with potstickers and green onion pancakes and mushu pork with mandarin pancakes a day before i left.

    Soups sold well in San Francisco everywhere during this cold front the best was Clam Chowder a slice of heated sourdough bread. Had it at Bloomingdale food court.

  7. mmm that looks yummy! The only thing I have tried at Zippy’s is the Korean Chicken and it was SO delicious! Have you tried it?
    I live in CA now, and the only taste of “Hawaii” we have is L&L… oh well, it’s better than nothing I guess!

  8. Potsticker @150 Waverly Place and Washington St In Chinatown. Their seasame seed crusted chicken is not bad also. It near the Waverly Place Alley.

  9. Julia, even though they have many more locations, I hope one day, just one day, L&L will be as great as Zippy’s is. They have a long way to go, but with some tweaking of their concept, menu and marketing, they can do it.

    Ann, ah, Puohala. I’m from Alii Shores.

    Raph, you must be referring to Pajeon, the Korean Pancake.

    Amy, sounds like you often travel back and forth from Oahu to California. 

    Marcus, I really think the smoked ham hocks are the key ingredient, yet maybe the smokiness of the ham itself might be enough to make it work. Ham hocks are fairly cheap (Foodland on Maui should have it) that there isn’t any reason not to use it. Still, since you have so much ham, perhaps the smokiness from the meat might be enough to carry it through. So if you don’t wanna’ spend any more money on it than necessary, go ahead and try it with just the ham. Make your stock using chicken stock, the ham bone and some of the ham meat. That should work. I think it’ll still come out pretty decent. Not like the “PBS Police” will come knockin’ on your door. lol

    If you follow the recipe I gave, guaranz you’ll be very pleased with the result. Let us know how your PBS turns out!

    Wasabi Prime, I got a new crock pot for Christmas, so I’ll be doin’ some stuff with that in the near future. I like “fire ‘n forget” cooking. So easy.

  10. Y’know, after I posted that last one, I thought… shoot, ham hocks are cheap, might as well do it right. I agree, there’s something about that flavor and texture. I don’t want to make a batch of PBS, taste it, and just go “ehhh…” I’ll save that ham for something else.

    Nice nip in the air now, good time for PBS.

  11. @pomai i’ve had pajeon before–it’s texture is a bit fluffier and soft, the one amy is referring to (if i think that’s what she’s referring to!) is a bit more chewier & crisper. it is the bomb!!!!! when in NYC, i had some at ollies (they have a few places around manhattan) and it was really really really good. i think making them is easy….just that i’ve been too chicken to try it myself.

    @amy i’ll def check that out sometime!

  12. @Rapael Tran there a good place in honolulu @littlevillage.com. Little Village on Smith Street great green onion pancake Chinese stylewith potstickers, hot and sour soup and mushu pork too. I make my own when I have time if any .

  13. It Little Village Noodle House at 1113 Smith St. Great Chinese Green Onion that is crispy not like the Korean one made with batter it different for it made with flour and water dough. For the cold weather the Hot and Sour Soup hit the spot.

  14. Aaron, Little Village Noodle House does really good business. I hear really good things about them. Gotta’ add them on my blog to-do list as well.
    Raph, thanks for clearing that up. Looks like I’ll be able to sample what you’re talking about at Little Village Noodle House. The Chinatown “isssues” don’t scare me away. I think.

  15. pomai no worries 😀 just got back from a pounding storm in SoCal. got my pastrami fix at Langer’s Deli in LA. looks like i’ll have to figure out on some green onion pancakes this week!!!!

  16. pomai, so i attempted making pbs a while ago and i had a really hard time with the ham hocks, i couldn’t get ANY meat off of them so i am wondering if i could use my ham bone from christmas (as others have mentioned) in addition to the ham hocks for the stock and then use the ham for the meat and not bother with the hocks?! do you think that would work? maybe i just wasnt cooking hte ham hocks long enough? i think the recipe i used called for an hour of boiling… let me know your thoughts!

  17. Chiemi, yeah, you definitely didn’t simmer the ham hocks long enough. It takes at least 2 hours for the ham hock meat to start falling off the bone. According to my PBS recipe, you simmer the ham hocks for 2-1/2 hours. Perhaps even longer if necessary, depending how many and how big they are. You’ll know when they’re ready by poking and pulling at it with the tongs around the 2 hour mark. Then keep checking it.
    As for adding the ham bones, I think that’s a great idea. That absolutely should work and add lots more flavor to the broth. I say go for it. Use the ham meat too if you got some.
    Try it again and let us know how it turns out. 🙂

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