Mama Peaches Cajun Hut is proof that good food need not be fancy.
Yes, Mama Peaches in Hagatna, Guam, is literally a hut. There’s no dining room, just a few tables and chairs on the deck of the window where you order.
But for all its simplicity, Mama Peaches serves food that is extraordinarily complex — rich, spicy but not overpowering — and completely satisfying. The menu is built around Cajun classics, such as etoufee, jambalaya and the fried shrimp “po boy” sandwich.
Born from a blend of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Native American and African influences that came together in Louisiana in the mid-19th century, Cajun food is rustic, zesty and guaranteed to stick to your ribs.
The fare at Mama Peaches is home-cooked, a quality that can’t be replicated in fast-food joints like Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the ubiquitous chain found on military bases around the world. It’s a little expensive but well worth the couple extra bucks you’ll spend.
I opted for the gumbo ($8.95), a stew-like concoction brimming with chicken, Andouille sausage and shrimp, ladled over rice and served with a sweet corn bread muffin. The gravy was velvety — not too thick and not too thin — coating the meat, poultry, seafood and rice perfectly.
Best of all, I could taste the roux. What’s roux? It’s a mixture of cooked flour and fat used as a base in many Cajun and Creole dishes. Good rouxs are made in iron skillets or pots, which is no doubt how it’s prepared at Mama Peaches. Along with being a thickening agent, it also adds a nutty richness to dishes like gumbo an etoufee.
The place is named for the cook and owner, Mama Peach, born in Lafayette, La., and married to a retired Army chief warrant officer. Their 24-year-old son, Dominic Waller, who has been cooking with his mom since he was 13, mans the kitchen when she’s not there.
If you go, bring a friend and your appetite. The hearty portions are enough to serve two. I was too full to try the beignets — French doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar. But I’ll definitely stop back by next time I’m in Guam.
Where: Hagatna, Guam, at the corner of Archbishop Flores Street and West O’Brien Drive (across the street from the Guam Judicial Center).
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (catering and delivery available for large orders).
Prices: $8.95-$18.95, credit cards accepted.