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Aug 30, 2006 05:55 AM

Oahu report - mostly North Shore

We just got back from a week renting a house on the North Shore of Oahu. Since we had a kitchen, we didn't get to try that many restaurants, but we managed to fit in quite a few local specialties nonetheless.
Some of the highlights were Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, of course, and live shrimp from Fumi's; shave ice -- my favorite flavor was li hung mui with adzuki beans and ice cream; and everything from Ted's Bakery, not just the pies but also the malasadas and spam musubi.
Here's some pictures:

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  1. The shrimp from the North Shore is amazing. The best spicy shrimp ever! You hit it with the shave ice too. I'm so jealous. I didn't have time to have my shave ice the last time I went to Oahu. Li hing mui is such an acquired taste. It's great as a margarita as well.

    1. Oh, that li hing mui shave ice is amazing! I got that on my first try of shave ice ever (going by my chowhound rule of thumb -- if I've never heard of it, I'll try it!) and it was definitely my favorite. Did you try the li hing mui powder on pineapple?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Amuse Bouches

        No, but now I wish I had brought some back to try the margaritas the other poster mentioned as well as the pineapple! The only caution is that some of the things with li hing mui have aspartame added, I almost got sick from a bag of dried mango because I'm not used to artificial sweeteners -- so you have to check the ingredients carefully.

        1. re: Chowpatty

          True. We bought one back that didn't even have plum in it -- it was basically just a colored sweet and salty powder. We ended up throwing it out and buying some with the dried plum AND the licorice.

          1. re: Amuse Bouches

            Funny, I have family in Hawaii, so I was exposed to li hing mui at an early age and never much cared for it. Then, two years ago I visited Hawaii and fell in love with li hing mui flavored shave ice. Go figure. My childhood memory of li hing mui is that it had a distinct saltiness to it, but the shave ice flavoring wasn't like that at all.

      2. How did you find the house rental -- and was it windy there? Are there plentiful restaurants in the area if we decide not to cook?

        1. For poke fiends, there is a Tamura's market in Ha'ula very close to the North Shore (well, close to turtle bay). They have some of the best poke in the islands. Also, there is a trailer grill right next to Foodland that always serves up super fresh fish. We love the place. Finally, a new Thai place in Haleiwa is quite good, my friends tell me. Also, for breakfast, Cafe Haleiwa is really good -- hefty breakfast burritos. If you want to avoid the lines at Kua'Aina, call in a take-out order and go to the beach to eat. You won't have to park or wait. It's much better.

          1. There's some good restaurant suggestions below -- I've heard the sushi place in Haleiwa is good too, as well as the Grass Skirt Grill in the old Ku Aina location. It depends on how long you're staying and how many trips to the shrimp trucks you feel like doing -- I think if you're there more than four or five days, you would get tired of the North Shore restaurants and want to do some cooking too. Of course, if you're there that long, you'll probably want to drive into Honolulu anyway. We found our rental through -- very reasonably priced.