- kare_raisu Apr 15, 2007 06:09 PM
I am looking for some reccomendations on places not to miss and their best dishes. Thank you!
Probably not exactly what you're looking for, but here's a suggestion for you that's in-between the realms of savory and sweet...
As for myself I cannot imagine making a trip to the islands without visiting my favorite store, the "Crack Seed Center" in Ala Moana mall and other locations. (http://www.crackseedcenter.com/ ) Think of it like an "Aji Ichiban" store (http://www.ajiichiban.com.hk/eng/inde... ) on steroids... If you're familiar with "Li Hing Mui", then you know what just one of the major categories of snacks this store carries... (http://www.crackseedcenter.com/Produc...)
The store's reminiscent of an old-style candy store, apothecary, or Chinese herb shop, but focused on selling by weight all kinds of preserved and dried fruits, fish, seafood, shellfish, meats, and rice crackers, all meant for snacking. Kind of like Trader Joe's dried fruit and nuts section but with an Asian twist and reinterpreted into a specialty store format.
Growing up we used to call these "sour plums" or "Li Hing Mui", and whoever would bring some to school would have many of their classmates begging for a taste. In the islands they call it "crack seed", which makes it sound almost illicit, and to top it off it's very addictive (due to it's taste!)... Here's a short Wikipedia entry on it that explains the reason behind the name "crack seed". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_seed)
Note: this is not the cheapest place to buy such items, but it's worth it in that it brings together a large selection under one roof.
Gulick Deli, on South King Street and their original location in Kalihi on Gulick Ave. One of the best okazuya around Honolulu IMO. Almost everything is well done here, the problem is deciding what to get. We almost always order too much because everything looks so good as you go down the line of dishes.
Fukuya near all the flower shops in UH has the typical okazuya fare. There are always a few older Japanese ladies behind the counter ready to assist you in choosing from the various dishes. When I go with my family we get musubis (furikake and nori), chow-fun, teriyaki beef, potato hash and ahi. They also have all kinds of pickled treats like namasu, nishime and takuan.
Tried Mitsu-ken a few weeks ago. The garlic chicken wasn't as garlicky as Sugoi's, which was a good thing. They are generous with the furikake, so let them know if you don't want tons. Lots of rice in the bento too. The musubis were pretty good and really cheap. Huge cone sushi, though not my favorite because of the size and overall flavor. All in all, a good experience and I'll definitely be back.