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Jul 26, 2007 08:01 AM

Cheap eats for UH student

I'll be starting up at UH in a few weeks, and I know the cafeteria food will get old...quick. Any suggestions for cheap eats withgenerous portions for a big eatin student? It would help if it was close or on a bus car yet.

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  1. Aloha N2UH!

    Not sure where you are from, but if it isn't from Hawaii, food prices are going to scare you (if they haven't already). For cheap eats you probably aren't going to beat the UH meal plan, but like you said... it can get tired after a while. Even going to McDonald's or Burger King are around $6 or $7 by the time you "supersize" (and I don't know many college students who don't supersize). So in the $6-$8 range places "near" UH that you might want to consider include:

    La Pizzarina, South King just DH of Keeamoku - on the #1 bus line (west/ewa bound). Great Pizza, OK pasta, good sandwiches, good size portions, reasonable prices.

    Fro-Yo: Just down the street from Pizzarina lowfat frozen yogurt, good prices, big servings, good flavor.

    Duck Kee: Chinese food on 12th ave in Kaimuki, a half block from Waialae. #1 bus up Waialae (east/DH bound busses)

    Pho South King: In Moiliili, just before the road slopes uphill. A short walk from the dorms. Really good pho, but not the cheapest in town, still a good value, generous servings.

    Graces Market City: Market City is at the intersection of Kapiolani and South King, near Kaimuki High School, a short walk from the dorms. Plate lunch specialties include Chicken Katsu & Katsu Curry. The daily specials are usually good. Chili is OK. They have both regular and mini plates for most items.

    Gina's BBQ: Also at market city. Big servings of good Korean food. Probably should have been first on my list for you. Get a mixed plate, extra vegetables instead of rice (cook that in a rice cooker in your dorm room) take it back and you have two meals.

    Rainbow Drive-In: Near the bottom of Kapahulu, the # 14 bus runs once an hour (half hour peak periods), but for a young healthy UH student, it isnt that far (maybe 1.5 miles from the dorm). Can't beat the BBQ steak (teri beef), the Boneless Chicken, and the Chili Dog Plate is good too. Good size portions, reasonable prices - less than Zippy's anyhow. A steady diet of plate lunch will kill you. LOL

    W&M Burgers: On Waialae just DH of CityMill (around 2nd ave), across from Pizza Hut (walking distance). Not the cheapest burgers, but when you are tired of the chains, these are really good.

    St. Louis Drive-In. A block further up Waialae from W&M, across the street. Gets mixed reviews from people I know, but their bento used to be considered one of the best in town (bento is usually bbq meat, probably a piece of fish, some spam or hot dog, all served over a bed of rice).

    Teddy's Bigger Burgers: Bottom of Kapahulu (#14 bus) three doors up from Kalakaua. Some of the best burgers in town. Pretty reasonably priced (and their prices include tax)

    Get to know the Kaimuki (especially), Kapahulu, Moiliili, and Pawaa/McCully neighborhoods (Waialae Ave, Kapahulu Ave, South King St). There are a TON of restaurants, from the very best (Alan Wong's, 3660) to the lowest common denominator (McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc), and everything else in between. A lot of them are a good value, if not actually cheap. For some, especially the Asian restaurants you are probably better off going with a couple of friends and splitting the check, that way you can order a bigger variety - order family style.

    Lucky you live Hawaii !

    7 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      Wow, that's a great list. Also add...

      Fukuya - on King St. near the flower shops.

      Waiola's in Moiliili. Shave ice. Better to walk there anyway because there's never any parking.

      If you walk down University to the intersection of King and University you can catch the #1 bus which will take you either into Kaimuki or along King St. towards downtown in the other direction.

      1. re: cowfish

        that's the one that i keep forgetting the name of... yeah i usually just wait in the car while we do a shave ice drive by... pretty good.. and it's not a drive like matsumoto's....

        1. re: kinipela

          Pretty good??? thems fighting words...LOL

          seriously, its by far the best shave ice on the island... so much better than matsumotos

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            hahahah yeah, i agree.. but some folks get possessive about the matsumoto's... HAHAHAHAH and don't they give you more even???

            1. re: kinipela

              i think so. and i prefer the original location (moiliili) slightly to the Kapahulu shop... which is distressingly close to rainbow drive in....

              let me know when you gonna be here kinipela...we go grind

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                i didn't even know there was a kapahulu location! hahahah

                and shoots! i'm there in a few months! i'm counting down the days and i'm already planning my food schedule.. i have my usual haunts, but since joining chowhound, there's so much more that i haven't been to yet... have you been to the todai?? i hear that that one is THE one to go to.. but i'm a bit wary.. i'm also curious.. HAHAHAH

                1. re: kinipela

                  On the advice of many local friends I have avoided todai. I enjoy sushi, but am not the connisuer they are, so I have to take their word for it that the sushi is not up to snuf. They do (grudgingly) admit that it is better than the todai locations on the mainland. But, hey, what does this dumb haole know about raw fish?

                  I can't say I was ever impressed by Manko Cha-ya either. I think I'll stick to Genki and Kahala Zippy's for sushi. Which gets back to the OP, zippy's is a real good deal for sushi, but only at the Kahala and Pearl City locations.

    2. i love all these restauratns.. i like hks too.. but for the life of me, i can't rememebr which street it's on.. they are known for their fried saimin....

      and there's always zippy's.. i was craving a zip pac the other day... hahahah

      6 Replies
      1. re: kinipela

        near UH in the moilili area is:
        - well bento ("healthy" plate lunches, but nonetheless very, very good, esp that tahini gravy they pour over the rice!)
        - if you ever wanted to have ice cream for lunch, the go to Bubbies, make sure to get some mochi ice cream
        - near Bubbies is Ezogiko for Chinese style ramen - i really like the mapo tofu ramen
        - across the street is curry house, alway reliable!
        - you have tons of restaurant choices going up and down king st, closer to UH is Spices (thai, east asian food), bistro sun, india cafe...the list goes on forever!
        - i second kaimukiman's la pizza rina recommendation...good food at great prices!

        Getting to know the bus system will really help, I used it all through high school and it really gets you everywhere! :)

        1. re: kathyyl


          great suggestions, but some of them don't seem to meet his budgetary constraints, even though they may be a good value for what you spend. Spices, bistro sun, and india cafe are all gonna break the bank i think. How is that curry place down near longs (accross stadium park), there is also a bbq place there that used to be good, as well as a chinese restaurant that wasn't bad.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            ooh, good point!
            i think the name of the curry place is Restaurant Yamagen?
            (reid reviews it here:
            and mine is here:
            )...tiny place but good food! They also do some sort of early bird special, but I don't know the details on that.

            1. re: kathyyl

              Wasn't thinking of Yamagen, thats one of my fav hole-in-the-wall Japanese places - right next to longs (very reasonable prices). The place I was thinking of is in "Old Stadium mall". It is vegetarian/indian style, i think it might be called Madras Curry or something like that. There is a Japanese curry place (koko ichiban?) in Pucks alley, as well as another one next to gracies at Market City.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                This one? ( If it is, I've been meaning to go there! We need more Indian food on our islad, lol. Any recs?

                1. re: kathyyl

                  Some friends of mine from that corner of the world tell me we don't have any good Indian food here. I used to think Zaffron was OK, but agree with the OnoKineGrindz comment that the food has gone downhill. I was never impressed wiht India House either. Last time I was there Maharani on South King (Next to Subway across Star Market) was good. I tried Madras once, but back then they only had vegetarian, and somehow it just didn't draw me back. I should give it another try. To be honest, it just seemed kind of bland.

      2. When I went to UH (years ago), I ate a lot at Island Manapua Factory at Manoa Marketplace. An order of beef chow fun could be 2 meals for some. Xlnt pork hash here.

        1. A GREAT place on campus (believe it or not) would be at the Sustainability Courtyard. Look for Govinda's lunch cart, right across from Ono Pono. The food is vegetarian, with daily menu changes.... and it is SO good. (It'll convert even the meat-eaters!) The portions are really generous, and it's a good deal for the amount of food that you get. I recommend the plate lunch (fresh salad, 2 dishes, rice, a little dessert, a cup of savory soup) and a refreshing order of the ginger lemonade.
          I'm not a UH student, so it's a rare occasion when I get to go on campus.... but I always try to find an excuse to go on errands in the vicinity!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Aleka

            Wow! Sounds delicious! I'll be heading over.

            1. re: yehfromthebay

              Coming from Manoa Valley where UH is located, Kaimuki is not too far away. On Waialae, there is W&Ms for hamburgers next to City Mill, then across St. Louis School is Mama-san's as we used to call it back in the old days but it's really called St. Louis Drive In. Going up towards 12th Avenue is Zippy's on 7th Avenue (not one of my favorites), Big City Diner, Kim Chee II, and Duk Kee all within the municipal parking area lot. Going back to Kapahulu near Leonard's is Ono's for authentic Hawaiian food, Waiola Market for shave ice, and one of my favorites for decades...Sekiya's across Kaimuki High School. I love their char siu fried saimin which is their specialty. Oh, I forgot Kua Aina's in the Ward Center for huge juicy hamburgers and across the street is Kakaako Kitchen which is very popular for no-frills plate lunches.

          2. Island Manapua factory in Manoa Marketplace is a good find. Their curry chicken steamed manapua are delicious and only 95 cents. The oyster chicken manapua is good too. I can get full on two of them, you might need three, but still a good deal.
            I haven't tried anything there except the manapua, will do so soon.