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Honolulu - fish tacos?

I recently had great fish Tacos when I was on the mainland. Nicely seasoned fresh fish, finely shredded greens, great soft tortilla. I was wondering if anyone knew of a place to get such a thing in Honolulu. I have been to Wahoo's, and they are OK, but not great, and they tend to do better on those huge oversized... well anyhow. I do not want battered and fried fish stuck in a tortilla either. Any suggestions?

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    1. Whoa, I've had fresh fish dishes/sandwiches, but not fish tacos in Hawai`i. This does not mean that they do not exist, but considering what I love about fish tacos, I just do not see that many chefs in Hawai`i doing them. The wrapper and the ingredients are just not something that I think of, when I think of Island food. In San Diego, or Baja, that is a different story. I'll be interested to see what recs. you get. Maybe a Kahuku corn tort. with some fresh North Shore tomatoes... still, I can't get my head around fish tacos in Hawai`i.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        well, just as people like to have hawaiian food on the mainland, sometimes those of us here miss things from there. I don't mind if it has a tropical flair, but face it, the climate in baja and the climate in Kona are not that different.

        the maui taco looks interesting..... (esp the one with slaw)

      2. Maui Tacos is opening a place in the Royal Hawaiian center in Oah'u..
        I think more ahi poke tacos with wontons, then baja style in the islands..


        1 Reply
        1. re: Beach Chick

          Beach Chick,

          I'll have to give this spot a look-see. Sounds interesting.


          I do agree. I am a throwback, in that, when in the Islands, I usally eschew the more common Mainland fare. I'd no more consider doing Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in HON, than I'd try a "Creole" spot in Iowa. This does not mean that it would not be good, just out of MY comfort zone. My choices of Island cuisine on the Mainland is predicated on the fact that I spend 99.55 of my time on the Mainland, and long for a taste of Hawai`i.

          Since I live in the Southwest, on the Mainland, I seldom look for SW cuisine, when I'm in San Francisco, New Orleans, London, or Hawai`i. I can get some of the best in the world, just down the road.

          I do understand that many folk want to eat foods, with which they are comfortable, and foods with which they are familiar. Otherwise, how could be explain Morton's Steakhouses? Still, for me, it's about the local cuisine. If I want familarity, I'll stay home, or head to some "chain." I want to know what the chefs of an area are doing. I want to celebrate their work and am not interested in what I left behind - 3000 miles ago.

          OK, I am not typical. Being from the Deep South, I'd likely never order grits in Paris, or Poipu, unless the server winked at me, and said, "but sir, you MUST try ours!" Then, they'd get my vote, and I'd try to enjoy them for themselves, with little, or no reference to what I know from my culinary experience.

          Still, Hawai`i would seem to be a good place for "fish tacos," based on the plentiful seafood available. I will definitely lighten up, and give them a try. I'll attempt to enjoy them for themselves, and not make comparissons to Baja and San Diego.

          Along those lines, I have problems with great dishes that many folk claim are not "authentic." Even with cusine that is endemic to the Deep South, and New Orleans, in particular, I try to keep an even head. "Is it good?" "Did I enjoy the dish?" Rather than, "is this just like Brigtsen's (etc.)?" I care far less for "authenticity," than for taste. If the dish is good, I do not care how it might compare, if the DNA was done on the ingredients. Along those lines, I've had good mahi-mahi sandwiches (not my favorite fish) in Hawai`i, and some of those preps might well work in tacos. Maybe I need to open my mind a bit more.

          Thanks for the comments,

        2. KMan,

          They are not that difficult to make yourself, and tortillas are available all over, as you know. Why not ask for recipes in the home cooking area? If you get a good recipe that needs an exotic/real Mexican ingredient, you probably can get it at Mercado de la Raza, 1315 S. Beretania, tel. 5932226, email martha_mdlr@yahoo.com.

          1. I addition to the soon to open Maui Tacos in Waikiki, there is one in Kailua (and also Mililani according to their website).

            Also, Just Tacos might have them (can't remember their meat choices off the top of my head- I always get the carne asada or cochinita pibil). The service (in terms of speed during the lunch rush) at the downtown location has gone down hill in the last year (I think because the owner isn't there) because they seem a bit disorganized with the ordering system.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lilikoigirl

              I haven't had a chance to get to Just Tacos... but I walked by it... and it sounds promising with the hand made tortillas etc., They definitely have Baja style Fish Tacos on the menu... I might get there on Friday. They also have Birria.. and other things I remembered craving. I will report when I get a chance.

              For those interested in a Baja style Fish Taco recipe... just roughly you take Pancake Mix (yes Pancake Mix), hydrate it with Beer, add a few pinches of dried Mexican Oregano (available at La Raza)... and that is your batter (you can also do a Tempura batter but that is more Central Mexican style than Baja).

              You want to use that batter on a mild white fish (Corvina http://www.mexfish.com/fish/shtcorv/s... is THE fish used in Baja for this purpose)... fry in Peanut Oil.

              A corn tortilla warmed over a slightly oiled griddle. Topped with shredded raw cabbage. Then a spoonful of "White Sauce" (basically thinned Mayo, Lime Juice, Salt, Water)... and a spoonful of Roasted Guajillo & Tomatillo salsa (Dried Guajillo chiles, tomatillos, dry roasted garlic, water, salt).

              Serve immediately with an original Tecate chelada (served in the can, salt on the rim & squeeze of lime).

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                thanks EN. I've had both battered and unbattered fish in tacos, is either more "authentic", or is it just a matter of preference?

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  I guess it depends on the version (for example in Seattle they like putting fried fish in a flour tortilla topped with a sweet canned mango slow & pico de gallo which imho is neither Authentic nor remotely good)... with "bastardization experiments gone bad" aside.. there many regional versions of fish tacos.

                  I really, really, really like the Ensenada style... you have those along the Pier... fish straight out of the "hub cap" fryer, handmade tortillas etc., and there just isn't much on this planet that is better.

                  I also really like the Sinaloa style which is either Smoked Marlin or Smoked Tuna that is griddled with onions, tomatoes, peppers and sometimes celery... finished off with a melting cheese (Monterrey Jack-esque).... the smoked fish is so rich, meaty & flavorful you would think you are eating Pork Carnitas.

                  Another favorite comes from the Acapulco area... meaty fishes like Shark are braised in a Tomato-Dried Chipotle-Roasted Garlic sauce... then shredded & sauteed with Onions to create a filling that is placed into some "peeled" tortillas... folded in half & deep fried (like the Jack in the Box tacos).

                  Another favorite comes from the Yucatan.... white fish similar to Opah is dressed with an Achiote Citrus paste, wrapped in Banana leaves then grilled over a wood fire. A thin black bean paste (flavored with Epazote & Habaneros) is spread over a hand made tortilla (using the extra flavorful corn from that part of country), then its topped by the flaked fish, and some red onions that have been marinated in Sour (Seville) Oranges .... rolled up like flutes... and then eaten (by me) in about 20 seconds flat.

            2. Serg's in Manoa and now Waiimanalo was said to have pretty good fish tacos. I just tried them at the Waimanalo location. They offer mahi, battered or grilled, and I chose grilled. Garnished with roughly shredded cabbage dressed in a white sauce with a touch of lime juice in it. I garnished the tacos further with avocado sauce ... sort of a thin guacamole ... and chipotle sauce. They were broke-da-mouth excellent. The store two doors away sells beers by the bottle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: emu48

                although the thread is two years old... the fish tacos at South Shore Grill on Monsarrat Ave. are very good. I will have to give Serg's a try for fish tacos, was there once, enjoyed it.

              2. Obviously, this is an old thread, though I somehow missed Eat_Nopal's later comments. I am surprised that I did not follow it better.

                Now, and I believe that YOU recommend it, we dined at Luibueno's North Shore (of course not Honolulu, but at least O`ahu). We did one each of their fish tacos. Each was different enough, and also good enough, that we were impressed. Great flavors, and fresh ingredients. The only thing that I could have asked for would have been for the tortillas to be kissed by a hot skillet w/ a touch of lard on it - not much, just kissed.

                Also, they have a very nice, eclectic wine list, priced very nicely. We DID have to send our server back for non-frozen stems for our whites (also asked for larger bowl, i.e. red wine glasses, stems). She did not blink, nor did she complain. I already had my spiel worked out. She smiled, and quickly returned with a legitimately concerned, "will these be OK?" What more could we have asked for.

                For the rec., I am grateful, and we WILL return. Hope to have a full report up soon, as all was not this good on the North Shore. Just been traveling too much, but am home for a bit.



                2 Replies
                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Luibueno's is someplace I want to try, I think it was Manomin who recommended it. Of course being from Honolulu the 30 miles to Haleiwa is a tremendous distance to go for tacos.... we get so provincial about travel here. But if you recommend it, I am going to have to make the effort.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Well, I am beholdin' (old Southern term) to whomever. It was very good, though maybe not absolutely perfect.

                    I understand the distances and time. As we were on North Shore, it was ideal, or nearly so. From Honolulu, unless one had a North Shore trip, I cannot say that one must make the drive. Good, but not "bring me to my knees in tears good." When you get over that way, do stop by, and let us all know what you think.