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Aug 20, 2009 12:57 PM

Oahu Good Eats- a quick review

I guess it is becoming an annual trip to Oahu instead of every other year. Here are places we tried this time with comments.

1. Kakaako Kitchen- Beef stew and sweet and sour pork chops. I don't want to flame this place but after the first time I was here and had the furikaki crusted ahi, it was kinda down hill from there. Probably eaten here around 4 or 5 times, a little disappointing.
2. Costco- Ahi shoyu poke and garlic shrimp poke- always fresh but getting a little expensive. Used to be a steal.
3. Gina's BBQ- Kalbi, BBQ beef, BBQ chicken, Mandoo, Spicy Garlic Chicken, Chicken wings, Squash jun. Ordered a bunch of mixed plate lunches. The standout was the spicy garlic chicken. I only ordered this because someone in front on me in line said it was the best.... and it was.
4. Leonards-Mango, Chocolate and Haupia malasadas... i love these.
5. Kuaina Burger-Went to the original and had the bacon cheeseburger with fries. I thought this was better than Ward Center Kuaina Burger.
6. Diamond Head Grill-ahi with wasabi butter, bbq chicken , bbq beef, grilled shimp. good but a little pricy.
7. Matsumoto Shave Ice- Hawaiian rainbow w/ ice cream- best flavors
8. Shiro Saimen- Dodompo ramen- has everything- very satisfying
9. Waiola Shave Ice-Rainbow shave ice- best ice
10. Liliha Bakery- Coco Puff, Apple Malasada, Azuki Malasada, Banana Cup Cake w/ Chantilly cream- everything was tasty.
11.Sam Choy- King Crab legs and BBQ ribs- They were having this as an anniversary special for 20 bucks. Great deal.
12. Gulick Deli- Bento box combo- went to the King St location, should have gone to the original location.
13. Tropicana Shave Ice- I didn't like this one. Flavors were off.
14. Ono Seafood- Ahi poke w/ everything, ahi lomi lomi, dried ahi, dried ahi poke. Great.
15. Libby Manapua- BBQ pork Manapua, half moon and pork hash. Pork hash was great, half moon ok, i like Char Hung Sut manapua a little better.
16. Aiea Bowl- Tasty Chicken, furikaki ahi, garlic fries. This place is a sleeper. The food is great.
17. Ice Garden-Pudding w/ milk shave ice. good but getting expensive
18. Side Street Inn-Fried Pork Chop, Pocho Clams, garlic edamame, cold tofu, chicken salad, whole steamed fish, lop chong fried rice, bbq ahi, kimchee yakisoba- a lot of great food at reasonable prices. go with a big group.
19- Alan Wong's- 7 course tasting menu- great as usual.
20. Nisshodo- chi chi dango, peanut butter mochi, coconut mochi.
21. Rainbow Drive In- Chili Dog Plate
22. Bubbies Ice Cream- haupia ice cream and assorted mochi ice creams. this plac e is very hard to find with the nav.
23. Pineapple Room- Steamed onaga w/ tofu, lop cheung, and veges, Halo halo dessert, plantation ice tea. Service was better this time.
24. Char Hung Sut-steamed bbq pork manapua, ma tai soo, pork hash- for the plane ride home.

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  1. congrats on finding Aiea Bowl. Not exactly in the tourist guides. For shave ice did you hit the original Waiola Store (on Waiola St., hard to find) or the Kapahulu Location (a block up from Rainbow Drive in).

    Were you able to get the manapua on the plane? I never thought of it, figured they might classify the filling as some sort of controlled substance.

    Looks like you didn't waste a single meal.

    Sorry to hear that Kakaako Kitchen was not up to par. It is a place I rarely get the special, although the rotation of days special is usually good. I really like the calamari salad, and if they have the chicken fried chicken, it is great too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I'm gearing up for my annual visit in two weeks, and I've really been wanting to try Aiea Bowl, but it takes so freaking long to get there by bus (also want to try Off The Wall, but same story).

      1. re: KaimukiMan

        We went to the Original Waiola Store- forgot to mention that I had a chocolate/banana shave ice the second time we went and it was pretty good.

        If we would have told Char Hung Sut that the manapua was for the plane ride home, they would have packed it for the plane. No problems getting the grub on the plane or eating it on the plane.

        The Calamari salad is one of the few stand out dishes at Kakaako. I will try the chicken fried chicken next time.

      2. Thanks for the detailed, concise report. We'll try Aiea Bowl too.

        1. I don't understand why Kakaako gets such raves. I've tried it on occasion and nearly always been disappointed. I just went again last week and had the same result. It's not terrible, just nothing special in my opinion.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sku

            the food is fresh, the flavors are good, the prices reasonable, the service pleasant, and it doesn't taste like fast food. In short it is a tasty, and if you get the tossed greens, reasonably healthy adaptation of an old fashioned "plate lunch", something many of us like to eat, but know we shouldn't.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Okay, I get that. I go a few weeks a year, so no problem for me to gorge on plate lunch, but I couldn't handle that diet all the time. And the food is fresh, but I still feel like the wheat bread is soggy, the marinades are too sweet and just nothing is all that exciting. I'll go to Kua Aina instead if I'm at Ward Centre.

              I've heard people rave about their lemon bars as well, but I'd take the luscious lilikoi and lemon bars at Sconees in Kaimuki over Kaka'ako any day.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                I go there for the Tulip & eggs breakfast, which always comes with a nice piece of banana-taro bread (or something similar). Fairly straightforward, but good.

                Can't speak for anything else on the menu, because I've only ever ordered the catch of the day, which is always an excellently prepared, quality piece of fish, which goes great with the tossed greens. It's a plate that could easily set you back additional $$ at a sit down restaurant.

                Sounds like maybe I should give the calamari salad a try, though.

            2. The best shaved ice on Oahu has to be Shimazu's Shaved Ice on School Street just off the Liliha exit ramp. This father and son took it over from the original old couple and in my opinion have the best ice and best favored syrups. The owner, Kelvin Shimazu is a fanatic about making sure his shaved ice is great and the portions are big for their size. Try "The Larry" which is supposed to be as big as your head.