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Waikiki for breakfast and Honolulu for lunch

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Where to go for breakfast in Waikiki on Saturday? We'll be arriving in HNL that morning at 7am so after the shuttle drops us off at the hotel (say 9am), we just want to wander around and relax and eat by the beach before heading down to Honolulu. I'm thinking maybe Duke's. We're staying at Outrigger Reef - any other good places closer by? We just want something good and simple with a relaxing ambiance.

Then we're off to Honolulu/Chinatown to explore. What's a good local authentic "Hawaiian" hole-in-the-wall place to try? We are very adventurous eaters, so we're eager to try what Hawaii has to offer!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Dukes is a fairly good choice for breakfast, they stop serving at 10:30, so keep that in mind. The lunch menu is down, so not sure what time lunch service begins, I've been as early as 11:15 for lunch, but service was slow.

    As for lunch in Downtown/Chinatown, you mentioned "Hawaiian." Not sure if you meant authentic Hawaiian or just local style food.

    Hawaiian food is based loosely on the foods the original inhabitants ate, somewhat modified. LauLau, Kalua, Lomi Lomi, etc. Luau food. One of the best (and only places) for that near downtown is People's Cafe, by Safeway on Pali Highway between Kukui and Vineyard. It has been around since who knows when, is a small step up from hole in the wall status, and the prices are pretty reasonable.

    On Saturday morning the chinatown area has a lot of people shopping for vegetables and such at the various asian markets. There are a number of Chinese and Vietnamese places, as well as some specializing in Dim Sum. To-Chau on River street near King is very popular for pho. I like one on Maunakea Street, Pho 97. The wait is usually much shorter, but it is not as well known/popular. If you want to try some Hong Kong style locally tempered Chinese, check out Mini Garden at the corner of Hotel and Smith. For more authentic Chinese, Cafe Oriente on Mauna Kea between Hotel and Pauahi is good (the best shrimp walnut in Honolulu as far as I'm concerned), a bit more upscale, but still reasonable is Little Village Noodle House. If you want to try dim sum (Chinese dumpling) Mei Sum at Smith and Pauahi is good, as are Tai Pan and Legends, both on the mauka (inland) side of Beretania.

    You could also get Manapua, a local variation of dim-sum, at either Char Hung Sut on Pauahi between Smith and Maunakea or at Royal Kitchen on River Street Mall just below Kukui. They specialize in Baked Manapua, a truly local variation. For both places just ask the people in line what they like. Neither Place has seating. Char Hung Sut has been around for decades, and is somewhat of a unique experience in Chinese Fast Food. Royal Kitchen is a bit more relaxed, but still geared toward filling your order and getting you out the door.

    Finally there are a few Okazu-ya places in the Downtown area, one or two on Nuuanu, almost to Vineyard. Okazu is a Japanese delicatessen. You wont find a pastrami sandwich. There will be peasant style sushi, fried chicken, rice, spam, maybe a pork or beef dish. The Okazu is really the precurser to Hawaii's plate lunch. There are not many left, it is a disappearing tradition.

    1. FYI-a minor point but Waikiki is part of Honolulu-Chinatown part of downtown Honolulu. Persoanlly I would stop anywhere for coffee in Waikiki and save my appetite for all the wonderful vendors in Chinatown where you will find a bunch of meat markets that offer cooked delicacies as well as stalls of vendors with authentic Hawaiian, Filipino, Korean, Chinese etc foods already cooked especially in the marketplace. I have had some of my most memorable meals there especially from the Filipino vendors (pig ears!!)