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What was the most memorable thing you ate in Hawaii?

When I visited O'ahu, we had Lot of great food. The abalone at KCC Farmer's market was killer. We loved so the papayas and guava. The beer from Maui brewing was great as well (Kona beer is brewed in OR, so stick with Maui). Above all though, the most transcendent food was...wait fot it...avocado. I love avocados and the ones we bought had a citrus quality that was amazing. What was the most stand out item others tried?

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  1. Yes, the avocados are special. But so are apple bananas and fresh lychee and pink dragon fruit and local oranges and fresh pollution-free fish, of course.

    1. If you never venture local style stuff, try poke's - raw/cooked seafood salad - marinated in variations of shoyu, chili, sesame oil and seeds, seaweeds in different levels of spiciness. Once you are hooked, you will never forget this stuff.... Don't think they sell these at the farmers market - you need to go to a local store or grocery stores sell them as well. Once you are hooked with this stuff, you will not forget the taste of it.


      6 Replies
      1. re: roro808

        Poke does indeed rule. I've enjoyed it in many places and many flavors. We bought a lot of it at the Superette on the North Shore, near Turtle Bay. There were several places in Honolulu. It's easily my favorite lunch item.

        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii and demanded to eat poke every day. It's now a weekly family dinner...love it!

        2. re: roro808

          II recently left Hawaii after more than 20 years there. Poke ... especially ahi limu poke, or ahi poke with ground kukui nuts ... is the one food I miss the most. I miss poi too ... two- or three-day-old poi, which is more flavorful than fresh-made. But poi can be hard to find sometimes, even in Hawaii. Poke was something I ate every week.

          Oh ... and Essan (northern Thai) sausages, which you can only get at one or two tiny Thai grocery stores or from a lady in the Maunakea food court in Chinatown, Honolulu.

          1. re: emu48

            The best Issan sausages I've found (so far) on Oahu come from Thai Town Café, 1311 N. King St., #F-06, 842-449. Theirs are leaner and don't have the big globs of fat others have, but they still have that special sour and fermented taste.

            1. re: Joebob

              Thanks, joebob. I'm visiting Oahu. Like try dose buggahs.

              1. re: emu48

                Suddenly realized that I gave an incomplete telephone number (sorry) when I tried to call them to check if they were still open. I haven't heard about them in a while. I will try to get more info.

        3. Anybody else like poi? I loved it 25 years ago.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FrankJBN

            I have had good poi (Alan Wong's New Wave Lu`au II), and then bad poi, that tasted like dirt. When good, it is very enjoyable, but when bad... well, it's bad.


          2. This year we were wow'd by the fish & Chips at Honu, Maui. Perfection!

            A seat by turtle town while dining wasn't bad either!

            1. the mangoes-so sweet, juicy, and not at all stringy like the ones that arrive in the continental US grocery stores.
              the dragon fruits, guava, passion fruits purchased at farm stands
              the deep purple color and amazing flavors of the locally caught ahi
              the kona coffee found in the offbeat, local coffee houses

              2 Replies
              1. re: BecaC

                If you want a similar, non-stringy mango, look for imported Indian mangoes (Alphonso, Kesar, etc) when they are in season.

              2. The green papaya salad from a little stall in the Hilo Market (Big Island). A Thai woman makes it fresh for you while you watch, and will make it mild, medium or spicy. I love spice, but the medium is fine, thank you. Just a stunning rendition of the salad due to the incredibly fresh produce.

                A close second is poke using blue fin tuna belly, which had probably been happily swimming the very morning of the day we ate it. Small cubes of the slightly chilled tuna dressed very lightly with soy, super finely minced garlic and ginger, and a touch of Hawaiian sea salt. Unbelieveable.

                5 Replies
                1. re: EarlyBird

                  Just so you know, if it was bluefin tuna used in your poke, it wasn't caught anywhere near Hawaii. It would have been shipped in frozen from the North Atlantic, Sea of Japan, New Zealand/Australia, or Indian Ocean areas. I believe the types of tuna we catch in Hawaii waters are yellowfin, bigeye, tombo (albacore), & skipjack (aku).

                  1. re: killersmile

                    Thanks for the information. It must be misremembering. It must not have been blue fin then, because I know it was caught fresh from local waters. It was excellent - and ridiculously expensive - local tuna.

                    1. re: EarlyBird

                      Yes, top grade locally caught tuna is expensive. Sometimes Tamashiro Market has bluefin tuna for sale lined up right next to the local caught sashimi toro grade tuna. Pricewise, they are the same, about $30/lb.

                  2. re: EarlyBird

                    I agree with the Hilo green papaya salad...superb. Other than that and some meals at the homes of friends, nothing stands out. BTW, I don't 'get' breadfruit, or poi for that matter. We had both at people's homes and they were unremarkable.

                    1. re: meagan

                      I am not a fan of poi, either, and as per local Hawaiians I've eaten proper poi.

                      Breadfruit is simply so starchy and bland by itself, it's pretty nondescript. I have to say, however, that I stayed a couple of weeks in a remote Fijian village, and breadfruit was a staple. A typical meal for us was fresh caught fish (or tinned New Zealand mutton if they were living it up), thick slices of boiled breadfruit, greens of some kind, and the only bit of spice was some salt and little wild green onions. So plain, and SO simple, but so delicious some how.

                  3. Maui
                    Ahi poke in miso sesame cones from Spago
                    Black pearl from Mama's Fish House
                    Maui gold pineapple spears @ Gazebo after not eating for close to a day

                    Mochi filled with adzuki bean paste and kula strawberry from Mana Bu's and Happy Hearts Mochi
                    Haupia mochi from Happy Hearts
                    Negitoro from Sushi Sasabune
                    Pho ga from The Pig and Lady
                    The Coconut from Alan Wong
                    Furikake Tempura Catfish from Kaka'ako Kitchen
                    Roast pork from Fong's Meat Market

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Shot of lillikoi juice from Alan Wong -- I still think about that shot
                      Eggplant fries from Poke Stop
                      Uni shooters from Sushi Izakaya Gaku

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        We just did an event with Chef Wong, at Blackberry Farm, and he included a lillikoi shot with the meal then too. So very nice!



                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          I just ate the most amazing pork belly from Josh Feathers of Blackberry Farm last Saturday. He was at the HW&FF. Alan did not cook but was out and about the festivities.

                          1. re: manomin

                            Great news!

                            We had initially held out hopes that we could join everyone, but it was not to be.

                            We were just with Chef Feathers, Chef Joseph Lenn (both Blackberry Farm), Chef Wong, Leigh Ito (both AW's) and then Dr. Ernst Loosen at Blackberry Farm. Unfortunately we were only there for 7 days, but it was stellar! I wondered how Chef Wong would handle the "local cuisine" aspect of Blackberry Farm, but he did not miss a step. We talked about the "local fish," and he informed me that he "cut his teeth" at the Greenbriar, so that Smoky Mountain Trout was something that he was "coming back to." He never blinked! Just a great event, with wonderful wines, that paired beautifully with Chef Wong's cuisine (he did fly some items in).

                            While we DID miss the festival, much to our sorrow, we sort of made up for it, at Blackberry Farm.

                            We were both so sorry that we had to miss the festival, but are sneaking in for a long weekend, with Honolulu only - no golf clubs, or anything but a few tropical print shirts! AW's is on that short trip's itinerary. We are also going back to Michel's at the Colony Surf, as I have been prodded enough, and we must give them another try - open mind.

                            Glad that the event was a good one.

                            Mahalo and aloha,


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Bill did you see my post in July about Michel's? It was stellar. Just fabulous!

                              1. re: manomin

                                No. I did not, but then we have been in air, more than on the ground. I only stopped by here a few days ago, after maybe a month of absence.

                                Looking forward to it.


                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                Keep an open mind about AW too. But, of course, you'll be recognized.

                                1. re: Joebob

                                  Yes, that is one reason that I seldom do a review of AW's. Besides, other than menu changes, I think that I have said, about all that needs to be said.

                                  This trip, we will be dining with Chef Sonny Acosta, and looking forward to it. We are missing his "coming out party," but still look forward to seeing him again. Most of our "AW o`hana" will be on Maui for Amasia, and we do not have time to get over there - next time. We had the great pleasure to meet Chef Acosta at Blackberry Farm, back in August, and we are looking so forward to dining under his control. Just sorry that our trip's timing is so messed up, but such is life nowadays.

                                  There are several other restaurants, where I no longer do a review, unless there has been a major change in chef, or maybe a total menu revamp. I am recognized, as I am a "regular," even if they are in San Francisco, or London. When one IS a regular, any critique of service, or maybe even the food, is biased by that recognition. While I can enjoy the food, and the service, I feel comfortable only commenting on my "last visit," or similar. A full review cannot be assumed to be totally objective, and exactly what an unknown diner would experience. It does become a "double-edged sword."

                                  Good point, and one that must always be considered when reading reviews.


                      2. We just got back from Oahu and the Big Island a few weeks ago. I was disappointed in the avocados I bought. Maybe I didn't let them get ripe enough. My choices:

                        Strawberry Mochi (I didn't love them but they were VERY memorable)
                        Beer from Big Island Brewhaus
                        All things lilikoi

                        1. In Maui:

                          Golden glow mangoes from Yee's Orchards
                          Maui Gold pineapples
                          Cinnamon roll French Toast from Kihei Caffe
                          Kula strawberry pie at Monkeypod Kitchen
                          Ululani's shave ice: Coconut, Tiger’s Blood, Pina Colada
                          Shoyu chicken at Local Food

                          Was oddly unimpressed with regular Kula strawberries, from a roadside fruitstand, though. I think you find better strawberries from farmers growing Tristars elsewhere (my experience is with the NYC Greenmarkets & one particular farmer who measures the brix of his fruit).

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: kathryn

                            Yes, the tropics are not the place for strawberries. But how could I forget Oahu North Shore chocolate, available from the sugar mill, Whole Foods and Padovani's in Dole cannery.

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Update from our trip a few weeks ago:

                              Squid luau at Mama's Fish House

                              Lilikoi malasadas from Chef Mavro
                              Lin Hing Mui malasadas from Leonard's
                              Strawberry/azuki mochi from Made in Hawaii Foods at the KCC Farmers Market
                              Lilikoi butter also from Made in Hawaii Foods
                              Dole Whip
                              Somen noodles in broth with Hawaiian snapper, shredded tofu skins, marinated shitake mushrooms, mitsuba, and more at Nanzan GiroGiro
                              Chutoro tataki at Sushi Izakaya Gaku

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Kathryn, I live in NYC also. Which stand do you go to for strawberries?

                                  1. re: kathryn

                                    Thanks so much.

                                    Do you find the Indian mangoes in Manhattan or do you need to go to Jackson Heights for them?

                                    1. re: Nevertoofull

                                      We go to Patel Bros in Jackson Heights, by the case only.

                                      I've on occasion found imported Indian mangoes in Manhattan before but they were often hit or miss quality or overripe.

                                    2. re: kathryn

                                      i used to live above blue water grill (is it still there?) at union square! it seems that the quality of the farmers' market has improved a lot.

                                      1. re: indelibledotink

                                        Blue Water Grill still is there.

                                        The number and quality of the farmers at the market does keep improving. I now buy locally grown and milled flour, cornmeal, and beans. But we'll never get the variety that one might find in other parts of the country. Personally, I was blown away by the Portland one last summer.

                              2. Just got back from south Kauai with dh and kids.malsadas at kmart, cinnammon knuckles from Kaleheo cofffee co, porteguese soup and corn bread from.waiamea lodge, Marks place stuffed seafood mixed plate..the list goes on and on and on.

                                1. Kauai...lilikoi pie and saimin at Hamura's..Hinanos at Tahiti Nui
                                  O'ahu...Giovanni's garlic shrimp..leonards malasadas..ahi poke at Foodland..fresh pineapple Diamond head crater food truck after hiking the crater.
                                  Maui... Ahi benedict at Plantation house with wasabi hollandaise..lunch at Mama's..mac pancakes at Gazebo after body boarding waiting for my table.
                                  Hawaii..Four Seasons Kona Beach dinner..Hawaiian snapper and feet in the sand

                                  1. A vegan "chicken" salad at Fresh Mint in Paia on Maui, with fresh coconut water on the side. We picked the place because there was a parking place in front of it, and the menu looked interesting. I haven't had ersatz meats for quite a while, and I was surprised by the improvements. I'd also never had fresh coconut water before, so that was a pleasant surprise.

                                    Second place goes to the soba at Star Noodle in Lahaina.

                                    1. 1983 Sheraton Hotel, Popu Beach: the Strawberry Red Papaya verses the orange variety from Central America. Actually, all the fruit we had eaten for Breakfast at the Hotel Buffet on the open air terrace was unforgettable aromatically and in taste.

                                      Ciao, Margaux.

                                      1. Believe it or not the pineapples were extremely fresh. I also had some really good local onions, which I cooked with, similar to Vidalia in size and taste. Stayed 6 nights in Maui in Makena with an efficiecncy, so we grilled them. Also Maui coffee company and Kauai coffee both very good. The Kauai coffee plantation has a showroom and a shot of espresso I had there was among the best I have had in the world. Also really liked locally made dark chocolates.

                                        1. 11 years ago we stopped at a road side stand between Oahu's north shore and Honolulu. We had the most amazing pineapple. The vendor took an old hatchet that had seen better days to the whole pineapple and cut it for us on the spot. We stood right there with chins dripping of pineapple juice and had our most memorable Hawaiian food experience. I'm on the CH Hawaii board today because we are finally back in Hawaii for the food and wine festival. We stayed in the north shore last night and today on our drive to Honolulu will be looking for a road side pineapple vendor with that old rusty blade.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: VintageGrace

                                            Welcome back Grace! Enjoy your stay.

                                            1. re: VintageGrace

                                              Did you go last year? It was really phenomenal! I am looking forward to this weekend!

                                              1. re: VintageGrace

                                                It's amazing how so often its just the simplest of food, the freshest single ingredient, that can be so memorable.

                                              2. Kalua pork omelette at Island Lava Java in Kailua town

                                                1. Just got back from 8 days on O'ahu and the Big Island. My SO lived in Hilo for 4 years, it was nice seeing the islands from his POV.

                                                  This time of the year, the white pineapples are not to be missed. Sweet, and only available in the summer! Papayas, mangoes, apple bananas, lilikoi and avocados are all great as well. They make an outstanding breakfast.

                                                  Poke from KTA/Foodland was awesome as well.

                                                  Strawberry-filled mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo was outstanding.

                                                  BUT MAN, the coconut syrup from Ken's House of Pancakes rocked my world.

                                                  One thing I can't seem to make myself on the mainland like they do in HI is mac salad (or, on the Big Island, potato-mac). So simple, but I cannot figure it out.

                                                  The only thing memorable I ate (well, drank) in O'ahu was the lilikoi coconut mojito I got from the Moana Surfrider hotel in Waikiki.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: missvenuz

                                                    great list. for the mac or potato mac, just use a lot more mayo than you would usually use and don't go overboard with 'seasonings', keep it simple - not even relish.

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Many swear by "Best Foods" mayo as the component.

                                                      1. re: manomin

                                                        you mean there is another kind of mayo?

                                                        here is a 'typical' recipe for american style macaroni salad look at all those ingredients. And only 1 cup of mayonnaise for 4 cups of macaroni.

                                                        4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
                                                        1 cup mayonnaise
                                                        1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
                                                        2/3 cup white sugar
                                                        2 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
                                                        1 1/2 teaspoons salt
                                                        1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
                                                        1 large onion, chopped
                                                        2 stalks celery, chopped
                                                        1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
                                                        1/4 cup grated carrot (optional)
                                                        2 tablespoons chopped pimento peppers (optional)

                                                        now here is a local version, notice the amount of mayo, about double the mainland version

                                                        To make a basic macaroni salad, you don’t need a recipe; just follow these guidelines:
                                                        The pasta: Cook 1 pound elbow macaroni (for really local style, cook until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer).
                                                        The flavoring: Stir in ¼ cup very finely grated onion. Not minced, chopped or sliced—grated. It should be liquidy (this is how they do it at Diner’s, a local eatery in Kalihi).
                                                        The mayo: At least 2½ cups best foods for real local style. But there are no rules, so use less if you like. Or more.
                                                        The add-ins: Carrots, watercress, celery, hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish—whatever suits you.
                                                        The finale: Salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well; refrigerate.

                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                          In addition to the mayo, another thing I notice about the mac salads in Hawaii compared to the mainland is that Hawaiian mac salads generally don't have all that vinegar and sugar in it. It's a cleaner simpler taste that I prefer. My favorite mac salad that I've had so far has been at Diamond Head Bakery and Grill as they mix potatoes into it.

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            K-Man you know what I mean! It seems people here really prefer that brand. Sure there's Hellman's, Western Family, and Safeway Select to mention a few but everyone I know specifies "Best Foods." So serious was one person I knew that I specified that when he died he have his ashes be put into a giant Best Foods jar with the label still attached. And sure enough, he died and at the memorial/celebration of life there he was in the jar next to the usual nice photo portrait draped in lei!

                                                            1. re: manomin

                                                              absolutely agree. a number of the local recipes for mac salad specified best foods, one recipe didn't even say mayo, it just called for 1 jar best foods. And of course we don't get Hellman's, but yeah, no one buys western family etc. unless they absolutely have to.

                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              Best Foods Mayo is the same brand as Hellman's, only with different label. Hellman's is distributed in the east (E of the Mississippi?) and Best Foods in the west, but it is exactly the same yummy stuff...and IMO, the best and only mayo to use.

                                                                1. re: macaraca

                                                                  Yes, true about the mayo. But in the same vein Long's is really CVS but only in Hawaii is it still named Long's!

                                                            3. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              Yeah, I've never used relish or anything sweet (except a little shredded carrot)...because I know it's not sweet.

                                                              However, I use Best Foods in large quantities when I make it, but there's some strange vinegary-sweet taste anyway, which is why I can't seem to get it right.

                                                              I've been thinning it out with milk, which has been helping a bit. Still not quite there, though.

                                                          2. When my mom was here a couple of weeks ago she really enjoyed the apple bananas. Are they really not available on the mainland anywhere? Hispanic markets in LA? I wouldn't expect them to be available in a safeway in St. Paul... but who knows.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              Never saw them at Hispanic or Oriental markets in TX.

                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                For example, I go to Chicago and it's region and have never seen them there. I just so miss them the entire time I'm gone! I don't even bother with any type of banana or sheer disappointment comes in and lack of flavor resonates.

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  I have only seen them in Hawai`i, but have to admit that I might have just missed them on the Mainland.


                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                    What I can't seem to ever find any more on Oahu are red apple bananas which I absolutely love. It's been years. Last time I found them was at the Hilo farmer's market, and even that was not recently.

                                                                    1. re: macaraca

                                                                      We most often find them on Maui, or Kaua`i, but have located them at the market (name eludes me now), just mauka from Ward Center. Not always, but often.

                                                                      Good luck,


                                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                      You can get apple bananas at Cub Foods in Minneapolis, and likely in St. Paul as well.

                                                                        1. re: Joebob

                                                                          No really. I had red apple bananas from Cub Foods on Lake Street in Minneapolis too. Dragon Star Asian grocery in St Paul had at various times of the year, sugar cane, breadfruit, taro leaves, mangosteen, guava....It was not the freshest, but I could barely believe it myself. I am not sure if it was because of the large Hmong population or what.

                                                                          United Noodle in Minneapolis has a Hawaiian food section with frozen poi, li hing mui powder (Jade brand), saloon pilot crackers, Noh poke mix, etc.

                                                                          Minneapolis/St Paul is nothing like Prairie Home Companion makes it out to be. That was one of the first things I learned when I moved there.

                                                                          1. re: Quince

                                                                            I'm not aware of any red apple bananas. Might they have been lacatans?

                                                                            1. re: Joebob

                                                                              Maybe...they were smaller than normal bananas, and red. I had trouble telling when they were ripe, as I had no prior experience with red bananas, and I seem to recall they did not change color much as they ripened. I had white pineapple a few times growing up on Oahu (absolutely delicious, by the way...if you see one, get it!), but only yellow bananas until Minnesota. I know, it's weird, but it's the truth.

                                                                    3. E, Tom, Aloha:

                                                                      Auwe! So many things 'ono here... Kalo hashbrowns, kippered akule, Uncle Paul's spicy poke, 'ohia lehua honey...

                                                                      Personal fave is either poached opakapaka or grilled buta gucci. No, Ono fish & chips... No, squid luau... No, mebbe just 'awa under a Makahiki moon in the pili grass?

                                                                      Too many choices, not enough years!


                                                                      1. Actually, the "ultimate" for me was a grilled o`paka`paka at the now gone John Dominis off of Ala Moana. Now, I have had so very many lovely meals, and dishes, in Hawai`i, but that one dish stands out as the best.



                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                          Hi Hunt!

                                                                          I'll bet you had a good bottle with the o'paka'paka.

                                                                          When was the last time you had a piece at Mama's Fish House? It wasn't memorable too?



                                                                          1. re: Joebob

                                                                            IIRC, we went with a nice Meursault. I did not know "pink snapper," but based on my experiences with many other "snappers," I took a chance.

                                                                            The server had to talk me into it, but I was so very glad that he did. I was instantly spoiled. Had had pink snapper from many excellent chefs, and all were good, but that one was just heavenly. I did not even mind the lady with the camera clicking away, and selling Polaroids of us. The fish was heavenly.

                                                                            Sort of like the St. Pauli Girl beer commercial, "You never forget your first o'paka'paka."



                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                              although available year round, afficionados claim that winter opakapaka is better, the fish are fattier then apparently. October through February are the best months. And yes, a properly prepared piece of O'paka'paka is a delight. I remember the first time I tried it at the old Orson's at Ward Warehouse (now long gone).

                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                Interesting, and worth noting. As we usually are in Hawai`i between Sept. and Feb, I can guess that it's probably been the Winter O'paka'paka, that we have had. Thinking back all those years (decades?), that trip was most likely in Oct.



                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                  John Dominis closed in 2010 after 31 years in business, so yes, it may well have been decades ago. OMG, am I that old? I remember when it opened (and when it closed.)

                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                    I remember when Andy Anderson opened John Dominis, so I guess like me you are that old. What is it now, some all in one Japanese wedding place or something?

                                                                                    1. re: curiousgeo

                                                                                      Have not really looked, as we drove past. I will turn off of Ala Moana, and see what is in that spot.


                                                                                      1. re: curiousgeo

                                                                                        Yes, it is now a Japanese owned/operated wedding hall/banquet facility with a southern italian restaurant. You can see the preview of the site here http://www.nonstophonolulu.com/blogs/...

                                                                                      2. re: KaimukiMan


                                                                                        You must be mis-remembering. Your father told you about that opening! Remember, I have dined with you. You are not THAT old, but then I am.

                                                                                        We were there in about 1985 and then in about 1987, but cannot recall dining there afterwards, but that far back, one's memory is not flawless.


                                                                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                Yuup -- missed those fabulous fresh fish at John Dominis... Their decor and services were fantabulous. Seems lots of good reviews on Mama's -- makes me want to try their fresh seafood soon. In the meantime, Thai-Lao's fried opakapaka with chili garlic sauce is also a must! But, prepare to use your fingers and byob.

                                                                                1. re: roro808

                                                                                  John Dominis had some weak points, and some detractors, but we enjoyed several meals there. We overlooked the "tourist" aspect, and concentrated on the food.

                                                                                  As for Mama's, we came to it late. As we normally stayed over on West Maui, they were off our "beaten path." However, there was a real war going on, on this board. Everyone either loved it, or they hated it - no middle ground. Many years ago, we did lunch there, and were impressed. We came back, and again for lunch. Still, we were impressed. We found ourselves with a free suite at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, and turned down the last two nights, to drive over to Mama's and stay at their inn, at our expense. We were 20' from the front door to the restaurant, and ate there every meal. Still great, and much more fun, as I could dive into their wine list, and stagger to my cottage - no driving back to West Maui. Even with the excellent suite at the Ritz, and being free, I think that I was glad to pay $, stay at the inn, and dine there for several dinners, plus a lunch, or two. I'd not hesitate to do it the same way, all over again. The inn was really fun, cheap and luxurious (not to the level of the Ritz, but who would expect it to be?), and being able to dine, and not drive - priceless.


                                                                              3. We just returned from a week in Maui (South Kihei) and had an amazing time trying a good deal of different places. Three standouts for me were:

                                                                                1. The fish tacos at "Coconut's Fish Tacos" in Kihei were off the charts. Ono/Ahi/MahiMahi skillfully combined into the tastiest fish tacos I've ever had. SO got 'em with all the fixins - I kept it plain with just cheese. This was one of the few places where we ate more than once.

                                                                                2. Garlic Noodles at "Star Noodle" in Lanai. Not near Front Street and away from the throngs of Tourists, this little local place serves awesome Asian fusion. The Garlic Noodles are a perfect complement for anything on the menu from rib-eye, to chicken, shrimp and more. Wonderfully flavorful, they can also stand alone as a meal themselves. This is one worth visiting - especially before the regular tourists find it. We were the only local couple in the joint!

                                                                                3. Teriyaki Chicken at Bruddah Hutts in Hana. Aside from beautiful scenery, the road to Hana offers a chance to dine in tent next to a trailer and grill, in someone's front yard. And it was among the best parts of the drive. I had a combo of Teriyaki Chicken, Kahlua Pork and something else that escapes me now. SO got a dish that had the Kahlua pork and some BBQ teriyaki pork. The teriyaki chicken was probably the best I've had. This place is more or less off the grid. They do have a phone, as we heard orders being taken from locals calling in. And you can find them on Google maps/navigators. If you do the road to Hana, don't miss this hidden gem. Despite the physical appearance, it's worth it on so many levels.

                                                                                1. was long ago. headed to Kauai on sunday for a week. I remember:
                                                                                  fresh fish, cooked, raw or poke that had be swimming less than an hour before we ate it
                                                                                  mangos and leechee from people's back yards
                                                                                  starch plate(rice, mac and cheese, and french fries all covered with thick brown gravy)

                                                                                  1. Wild boar from Anahola on Kauai.

                                                                                    Pipikaula and lau lau from Helena's.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: scottca075

                                                                                      Okay, I lied.... it was actually the Whole Tomato Salad Li Hing Mui Ume Vinaigrette from Alan Wong's.


                                                                                    2. Spam & umeboshi musubi from Iyasume bento cart(lower level of Waikiki Trade Center) eaten on Waikkik beach.

                                                                                      Mochi ice cream from Shirokiya

                                                                                      Warm malasadas from Leonards

                                                                                      Alan Wong tasting menu


                                                                                      Hurricane popcorn (freshly made at a festival, not the prepacked variety)

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: travelstochow

                                                                                        What is hurricane popcorn? And where can I get it?

                                                                                        1. re: roro808

                                                                                          Hurricane popcorn is when they mix in furikake and arare with the popcorn.

                                                                                        2. oh ya, and the best pineapple I've ever eaten was purchased on the North Shore from the trunk of some guy's car - served in a baggie.

                                                                                          1. Char siu tan tan ramen at Goma-Tei in the Ward Center. Haven't yet to try the original Goma-Ichi Ramen on Keeaumoku yet. Real intense soup base and generous amounts of tender pork belly with their noodles. BTW, I suspect they use Sun Brand noodles?

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Clinton

                                                                                              I think practically every ramen place in Hawaii uses Sun Brand noodles. They just make it to the specifications of the ramen shop. Apparently, since they also have factories in L.A. and N.J., they make the noodles for some of the shops in L.A. and N.Y. as well.

                                                                                              1. re: killersmile

                                                                                                I'm glad Sun has expanded to LA where I live. A few years ago, I called their rep in Hawaii and they could not tell me where their distributors were allocating their saimin noodles. Marukai was not yet selling it but a few years ago they began showing up in the freezer section. Now I don't have to hand carry them back from Hawaii Costco in bulk and get them her at Marukai at a little higher price. It's worth the hassle.

                                                                                            2. I didn't have enough time there, but actually my most memorable (in a good way) dish was a giant plate of banana walnut pancakes with a coconut syrup. It was served with a massive glass of water. Or, I was living in East Asia at the time and didn't recall how generous glasses of water could be...

                                                                                              1. Pineapple anywhere.
                                                                                                Lee's bakery (chinatown) dan-ta egg tart
                                                                                                The char siu bao was also very good
                                                                                                there's a roast duck that is excellent next to a safeway shopping center that tasted awesome
                                                                                                leonards malasada (bring a cup of kona coffee)
                                                                                                I had a great overall dining experience (not necessarily one bite, but experience) at Le Bistro
                                                                                                (Of course, I went on two hikes that afternoon, one being Kokohead... lol)
                                                                                                anyone been to both the Sasabune in LA and Sasabune HI ? Been to LA multiple times...

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: eezerik

                                                                                                  Been to both Sasabune's many times. Not that different...I normally go to Mitch's or Gaku for a change of pace..
                                                                                                  Thanks to Joebob I somehow wandered into Kyung's with 25 ppl as entourage and had a fantastic experience. Highly recommended!

                                                                                                2. Chicken lau lau. It was probably not even the best because it was from the food court at the Ala Moana center but it was yummy.

                                                                                                  The malasadas from Champion might be number two.

                                                                                                  1. Huli Huli Chicken, from the outdoor rotisserie in Haleiwa Town. Freshly roasted over Kiawe wood, with the lovely smoke flying everywhere. Warning: Do not put it in your car during the long drive back to Honolulu. The smells will drive you crazy. It made me eat a second one after getting back.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: andrew_eats

                                                                                                      Ha, yes that kiawe smell permeates everything. We did lau lau over kiawe wood one year at the church I attend. You could smell the kiawe for weeks in the parking lot. A family who live across the street are old friends of mine. They said they went through about a case of Febreze to get the smell out of their house, their cars, their clothes, their pets. We don't do that any more.

                                                                                                    2. Besides the fruit at Yee's, the tomatoes were amazing, and I don't think that's because it is January in the Northeast. The fruit at the stand across from Harvest Market was exceptional...papayas, apple bananas, and especially the oranges. Best on my trip, anyway.

                                                                                                      Thank you for these posts. They made my trip!

                                                                                                      1. What I wouldn't do right now for a warm malasadas from Leonard's ...

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                              I've helped make them at fundraisers (not the punahou carnival) its not all that difficult, after all the are supposed to be cooked badly (mal - asada) . . . LOL

                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                You must be a riot at those fundraisers K man..

                                                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                  I'm very shy and quiet in person . . . 0:-)

                                                                                                        1. My first fresh litchi. We had just finished lunch at the (then) Kahala Hilton when our waitress brought us a small basket of a fruit I had never seen. She said she had gathered a big bag of them from a tree in her grandmother's yard and explained to us what they were and how to eat them. I've had a lot of fresh litchi since then but that memory is still one of my favorites of Hawaii.

                                                                                                          1. I'm gonna be making portuguese bean soup. see thread here. suggestions appreciated.


                                                                                                            1. well, i live on oahu and there are a great many memorable meals and foods, but one that stands out is a durian milkshake i had in the maunakea marketplace in chinatown with fresh durian. i have not had durian by itself, but the shake tasted like sweet, fruity sauteed onions. i couldn't drink the whole thing; the flavor did not match the texture, but it wasn't as bad as some have made out.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: indelibledotink

                                                                                                                Durian - one of the fruit wonders of the world... used to eat tons of them growing up in Southeast Asia. Best way to prepare it is by making a custard and pout it over vanilla ice cream. An acquired tast, but never forgotten.

                                                                                                                1. re: roro808

                                                                                                                  how would you describe the taste?

                                                                                                                  can you find them in chinatown?

                                                                                                                  i'm open to trying the actual fruit now.

                                                                                                                  1. re: indelibledotink

                                                                                                                    You can find it fresh or frozen in Chinatown. It tastes terrific so long it passes your nose. Very creamy and heavenly. (or hell?) ....LOL. It costs about $25 per head, fresh. If you are new to this, I would recommend you get the durian shlush available at the Maunakea food market.

                                                                                                              2. At a high school bake sale in Kauai we bought a cake baked in a bundt pan from the person noted as the best baker at the sale. Many years have gone by and still best cake ever consumed. The little white pineapples were a close second, and the island liliko'i a close third.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                  This reminded me of the worse thing I didn't eat. We were off the beaten path on the Big island, and 3 little rugrats who were filthy and snotty nosed were selling cookies with their mom. Of course we bought one from each of them. But as we drove away I turned to my husband and said, "you're not seriously ganna eat one of those!"

                                                                                                                2. I am just back. We've talked about the Golden Glow mangoes at Yee's Orchard before This time he had six different varieties. The Golden Glows still rule. Also, I have taken a vow to never eat ice cream again until I am back on the Big Island eating Tropical Dreams.

                                                                                                                  1. Huli huli chicken from these guys sitting in their truck on the side of the road near Lahaina.