Report on Farmer's Markets (and other eats) in Oahu
We ate absolutely delicious food on our recent trip to Oahu all due to the wisdom and generosity of the posters on this board. Thank you! Here's a rundown:
Our first FM was the Sunday Kailua FM at elementary school. Fairly small, but very great vendors. We found dragon fruit, two types of papaya, Hayden mangos, and lychees. All terrific - sweet, fresh, and perfectly ripe. My 5-year old loved the crafts table.
Next FM was on Wednesday at the Windard Mall. I was fairly disappointed in terms of the fruit offerings. All the vendors seemed identical and there was little in terms of luscious tropical fruits on a par to what we saw in Kailua on Sunday. I don't mean to knock this market - seems like a great place for a local to get weekly veggie and fruit shopping done, and my gosh those pastries from Manny's Bakery were divine. (My kids devoured the adobo and Portugese sausage pastries in less than a minute once we were in the car and resentfully asked me why I did not buy more of them.) I stopped at one vendor who had a sign for "Hayden mangos" but they looked nothing like the delicious ones I had bought on Sunday. But I loved the ones from Sunday so much that I bought four of these. They were really mediocre and tasted just like supermarket Dole mangos availabe on the mainland. I question whether they were really even Hayden mangos.
The next FM was Thursday in Kailua. Pig and the Lady rocks! I'm Vietnamese and have pretty high standards when it comes to Vietnamese food (whether traditional or modern) and this place hit it out of the park. The "pho dip sandwich" consisted a thick, juicy piece of brisket sandwiched between two pieces of freshly toasted baguette with sauteed bean sprouts, herbs, and slathered with a tasty chimichurri sauce. The pho broth on the side, i.e., the "jus," was a perfect partner for the sandwich. We also had the grilled pork meatball vermicelli, which was also very delicious, but perhaps not as creative.
Last FM was KCC. We figured we wouldn't have time with our early flight, but we got advanced notice that it was delayed by several hours so we were there bright and early. This is a world class FM. The produce was amazing - we finall found rambutans and bought several bags to eat on the way to the airport. They were everything I had hoped for - plump, juicy, sweet, fleshy. Delicious. My mouth is watering thinking of them. We also ate the grilled abolone from Kona, several ono pops (caramel shoyu was outstanding), and at Pig and the Lady again! All delicious, fresh, and just so satisfying.
We also ate poke at Nicos, Tamura's Wine Shop, Fresh Catch, and Ono Seafood. Hard to not love all the poke on Hawaii given how fresh it is, but Ono was the best. Made to order and so tender. As for shaved ice, we ate several times at Island Snow (given its proximity to our house). Tasty, but the ice was pretty hard. Shimazu's was AMAZING. Soft ice. The flavors were clean and bright. And the aduzki beans were tender.
We had a great time on your lovely island. A highlight was swimming next to a sea turtle at Lanikai Beach. Thanks for the hospitality!