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Sep 14, 2013 06:14 PM

What fish/seafood should we have?

Will be there in March. What will be local and fresh?

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  1. Whatever was caught the night before.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      LOL; but is there some species that are particular to Hawaii and in that area. I keep seeing butterfish so I assume that is local. Is seafood local (lobster, etc)?

      1. re: itryalot

        Butterfish (aka walu) is not always the same type of fish. It can be black cod or escolar:

    2. If you go to a restaurant that has a regular printed menu featuring the same fish dish(es) every day, you can be pretty sure it isn't going to be fresh or local.

      If it is cheap, probably not fresh or local.

      If it is a shrimp truck, probably not.

      If it is the day's special at a restaurant, better chance.

      If you go to Nico's or Uncle's at Pier 38, where the daily fish auction is held, you can be pretty sure it is fresh and local.

      For a good guide to what are the best choices for sustainable seafood, go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site or app...they have a Hawaii page:

      Butterfish is more a preparation than a species, see this description from the late John Heckathorn, long-time local food critic:

      1. Your best bet is to ask and pay attention to whatever the daily specials are. It will be pretty obvious as to what you can't find on the mainland as restaurants typically use the Hawaiian name for something on the menu. In Maui, places like Monkeypod Kitchen will have "catch of the day" specials.

        Grilled Kona abalone at the KCC Farmers Market is definitely a special treat. We also had some at Chef Mavro in Honolulu.

        Fresh opakapaka (red snapper) is also delciious. You may also see Kekaha shrimp from Kauai or Hawaiian spiny lobster on menus.

        Here's a good list of Hawaiian fish:

        Bigeye Tuna (Ahi
        )Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi)
        Albacore Tuna (Tombo Ahi)
        Skipjack Tuna (Aku)

        Blue Marlin (Kajiki)
        Striped Marlin (Nairagi)
        Shortbill Spearfish (Hebi)
        Broadbill Swordfish (Mekajiki)

        Other Ocean Species
        Wahoo (Ono)
        Moonfish (Opah)
        Sickle Pomfret (Monchong)

        Long-Tail Red Snapper (Onaga)
        Pink Snapper (Opakapaka)
        Blue-Green Snapper (Uku)
        Sea Bass (Hapu'upu'u)

        5 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          Add one more -- tilapia, if you like fresh water fish.

          1. re: roro808

            tilapia used to be considered a 'rubbish fish,' but now it's in vogue, i believe on the mainland it's called sunfish?

            1. re: roro808

              With the range of freshly caught fish in Hawaiian waters, why would you get farmed tilapia?

              1. re: gourmanda

                It is sustainable. Overfishing the reefs and industrial harvesting of oceanic fish is depleting the stocks so badly they may never recover. Everybody wants tuna and there just isn't enough for everybody to eat it all the time.

                Most, but not all farmed fish and seafood have serious problems. Farmed shrimp especially, which is most of the shrimp you will find, is often raised overseas in unhealthy conditions, heavy use of antibiotics, damaging local water resources for the locals to provide for the export market to rich countries. But it is cheaper than wild caught or sustainably raised.

                The Nalolicious folks at the Ala Moana Saturday farmer's market do a pretty impressive job with their large sized farm raised must be ordered in advance, and they spend several days getting it prepared (putting it thru clean tanks etc) for their customers.

                1. re: gourmanda

                  It's fresh and reasonably priced. I won't eat it, but some people would. This is only a suggestion. Other fish that should be tried is of course, the beautiful parrot fish, which I won't eat either. Somehow I always feel guilty consuming such a beautiful fish.

            2. Thank you all! I need to start my foodie spreadsheet so I can take it with me including restaurants you've included.

              1. Are you dining out or cooking for your self? If the former, ask the server what was caught that day. If the latter, there should be a fish shop near one of the harbors that takes in the day's catch. Also, many of the grocery stores (Big Island anyway) receive daily fresh deliveries.

                If the Opah is freshly caught, that is delicious! Ono another good option. Last trip we had Tombo (albacore tuna we were told) for the first time and it was delicious--nothing like the canned.

                Maine lobster is farmed on the Big Island and many restaurants have lobster nights; not sure if it is fresh on the other islands.