li hing anything, starting with fresh pineapple, dried mango, and candies you already like, such as sour patch kids, gummy bears, apple rings, sour apples, rock candy (my fave) etc. li hing candies, li hing dried fruit, and li hing powder available at longs drugs/cvs. get the powder and put on fresh pineapple, shots of tequila, etc. it is an incomparable taste. if you dig it, you can try more hardcore 'crackseed' treats.
a loco moco is a good place to start as well. ingredients found anywhere: rice, hamburger patty, eggs, brown gravy (some places use a diff gravy like a creamy mushroom; i think a beefy brown is the best), onions if you like. try the one at liliha bakery. a lot of mainlanders get weirded out by the combo, but it seems like a burger with rice instead of bread to me. a lot of other mainlanders like it quite a bit. you decide.
As has been asked:
What do you want?
What is your budget?
Where are you staying?
Do you have an auto?
O`ahu is a food paradise (no pun intended), and we try to build in several days there, regardless of where else we might be visiting. I could recommend a dozen restaurants, but those might not be what you are looking for.
Of all the Island, and the sides of the Islands, O`ahu, and Honolulu/Waikiki has the greatest, and most diverse wealth of restaurants. However, those range from good, but low-end mom-n-pops, to some stellar high-end dining.
Help us, to help you.
I'll bump this thread.
Going in early January, need ideas.
To answer Bill's questions
What do you want? GREAT STUFF - HIGH OR LOW, ONLY "REQUIREMENT" - and this is quite flexible too WOULD BE DIFFERENT FROM LA
What is your budget? ANY
Where are you staying? KAHALA
Do you have an auto? YES
re: Ciao Bob
It's a really cool place with a domed cast iron grill in the middle of the table.
We had bulgogi, shortribs, and "vegetables" which turned out to be a huge bowl of leafy greens. So fresh it really looked like they were picked that day.
Grill the meat, wrap the meat in a leaf with some rice, slather on a sauce or two and you're in.
At one point for us 3, I counted 31 dishes on the table!
Be sure to order some Korean rice wine with ginseng bek se ju. Delicious. I never would have known about it if I didn't ask about the poster on the wall.
Very nice people too. Evidently it's a real "scene" on the patio at night.
Also, don't miss Char Hung Sut in Chinatown.
for their takeout only bbq buns and other tasty delights.
Be sure to pay homage to the picture of "grandmother" on the wall. She started the place 68 years ago.
Really historic slice of mid century Chinatown and tasty treats to eat.
On the flipside if you want an elegant cocktail go to Halekulani in Waikiki. The upstairs bar serves cocktails developed by Colin Field who is a big name in cocktails. $20 each and be sure to wear nice clothes. Each one comes with it's own unique small snack paired to the cocktail.
I know...$20 bucks! It's worth it.
Then go down a floor to the other bar and listen to some nice lounge jazz. Really sweet.
Went to Roy's. I'd skip it. Went to Hiroshi. I'd skip it.
Please tell us about your trip.
re: Ciao Bob
Well since LA is about the only place in the US that you can even find various Hawaii style plate lunch your main "requirement" may be a bit difficult. So what are the main differences?
First and foremost you will note the lack of hispanic foods, be it Mexican or any place else from Central or South America. Hawaii has a very strong Asian presence, whether they are new immigrants or are from families that have lived here for as much as 5 or 7 generations. Every person in Hawaii is an ethnic minority. If you lump all Asians into one group they become the largest minority group, followed by whites. Our African-American population is very small, much of it involved with the military presence here. All that is reflected in our food.
Something else that is reflected in our food is that, unlike much of the mainland, the peoples of Hawaii have a tendency to marry outside their immediate ethnic and even their own racial group. That is also reflected in our foods. Even at a "traditional" Okazuya (deli) you will find fried chicken, hot dogs, spam, and macaroni salad. Starting in the 1980's some Hawaii Chefs got the bright idea to elevate this fusion of cuisines to new levels. Roys, Alan Wong's, Chef Mavro, and one or two more became the flagships of this new Fusion Cuisine. It is now common to see fusion dishes in everything from La Mer, traditional French preparations with ingredients that would have horrified and baffled former generations of Le Cordon Bleu down to the new generation of food trucks (formerly lunch wagons) that might sell Grilled Musubi, Spicy Ahi, or Pork Ginger.
Start with the thread "what to eat where" link and go from there (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9235...)
Of special note near you are Hoku's and the Plumeria Beach House in the Kahala. In nearby Kaimuki are 12th Avenue Grill, Town, 3660, JJ's, Cafe Miro, and Big City Diner to name a few. At the bottom of Kaimuki you can find L&L drive in (not my favorite) and Sekiya's which serves local style Japanese/Japanese inspired food (Saimin/Hamburger combo.) Kapahulu has both Haili's and Ono's for traditional Hawaiian food, along with Waiola Store for Shave Ice and the iconic Rainbow Drive Inn and Leonard's Bakery. on the Diamond Head side of Kapahulu are Pioneer Inn, Diamond Head Grill, and South Shore Grill. Going further afield to Waikiki you have LaMer, Roy's, Dukes, Tiki's and The House Without a Key, Michele's, and Hau Tree Lanai along with others. I'd also strongly consider Nico's for Fish, Sugoi's for Plate Lunch or Bento, and check if Eat The Street is going on while you are here. If you are on the North Shore give a look at Haleiwa Joe's and/or Jameson's, along with Kua Aina Burgers and Sandwiches, or the one Mexican restaurant you might consider - Luibuenos. I'm not familiar with whats at Kuilima these days, and others can give better information about the windward side.
re: Ciao Bob
re: Ciao Bob
Do the second seating at Nanzan GiroGiro, it is a lot less rushed.
The Pig & The Lady are also at the Saturday AM KCC Farmers Market, which is a "don't miss," if you like farmers markets.
Get to the KCC Farmers Market early. It gets very crowded, especially with the tour buses stopping in. 7:30am was OK but 9am was quite crowded.
- The Pig & The Lady, delicious Vietnamese and Thai dishes, with a weekly rotating menu, check their web site beforehand!!
- Breakfast plates like kimchee fried rice with Portuguese sausage and scrambled eggs from Grandma G's
- Freshly grilled ("BBQ") abalone from the Big Island (long lines here)
- Made in Hawaii Foods' passionfruit butter and fresh strawberry-red bean mochi from Made in Hawaii foods
- Fresh pineapple juice and coconut water
- Raw macadamia nuts
- Dr. Sun’s famous Kahuku grown sea asparagus
- Fresh brewed Hawaii coffee
- North Shore Farms' famous pesto pizza
- PacifiKool syrups and sodas
- Ono Pops
re: Ciao Bob
re: Ciao Bob
Will write more later but wanted to give a big shout out for Nanzan GiroGiro....it was excellent...the best 50 dollar keiseki experience I can imagine. And such a fun setting. It is like n/naka in LA at one third the price. Amazing.
Heading to the north shore to bum about today - any shrimp truck opinions? Mackys vs others?
re: Ciao Bob
Thank you for that info.
Here are my "go-to" restaurants on O`ahu, but with some recent observations, and amendments:
Alan Wong's King St.
La Mer (Sept visit, with new chef, was a bit less than stellar, and that was unexpected - good, but far from great)
Michel's @ Colony Surf (had a less than great visit, years before, but our 2012 visit was excellent)
Orchids @ Halekulani - had both a lovely lunch, then dinner
With the exception of Michel's, all were visited in Sept. 2013.
Also did Morimoto, but were greatly underwhelmed. Though we greatly enjoyed his Philadelphia restaurant, some years back, this was NOT an enjoyable evening, at any level.
In the past - but not recently:
3660 on the Rise
Mariposa @ Ala Moana
Hau Tree Lanai - have received some very negative reports lately, so I would research this one - still, the venue is excellent
Travel safely, and aloha.
House without a key is one of our faves and would love to have cocktails in the lounge but always in island wear..love the private club atmosphere.
Rumfire at Sheraton, Hula Grill or Dukes for Happy hour.
Roy's Waikiki is not to be skipped and GM Diva has so much Aloha..
This is not your typical mainland Roy's..
Azure at the Royal Hawaiian is lovely..plus, its one of the best old school places to stay.
Mai Tai bar at RH or Moana for drinks.
Mariposa at Neimans or Pineapple Room at Alan Wongs.