Hi all. I'll be in Oahu for the upcoming holidays. It makes planning a bit difficult because many places close down. I like to mix it up between casual and fancy. I'm from NYC and prefer to eat things that I have trouble finding in my hometown -- so no burgers and Italian on this trip. I'm really psyched to indulge in all of your awesome seafood, though I'm also a big fan of land animals as well. We're going to be based in Waikiki, but will have a car.
It was really difficult to narrow it down, but this is my tentative itinerary:
Breakfasts (trying to keep it light so I have more room in my stomach; I also don't snack so using breakfast is a good way to get my RDA of cocoa puffs)
Leonard's for masaladas
Liliha Bakery for cocoa puffs
Ted's for chocolate coconut cream pie
Fresh tropical fruit
Waiola shave ice (okay, probably more of a snack than breakfast) -- am hoping the texture is like my beloved Hansen's Sno-Blitz in New Orleans
one of the shrimp trucks at the North Shore
Sam Choy's (DH is requesting this)
Huli-huli chicken somewhere
Chinatown -- Char Hung Sut; Royal Kitchen
Sunrise (b/c there's no Okinawan in NYC)
Side Street Inn
Papa Ole (b/c it's near PCC)
Hoku (b/c it's one of the very few restaurants that offers a regular a la carte menu on NYE)
Have a few questions (OK, a bit more than a few). But I hope some of you can help me out.
1. Best place for huli huli chicken? I understand that some grocery stores carry it. But I'm looking for the outdoor experience. I see there's one on the North Shore (Ray Kiawe) that seems well reviewed. Is that one superior over the one at Ward's Warehouse?
2. I plan on doing the whole touristy PCC thing. However, I think I want to skip the food part there and find something on my own. Looks like there aren't too many choices in the immediate vicinity (want to get back for the fire show at night). The best thing I've found so far is Papa Ole. Any other recs near PCC?
3. Generally I order a la carte when I go to sushi restaurants in my hometown as I know what I like to eat. It seems that you're strongly urged to order omakase at Sasabune. Do you get off-menu items or better pieces of fish when you do omakase versus ordering a la carte? I've also looked at Mitch's, but I think I would be happier at Sasabune. The fish pieces at Mitch's look way too large for my taste.
4. If you had only one farmer's market to go to, which one would you go to in or near Honolulu?
5. Where is the best place to purchase tropical fruit? Chinatown? Farmer's markets? Supermarket? Am very partial to mangosteens. And I was also wondering whether the white sugarloaf pineapple and mangoes were to be found this time of year.
6. Any other places in Chinatown that carry local-inspired Chinese food?
7. I'm sure debating shrimp trucks is like debating pizza in NYC. Part of me wants to visit Giovanni's because it's the original. But Macky's seems to be getting some good reviews as well. Which one would you go to? And taste will triumph over history for me.
8. Is it worth going to both Ono's and Helena's? Or should I swap one of them out and try Boots and Kimo for their macadamia pancakes?
Thanks so much for reading.