I was in Oahu with my wife these past two weeks. Generally we go back to some of our local favorites as well as try some new places. Our thanks go to this board for enhancing our annual trips. Here is our food report:
My wife loves Korean plate lunches, something lacking in the LA area. This means a Korean style meat with rice, macaroni salad and several servings of panchan. Her go-to place is Han Yang which serves reasonably prices plates along with Korean BBQ and other goodies. It was good, but not the best. I prefer Seoul Garden Yakiniku for their kalbi.
Next day we went to Teddy’s Better Burgers in Kailua. She loves their fish sandwiches, while I really like their 7 oz. burger. I had heard much about Char Hung Sut’s manapua so we ordered the steamed ones along with a box of chow mein noodles. I found the manapua doughy with too much bread over pork. But the mein was a revelation with a nice snap to the noodles. This was followed by a traditional stop at Leonard’s for their great malasadas. I had my favorite dobash (chocolate).
We visited Yataimura on the 2nd floor of Shirokiya in Ala Moana. We spent a lot of time looking instead of eating since we were full. We were to come back later, but it was impressive. Wife ended up with a delicious haupia smoothie and I bought some sweets downstairs.
With errands to run in Waimanalo, I went to Ken’s for Loco Moco. Not bad, since options there are quite limited. The best thing was that it was next door to Dave’s for Ice Cream. I tried their Poha Berry before settling on a delicious Ube. Overall Bubbies is still my favorite, but Dave’s is pretty good.
Back in Kaneohe, we went to another Korean favorite, Yoonysoon. Very good BBQ beef plate lunch.. For dessert, Liliha Bakery in Town for their chocolate puffs. Still really good.
On the way to Costco, we had lunch at Green Papaya for Vietnamese. Grilled pork bun (vermicelli) and a side of summer rolls. Delicious, though I think LA’s Vietnamese is a little better.
Got a chance to try the well-hyped Burgers on the Edge. Sorry to say, my Kobe burger was a sorry assemblage. The meat was okay, just the execution was lacking. The whole wheat bun looked like it didn’t belong with the burger and the fries while delicious, were overprices even for Honolulu. Edge goes on my never again list with Boots and Kimo. It made me miss my Teddy’s and my wife her Kua Aina.
We stayed a couple of nights at the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. Part of their package include breakfast on their Hau Tree patio, and the breakfasts were delicious. I greatly enjoyed my salmon benedict, while my wife loved her fruit, which included an entire pineapple quarter.
At Yataimura, I got to enjoy this place that served 5 kinds of rice. I sampled 3 of them as an inari sushi. Some people call them “footballs” Really great. I also enjoyed takoyaki, though I found them just a touch soggy. If I lived in Honolulu, I would visit Yataimura at least once a week, if not more. The variety of Japanese street food is an eye-opener, and there is so much variety it would be impossible to try everything they offer. As dessert, I went downstairs for manju.
In Waikiki we found a great little artisan ice cream shop called Tropical Dreams on Seaside. Based in Big Island, they had a great variety of Hawaiian based flavors. Not quite as good as Bubbies and not nearly as exotic as Dave’s, still a great option. I enjoyed my Tahitian Vanilla and the Macadamia Nut, while my wife liked the Coconut.
Also tried the Waikiki outpost of Hank’s Haute Dogs, that we learned about on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Really disappointed in the Chicago Dog, as the Dog was scrawny, but I guess we need to go to the original to try the Lobster Dog.
Went to Rainbows for their famous Mixed Plate. Good as ever, thought they replaced the mahi mahi with Ahi. Always a place in my tummy for Rainbows.
Discovered the Farmer’s Market at Windward Shopping Center on both floors of the Mall on Wednesdays. Really fun stop, and the prices were great. We bought Kona coffee, honey, haupia and baked goods.
One more time stranded in Waimanalo, and tried Keneke’s, supposedly famous for lau lau. Save your money. Go to Youngs. Another stop at Dave’s suppressed the disappointment.
Honolulu Coffee Company at Ala Moana is always a treat. I don’t know of many places that properly serve 100% Kona Coffee. A nostalgic trip to Kin Wah’s for pressed almond duck and cake noodles was surprisingly good.
All in all, a great food vacation for us, though we didn’t go to any expensive places like Alan Wongs.
One question, I noticed a lot of Ramen shops in Oahu, yet they seem to rarely get mentioned on Chowhounds. Ramen is a huge topic in LA, and we seem to notice every time there is a new shop. Because Hawaii is famous for Saimin, would that dampen the interest in Ramen?
I will have a separate review of the shave ice places I visited while in Hawaii.
Alan Wong's Restaurant
1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826
Burgers on the Edge
890 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Char Hung Sut Restaurant
64 N Pauahi St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Han Yang Restaurant
1311 N King St Ste 7, Honolulu, HI 96817
1518 Makaloa St Ste A, Honolulu, HI 96814
1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814
PO Box 654, Waimanalo, HI 96795