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Hawaii Oahu Food: Part 2 of 2

Waialua Bakery for Acai bowl. Compared to the franchised Lanikai Juice, this tastes more hearty. You feel like you’re getting chunks of actual fruits in much larger quantity, although it looks less refined and less elegant.

They also had ice cream sandwiches. If you’re okay with having lots of butter, these cookies are nice and soft. Reduces lifespan.

Being in the north, we had to go to one of the shrimp trucks. North shore has shrimp farms, and these farms compete for business with food trucks. The most famous is Giovanni’s, but I like to avoid the #1 since they are over-rated. We went to the #2 in that area, Big Wave Shrimp, which was quite mediocre and I regretted it.

The Garlic Shrimp had mushy garlic. Not crispy at all. Even the fast-food steak place had better shrimps than here… Should have lined up at Giovanni’s…

On our drive, we suddenly noticed a Coconut stand along the road. The had 3 sizes, the large being mostly water, while medium has more meat, and small is the oldest and is mostly meat. Thinking I’d try both water and meat, I chose Medium.

The water was not that sweet, and had a bit of carbonated acidity to it. It was interesting, and different from the kinds we get in supermarkets in Canada. After we finished the water, we hand it back and the scoop out the meat.

The meat was disgusting. It was way to old, as you can see from the thickness of the meat.

For dinner, we used our Go Oahu Card to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center, which included a buffet and multiple shows.

The buffet was pretty standard. It was the lower-range buffet, while an upgraded buffet had better offerings.

Meat items had the local kinds of dishes like pulled pork. The taro buns were great.

Saturday was the KCC Farmer’s Market. It’s popular with both locals and tourists. Gets packed very fast. The KCC is the local college, so this is in their parking lot.

These jumbo shrimps were quite good. Different from any other shrimp we’ve had on this trip. Very sweet meat and amazing flavour.

Quite a few Japanese booths, and we ordered some takoyaki. We still prefer the standard sauce type instead of the onion variant.

 

The longest line was for abalone. It was about $10 for 3, and it just tasted like tough-to-chew scallops. Quite skipable.

After the market, we went to Heavenly Lifestyle. Serena had Loco Moco here last time, so we came to see. It was quite good. I have to say, the sauce had a strong ginger flavour, and is not the teriyaki style I had imagined. If there’s a way to recreate that sauce at home… hmm… it would be great.

We also had their pineapple parfait. Wow, because it’s like shaved ice, but with pineapples instead of flavouring shots, this was quite concentrated. Quite nice. Probably the best pineapple item I’ve had all trip.

Not being quite full, I went to the volcano ramen at Kazan Ramen. The gimmick is pouring broth into a hot stone bowl, so steam comes out, then you eat after a minute. We went for the small size, and I couldn’t finish at all. The flavour was very average. Feel like I’ve had better in Toronto.

In the evening, we went for Karai Crab, which tosses boiled seafood into a bag with sauce. Captain’s Boil in GTA is about the same, but Karai Crab had very nice crabs and fresher seafood. However, we still preferred the sauce at Captain’s Boi.

Saving the best for last, the breakfast buffet at Lychee was the biggest disappointment. After

Hawaii Oahu Food: Part 1 of 2

Chick-fil-a waffle fries… not as good as I remembered them, and definitely not as good as Mary Brown’s limited-time waffle fries… Thankfully the rest of the meal was quite nice, and conveniently located in the same terminal as our United connecting flight.

Arriving right before their lunch started, they still only had breakfast menu on the screen. Luckily, the staff said I could still order from the lunch menu since they’re getting ready for it anyway. We started with a breakfast chicken and egg sandwich. The chicken was definitely nicer than chicken burgers from Canadian fast food chains, even Mary Brown’s.

The deluxe spicy chicken sandwich from the lunch menu was packed with flavour. Maybe too much salt, so had to balance it with the fries and breakfast sandwich. It was a pretty satisfying meal.

Helena’s was our first stop in Honolulu, after getting the car rental. It is the most popular Hawaiian food place for tourists. With about 5 parking spots, the locals hate this restaurant because visitors will park on-street all around the neighbourhood.

We went for their combo platter, which had a little of everything. I was not too impressed with the local home-styled cooking.

First up, Lomi Lomi Salmon: a tomato salad with salmon. The salmon is not your fresh poke salmon, but tasted almost cured, looking and tasting like fishy ham. It just didn’t taste fresh. On the left is the Haupia, the coconut jelly pudding. That was quite refreshing, and helps to cut the grease from the other pork dishes. On the right is the pulled pork, greasy and dry, with very little flavouring.

Below is the pork ribs, bony and dry. Serena liked them. It’s just salted grilled ribs.

After the meal, we rushed over to Don Quijote to rent the portable WiFi, and grabbed sunscreen and groceries.

We splurged on this peach jelly for $4.99. It was pretty amazing actually. Very strong (artificial) peach flavour, very thirst-quenching.

To satisfy my craving for Japanese vegetable-fruit juice, we bought a large bottle of Ito En juice blend. It’s mostly just apple juice with small squirts of other juices, but I get so happy drinking this for every meal.

For the next day’s breakfast, we grabbed end-of-day special unagi bento. Fairly large piece of eel for the price.

Next stop was Hi Steaks, which felt like a copyright infringement of Hy’s Steakhouse just blocks away… But this was quite impressive for both their steaks and shrimps.

For about $15, you get a box like this with grilled steak and garlic shrimps. The steak, despite not cooked fresh but instead kept in a plastic warmer bin, was not over-cooked. Very simple teriyaki sauce paired well with it. The shrimp had crispy garlic on top, though the backs were not cut open and vein not removed. It was actually quite enjoyable.

By about 9:30 pm, most stores have closed. We looked for juice and found Il Gelato Hawaii instead. Picked two flavours: Kona Coffee and Berry Sorbetto. Impressively strong coffee flavour, balanced with sour berry sorbet.

On the east coast, we went to Fresh Catch, a poke restaurant.

You select your flavour, and they charge you by weight. We picked two marinade flavours: spicy Firecracker and sweet Hawaiian Blend, and two vegetables to balance it out.

1 lb of salmon in total was quite filling, even when split between the two of us. In contrast to sashimi, we found the marinades to be too strong, and the fish was soaked in it for who knows how many hours beforehand, so freshness was not apparent. They didn’t taste that fresh, but I’m sure they are. We asked if they carried scallops, and they replied they do not, because it would have to be imported and therefore not fresh.

Spicy Firecracker.

Sweet Hawaiian Blend.

Must try the Acai Bowl when in Hawaii. First, we went to a chain called Lanikai Juice. It was pretty good. The acai sorbet/smoothie had much more berry flavour than anything we’ve had in Canada.

Topped with oatmeal, honey, coconut shavings, pineapple, and banana, it was an interesting mix of textures and flavours.

Right next to this was the Kailua Farmer’s Market, open on Thursdays. The same booths travel around the island and open for different markets on different days of the week.

Bought a papaya, which we didn’t end up eating until the last day. It was… ordinary.

The Ice Cream Bananas (also called Blue Java Bananas) were amazing! Even when ripe on the outside, the banana still had the sour tang, and tastes much more fruity than the typical long banana. I miss these!

We got a shrimp crepe. It was okay. Not much shrimp, and only tiny shrimps anyway. You taste the cheese filling more.

Coldfyyre Ice Cream. Once again, we went for Kona Coffee and Lilikoi Passionfruit. I think all the desserts we had were quite good on this trip.

At the Shokudou Center, we chose this teppanyaki shop.

Unlimited salad refills! The corn really adds to the flavour! It was pretty good, and the waitress came around to ask if we wanted more. Service was great.

The meat consisted of a flat frying steak and Hamburg steak. The Hamburg was weird and we didn’t eat much of it…

 

 

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