Posts Tagged ‘Big Island’

Kona Kai Sushi – The Izakaya for Locals

October 1, 2012

Call me Jiro because I always dream of sushi. And in those dreams, I typically envision a small, dark, packed-to-the-brim hole-in-the-wall with a certain “je ne sais quoi” aura. Behind the sushi bar stands a stoic, elder sushi master who earned that title of “master” by working his way up the sushi making ranks for decades. With an air of arrogance, he’ll take his time with your order, giving off the impression that he’s doing you a favor by serving his food.

Local sushi chef James Matsukawa takes that visual and completely flips it on its head. Barely 30, he is the energetic owner of Kona Kai Sushi, a somewhat undiscovered sushi restaurant on Coyne Street, that just celebrated its 1 year anniversary in July. And although Kona Kai does give off that appealing, hole-in-the-wall vibe, Matsukawa is anything but old and stoic.

A look inside Kona Kai Sushi
A look inside Kona Kai Sushi

Matsukawa grew up in Kealakekua on the Big Island where his love for fishing began early when, at the ripe old age of 10, he started hanging out with the old timers, regularly fishing for menpachi, akule and papio.

Years after moving to Oahu, he worked as a line cook at Kabuki Restaurant before moving behind the sushi bar under master chef Yoshio Kazama. He continued his practice at countless other Japanese restaurants like Kohnotori, Jimbo’s, 808 Kapahulu, Shigezo, and Sushi Izakaya Shinn until a stint at Sushi Sasabune changed his life forever.

“It was like sushi boot camp.” describes Matsukawa. “I think it was the hardest place to work, both mentally and physically. Long hours at a frantic pace. I basically lived there, but it has been the most influential experience to this day by far.”

Under master chef Seiji Kumagawa’s careful tutelage, Matsukawa was taught to be extremely disciplined and to respect the fish. It was not about how to do things, but why.

He then moved on to the popular izakaya Tokkuri Tei, which influenced him in an entirely different way.

“Tokkuri Tei showed me a more casual way of doing sushi. The clientele atmosphere had a lively, easy going energy typical of an izakaya (in Japan).”

After Tokkuri Tei, he felt that he was ready to open his own restaurant in the form of Umi no Sachi on 11th Ave in Kaimuki. Unfortunately, due to inexperience and poor business relationships, it closed after only three months. Matsukawa then took an 8 month hiatus, regrouped and was ready to sushi again.

James Matsukawa
James Matsukawa

Enter Kona Kai. Named after his roots (Kona) and his love for the ocean (Kai), Kona Kai brings the best of Matsukawa’s experiences and serves it to his highly targeted clientele.

“We don’t advertise and we really don’t want to. Sasabune taught me that word of mouth (advertising) is the most important.”

On a recent trip with the boys from Lawai`a (the Fishing magazine I write for), we went omakase style and here is what we were served:

Seared Canadian Tombo (albacore tuna) with ponzu
Seared Canadian Tombo (albacore tuna) with ponzu

Baby Calamari stuffed with Blue Crab
Baby Calamari stuffed with Blue Crab

2 types of Washington Oysters: 1 baked & 1 fresh with Alaskan King Salmon Caviar
2 types of Washington Oysters: 1 baked & 1 fresh with Alaskan King Salmon Caviar

Spanish Bluefin Sushi
Spanish Bluefin Sushi

Red Snapper from Southern Japan (Kyushu) with Canadian Rainbow Trout Caviar with reduced shoyu
Red Snapper from Southern Japan (Kyushu) with Canadian Rainbow Trout Caviar with reduced shoyu

Shimaaji from Shikoku (background) & Golden Eye Snapper with Shiokara on top (foreground)
Shimaaji from Shikoku (background) & Golden Eye Snapper with Shiokara on top (foreground)

Hokkaido Tako, simmered with shoyu, massaged by hand with daikon for 45 minutes (background) & Aji (Japanese Akule) with ginger and green onions (foreground)
Hokkaido Tako, simmered with shoyu, massaged by hand with daikon for 45 minutes (background) & Aji (Japanese Akule) with ginger and green onions (foreground)

Russian King Crab with Kani Miso (background) & Prawn from New Caledonia with black Flying Fish Caviar (foreground)
Russian King Crab with Kani Miso (background) & Prawn from New Caledonia with black Flying Fish Caviar (foreground)

South African Rock Lobster tail from the Tristan da Cunha islands
South African Rock Lobster tail from the Tristan da Cunha islands

Matsukawa wants to create an atmosphere where his clients become his friends. His main goal is to continually top his customers’ last visit.

Many of the dishes from our night were brok’ da mout’ amazing. Creative, yet fundamentally sound. If he is planning on topping that the next time around, sign me up!

(Previously published in Lawai`a Magazine)

Kona Kai Sushi
2535 Coyne Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tue-Sat: 6pm-12am
Sun: 5pm-10pm
(808) 594-7687

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We Do It Big Island Style – Part II

September 1, 2012
Part I |  Part II 

Wow! Has it really been 5 years since I last wrote about our Big Island of Hawaii? To give it some perspective on how long ago that really was, since then, I’ve gained a ring, a wife, a baby, and a few extra pounds. πŸ˜‰

To be fair though, we actually haven’t done much traveling at all since da bebe came into our lives. Needless to say, this recent trip to the youngest island in our Hawaiian chain was a welcome change in scenery. The secret, ulterior motive/reason for the trip? To get the little squirt used to the idea of flying in a plane – call it “practice” – so that we could one day take her on a trip to the mainland U.S., Japan, or beyond.

Baby's first plane ride
Baby’s first plane ride

Our adventure started like any other trip would… NOT! Boy, traveling with a little one ain’t easy. There are soooo many things you need to worry about. Things like:

  • Bottled milk
  • Baby snacks
  • Clothes
  • Baby swimsuit
  • Baby lotion
  • Hat
  • Inflatables
  • Bibs
  • Baby wipes
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Diapers
  • Baby carrier
  • Etc.

Wifey literally had to pack one of those HUUUUGE (pronounced like Donald Trump) suitcases that you take on month long European vacations… For a two night neighbor island trip! Seriously?

Then again, she always packed like that. Kidding! No tell on me ah! 8)

And then there are the other baby essentials that come in larger form factors. Things like the infant car seat, stroller, crib, etc. Again, things you don’t really think or worry about when you’re a baby-less traveler.

Since we didn’t exactly want to take our “good” stuff (for fear of it getting mangled on transport), we decided to rent the car seat from the car rental place. A good idea, so long as you don’t mind using a “worn in” car seat and paying a few extra bucks on your rental car bill. For us, the convenience of it all just made more sense.

Baby and momma pulling maps while waiting for our car
Baby and momma pulling maps while waiting for our car

Ed’s Tip: Be sure you know how to install standard car seats for babies. The rental car people aren’t allowed to install it for you, probably for legal reasons (they don’t want to get sued if something happens).

For the stroller, we were fortunate enough to stay at the beautiful Hilton Waikoloa Resort where they actually provide it as a service to their clientele. With Hawaii’s weather (causing a lotion-lathered baby to get quite sweaty) and elements (sand, salt water air, etc.), borrowing a stroller is definitely the way to go if you want to preserve your personal “good” stroller.

And then there’s the crib. Again, thank goodness that the resort provided this to us for free. Not sure how many they have available, but I would recommend calling in advance to request it for your room. Even though ours turned out to be more of a dryer rack (a place to hang our wet swim attire) as baby slept in the bed with us (see sleep diagram here), it was nice not to have to worry about lugging around a portable crib all the way from Oahu.

My “goal” when we first arrived at KOA (Kona International Airport), was to eat some famous Pork Chops from my friend’s family’s place: the Manago Hotel. Heck, I even skipped breakfast in anticipation of the blessed event. Since I knew it was in the Captain Cook area (which is even further south from our hotel than the airport), I thought it would be best if we went straight there from the airport rather than making a special trip there.

The drive was a bit longer than I thought (20 or so miles, and a good 30-40 minutes), but pretty straight-forward. You pretty much drive south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (HI-19) until you get there.

Outside the Manago Hotel
Outside the Manago Hotel

The restaurant sits inside the lobby area of the 64 room hotel. It was perfect. We arrived just before 11am when they open for their lunch shift, so getting seated was a breeze.

Inside the Manago Hotel restaurant
Inside the Manago Hotel restaurant

Ed’s tip: Speaking of breeze, the hotel sits on the slopes of Mauna Loa at an elevation of 1,350 feet, so I would imagine that it gets quite nippy here at night or during the “winter” months. Be sure to bring warm attire with you. We were there in the middle of the afternoon in the midst of summer, and you could still feel the bite in the air.

On to the menu.

Manago Hotel menu
Manago Hotel menu

I already knew what I wanted, so looking at the menu was just a formality. πŸ˜‰

First up though, were the inclusive starters… A nice little old school touch.

Steamed veggies
Steamed veggies

Home made mac salad (with potato chunks!)
Home made mac salad (with potato chunks!)

And my personal fave…

Ogo namasu
Ogo namasu

I’m not a big fan of raw onions and tomatoes, but the third item in this dish (ogo) is one of my faves (see Poke Paradise series)! Don’t think I’ve ever had ogo namasu style. She go!

And then it was on to the main course. Wifey ordered the Mahi ($9.75) for her and baby, but I just noticed that I don’t have a single picture of the dish. I think I may’ve been in a pork chop trance by this point. LOL! That’s ok. My friend Nathan Kam to the rescue! Here’s a shot of the Mahi he took a few years back. Thanks Big Nate!

Mahi from Manago Hotel [Photo Credit: Nathan Kam]
Mahi from Manago Hotel [Photo Credit: Nathan Kam]

I feel bad because wifey ordered it mostly so that baby could have something healthy (and chewable) to eat. She said it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Though she did say that after tasting (and tasting, and tasting!) my pork chops so her palate may’ve already been tainted by then. 8)

And then my dish came… Did somebody say PORK CHOPS!? (cue 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This”)

Yes, I was a bit excited about getting those chops in mah belleh, and Manago Hotel definitely did not disappoint.

Manago Hotel's world famous Pork Chops ($9.75)
Manago Hotel’s world famous Pork Chops ($9.75)

Dauym! Buggah fo’ real kine brok’ da mout! The crispy texture of the breading was perfectly offset by the creaminess of the gravy. And the flavor… POW! Hit me right in the kisser. I want to go back again like right NOW!

Side note: There are many purists who think that you should enjoy the pork chop here sans the gravy. It’s up to you how you want to eat it. To each their own. I personally prefer gravy all ova!

Overall, it was a really great way to kick start our neighbor island vacation. Manago Hotel has that old school charm that I absolutely love and I know you will too. Go check um out goo…

Manago Hotel
82-6151 Mamalahoa Hwy
Captain Cook, HI 96704 (Street View)
(808) 323-2642
mail@managohotel.com
Restaurant hours:
7am-9am (Breakfast)
11am-2pm (Lunch)
5pm-7:30pm (Dinner)
Closed on Mondays

Our next stop was full on spontaneous. As I was posting my pictures from Manago Hotel on the Interwebs, I got a bunch of comments asking if I was going to go check out Kona Chips. Being the Oahu boy that I am, I was like hah? Wea dat? Come to find out, it’s actually just a few steps away from (outside of) Manago Hotel! I would’ve totally missed it had they not told me. And thank goodness they did. Their star product, aptly named “Ugly Cookies” was winnahz!

Ugly Cookies from Kona Potato Chips (company)
Ugly Cookies from Kona Potato Chips (company)

Made with your standard oatmeal, rice cereal, flour, chocolate, butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda, the real kicker here is that they include bits of their popular Kona potato chips in the mix, giving the cookies their trademark “ugliness”. πŸ˜‰ We still have about 3 more cookies left in the fridge from our batch of omiyage to ourselves, and believe you me, I’m trying my darndest to make it last as long as possible! LOL!

Other popular items here include their Furikake Chips, their “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips and, of course, their namesake Kona Potato Chips.

Side Note: While penning this article, I gave Kona Chips a call to find out what their hours of operation were. To my surprise, the company president himself Jerome Furukawa answered the phone and he was very humble and nice and appreciative of the piece I was writing. Gotta love those kinds of folks. Go and support um gang!

Kona Potato Chips
82-6155 Mamalahoa Highway
Captain Cook, HI 96704 (Street View)
Phone : 808-323-3785
KonaChips@hawaii.rr.com
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 8am-5pm
Wed: 8am-3pm
Sat: 9am-1pm
Sun: Closed

With our pon-pons full, we packed up and made the northerly trek back up the Kona coast towards our home for the weekend at the Hilton Waikoloa. The drive was about an hour (approximately 40 miles), which only meant one thing: Daddy, the designated driver, was the only one awake. What’s new? πŸ˜‰

The drive was definitely worth it though. Once we reached our room and unloaded all of our stuff, this is the view we were treated with. Ahhhh, lucky we live Hawaii, no?

The view at Hilton Waikoloa
The view at Hilton Waikoloa

After feeding da bebe, and a quick dip at the Kohala Pool, it was already time for dinner. We washed up and psychologically prepared ourselves to experience DK’s Crab Ramen again from nearby Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar. If you recall in part I of my Hawaii Ramen Quest series, the Crab Ramen at this particular Sansei (Waikoloa location) was the only dreamy one worth splurging on. The same exact ramen from the Sansei Waikiki and Kapalua locations both, for some reason, disappointed us (I didn’t try it from their Kihei location). We’re happy to report that the Crab Ramen at Sansei Waikoloa is still dope! We would’ve been so sad if that one also failed us. πŸ˜›

D.K.'s Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Waikoloa) - $17.95
D.K.’s Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Waikoloa) – $17.95

Instead of our usually faves like the Shrimp Dynamite and Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll, we decided to try a few different things this time. Wifey got the Matsuhisa Style Miso Butterfish for her and bebe, while I ordered the Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke off their “New Looks” section of the menu.

Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke with Crispy Lotus Root Chips and Tobiko ($14.95)
Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke with Crispy Lotus Root Chips and Tobiko ($14.95)

Ironically, bebe crashed out and decided to sleep through our entire meal. The one positive? Mommy and daddy got to enjoy a little adult time.

Mommy on a hot date! :P
Mommy on a hot date! πŸ˜›

Daddy posing with the K.O.'d bebe
Daddy posing with the K.O.’d bebe

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort)
201 Waikoloa Beach Drive Suite 801
Waikoloa, HI 96738 (Map )
(808) 886-6286
Dinner Nightly: 5:30pm-10pm
Late Night Dining: Friday and Saturday: 10pm-1am

Of course it wasn’t long after dinner when bebe decided to wake up and get hungry, so we headed straight back to the room to feed our little Tamagotchi. Shortly thereafter, it was time for bed. It was then that I was able to capture this precious (IMHO) moment.

Bedtime stories with momma and bebe
Bedtime stories with momma and bebe

The next morning we headed back to Queens’ MarketPlace to pick up some breakfast and snacks at Island Gourmet Markets. If y’all don’t know, convenience-wise, this place is the greatest invention since sliced bread! They’ve got a bakery, deli, produce department, meat and seafood department, stuff for omiyage and even a wine bar! Island Gourmet Markets is actually a division of ABC Stores so picture an ABC store and add like a mini supermarket all up in it. It’s like an ABC store on steroids. Wifey was able to pick up whole milk in small portions for the baby, which was perfect, since we weren’t able to bring much over on the flight and the refridge in our room wasn’t big enough to hold anything bigger. We also picked up some drinks, snacks, and bentos and sandwiches for lunch.

Wifey and baby enjoying a quickie picnic at the Queens' MarketPlace
Wifey and baby enjoying a quickie picnic at the Queens’ MarketPlace

After lunch, we showed baby this neat water display that shoots a single stream of water over and across a walkway. It’s meant for people to walk under it, but baby found another way to have fun with it!

I guess she's a fan of water!
I guess she’s a fan of water!

It was funny because although she kept squinting and making a scared face every time she touched the water, she insisted on continuing to go back for more! With her entire body pretty much covered with water, we figured it was time to head back to the resort to get ready for some pool action. The little squirt had other plans. After a brief stop to catch a glimpse at some of the flamingos on property…

Pointing at the flamingos (baby's eyes are getting heavy...)
Pointing at the flamingos (baby’s eyes are getting heavy…)

Flamingo area near the Kona Pool
Flamingo area near the Kona Pool

… the little one decided to crash out. Must’ve been the water fountain! πŸ˜‰ A couple hours later, we made our way back to the Kona Pool to finally get our swim on.

Kona Pool at Hilton Waikoloa Village
Kona Pool at Hilton Waikoloa Village

I live for days like this!
I live for days like this!

After getting nice and toasty, we went back to our room, rested up and got ready for dinner. Whereas normally, we would’ve probably adventured off site to see what kind of neat, hole-in-the-wall eateries we could find, with the little one, we opted to stay close and head back to the Queens’ MarketPlace yet again. This time, we ate at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, for your standard, Italian fare.

Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip
Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip

Mama's Trio (Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni)
Mama’s Trio (Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni)

Romano’s Macaroni Grill (Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort)
201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Suite 1010
Waikoloa, HI 96738 (Map)
(808) 443-5515
Daily: 8AM-10pm

We followed dinner with our ritualistic visit to Island Gourmet Markets before heading back to our room and calling it a night.

Down to our final day on the B.I., we decided to try and get an early start to our day. For us, that meant somewhere in the neighborhood of 9am, which enabled us to check out the Big Island Breakfast buffet at Water’s Edge.

The view at Big Island Breakfast at Water's Edge
The view at Big Island Breakfast at Water’s Edge

Ed’s Tip: There is typically a wait to get seated here, but even if you see a big crowd here ahead of you, don’t be scurrred. They turn (and burn) the tables pretty quick so you won’t be waiting very long.

Family photo opp. She's actually posing and smiling!
Family photo opp. She’s actually posing and smiling!

With a check-out time of 12pm (no extension available that day), we headed back to our room for the dreaded pack up. Whyyyy did it have to ennnndd? πŸ˜‰

Das ok, I had one more trick up my sleeve.

During our stay there, I learned about a neat little place called Da Poke Shack. Just a couple miles south of the “touristy” part of Alii Drive, this little, well, poke shack averaged 5 stars on Yelp with 271 reviews! Say whaaat? Since me and poke are one, I just HADSTA get us there to check it out!

Da Poke Shack
Da Poke Shack

Inside was your typical looking mini fish market…

Inside Da Poke Shack
Inside Da Poke Shack

… Complete with a seafood and poke display case.

From L to R: Kim Chee Shrimp, Chuka Idako (Octopus), Pipi Kaula, Kim Chee Tako, Spicy Tako, Raw Wasabi Tako, & Taegu
From L to R: Kim Chee Shrimp, Chuka Idako (Octopus), Pipi Kaula, Kim Chee Tako, Spicy Tako, Raw Wasabi Tako, & Taegu

The choices for poke for that day were Pele’s Kiss (which was their cute name for Spicy Ahi), Dynamite (Avocado Aioli), Shack Special (which looked like a shoyu based poke) and Sesame Poke. And you could pick from a variety of sides like seafood salad, mussels, imitation crab salad, edamame, etc. I went with the Poke Bowl, which comes with a choice of brown or white rice, 1/3 pound of poke and one of the sides.

Da Poke Shack's Poke Bowl with Pele's Kiss poke, white rice and Seafood Salad - $8.50
Da Poke Shack’s Poke Bowl with Pele’s Kiss poke, white rice and Seafood Salad – $8.50

The Poke Plate is the same except you get 2/3 pound of poke and 2 sides. Since wifey also got the Poke Bowl, I made a new friend on Instagram who shared with me her recent photo from Da Poke Shack. Thanks Amy!

Half Pele's Kiss Poke, half Shack Special poke with double Kim Chee Mussels and brown rice - $16.50 (Photo Credit: Amy Tsang)
Half Pele’s Kiss Poke, half Shack Special poke with double Kim Chee Mussels and brown rice – $16.50 (Photo Credit: Amy Tsang)

The reviews online raved about the poke, which I will admit was super ono. Their poke is always fresh (never frozen), which is a HUGE (there’s that word again!) deal to people like me.

They also gave props to the friendly staff, which, in my particular experience, was nowhere in sight. To be fair, it was towards the end of the day and all of the “main” workers were probably gone for the day. And I was also in a rush (we were scrambling to get to the airport), and making odd requests (wifey told me to order a mini “anything with chicken” for the baby). I definitely need (and want) to go back to have a calmer, not-so-rushed Da Poke Shack experience.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a lot more because, like I said, the fish was super fresh and delish and that to me is numbah 1!

Da Poke Shack
76-6246 Alii Dr
Kailua, HI 96740 (Street View)
(808) 329-POKE (7653)
Daily: 10am-6pm

After a quick stop at KTA (of course) and the gas station to fill up, it was time to bid the Big Island farewell. Quite a different experience traveling with a little one, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world… Even if that means keeping on these extra few pounds! πŸ˜‰

 

* Special thanks to Big Island blogger extraordinaire – Damon Tucker and to Hilton Waikoloa‘s Director of Marketing Communications – Leanne Pletcher for your info and hospitality! What a way to travel for the first time as a family. We had a blast!

Part I |  Part II 

Don’t forget… THIS month…

===========================================
Rice Fest
The 3rd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
Ward Warehouse
Saturday, September 29, 2012 @ 11am-7pm
For more info: Ricefest.com / Facebook / Twitter
To RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite
===========================================
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Poke Paradise – Experiencing the Best Poke Around Hawaii – Part IV

April 1, 2010
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Last month’s visit to Brooks Takenaka at the United Fishing Agency Honolulu Fish Auction brought about the name “Rachel Haili”. As part of this ultimate poke quest we’re currently on, Brooks suggested I talk to Rachel to get her perspective on the history of poke in Hawaii. When the boss of the Honolulu Fish Auction speaks, I listen.

Rachel Haili – Haili’s Hawaiian Foods

I visited Haili’s back when they were at the old Farmer’s market, but had not yet made my way out to either of their new locations. Twitterville has been active talking about them too. Ah, better late than never right? Here are some photos of my visit to their Kapahulu location and my interview with Rachel Haili to follow.

Haili's Hawaiian Foods sign
Haili’s Hawaiian Foods sign

Conveniently located on Palani Ave, right off of Kapahulu, the interior at Haili’s is very clean and welcoming.

Interior of Haili's Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Interior of Haili’s Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Though they have a nice selection of poke…

Limu Ahi Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Limu Ahi Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Ahi Shoyu Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Ahi Shoyu Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

… their bread and butter is still their traditional Hawaiian fare.

My "custom" plate with Lau Lau and Chicken Long Rice, which included Limu Poke, Haupia and two scoops rice!
My “custom” plate with Lau Lau and Chicken Long Rice, which included Limu Poke, Haupia and two scoops rice!


Rachel Haili of Haili’s Hawaiian Foods

[Edward Sugimoto] Your mom “Rachel Sr.”, if you will, started Haili’s back in 1950. What made her want to do a restaurant?

[Rachel Haili] Well actually we started out in the bar business after the war. They had like a cafe where they served food and liquor, and then, as our family grew, my mother decided that she didn’t want her family to be in the liquor business, so she branched out on her own and started her own Hawaiian food store and fish market. And my parents worked by themselves to build up that business. And it was more of a market type thing, not so much a cafe or restaurant, and that’s where she learned (cause my mother was pure Chinese) she learned to do more of the Hawaiian foods.

[Edward Sugimoto] You began at the old Farmer’s Market. What were those days like?

[Rachel Haili] Yeah, originally, that’s where my parents started, so they were like one of the oldest tenants there. And back then, it was all little stalls of fish markets, meat markets, vegetable skins… and then now it’s more modern of course.

[Edward Sugimoto] And poke, was that pretty big back then?

[Rachel Haili] Back then, I remember when we were kids, there wasn’t poke per se, like how we’re selling it by the pound, pre-made. What you did was you bought the whole fish, and then you asked them to prepare like how you wanted. Back then you bought an aku for like 50 cents, then you tell them, “OK, I want half of it, steak it for me to fry, and then the other half, cut it for me to poke.” So when you sold the fish, you actually had to prepare it for them then. It wasn’t pre-made. And then, it started developing like into a bigger demand for poke, and people were more in a hurry, so, then my parents started pre-cutting the poke. I remember because back then, I had to learn how to clean fish because you know we were so busy. Soon, we had to learn how to cut poke and make the different types of poke. Although when the people bought the fish, you know, then they’d say, “I want to buy a cup of limu and add that into my poke, and put chili pepper (water) for me.” You know, so they kind of dictated what they wanted in their poke. Then, as the demand for poke got bigger, and you pre-made the poke, you had to like make maybe a batch of plain poke, aku or limu aku, and then, at that time, shoyu aku evolved. It wasn’t something like automatic. I remember shoyu aku became popular when I was like in my teens. It wasn’t like, now you go to the supermarket and you see a whole array of pre-made poke. You had to buy the whole fish and then they made it for you. Just like the different types of poke, although we do more traditional poke, where we do awa, and we do like palu, you know, lomi oio, that kind of thing, nowadays it’s evolved into more a modern kind of thing. Where fish now has become similar to chicken or pork, so you do different varieties of it.

Display case at  Haili's Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Display case at Haili’s Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

And then, I think a lot of the sushi bars, because raw fish is so popular, they’ve come up with all kinds of new creations that are pretty to the eye. You know you have fruit in it or masago, all different kind of things. It’s just like how if you order pasta, you have all different things that you put in it. So now, what’s popular is the poke bowls, where you get the poke and you get any kind of topping that you want, sorta like the frozen yogurt. Start out with the basic and then you put whatever, you concoct whatever you want onto it. So you know, that’s what it’s become. But, originally, you bought the whole fish and then they prepared it for you, or you took it home and prepared it yourself.

[Edward Sugimoto] Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, your lease expired and you decided to open up a lunch wagon called Haili’s Backyard Luau. What was the story behind that?

[Rachel Haili] Um, let’s see. Well, you know we’ve been there (at the Farmer’s Market) for 60 years, in fact, this is our 60th year that we’ve been in business. Marukai wanted to expand and they wanted the whole building, so Ward Center decided to convert that whole area into Marukai’s market so we had to move out. One of the options that we came up with in order to keep in contact with our customer base who was primarily in that area, was a lunch wagon. Although we can’t offer everything that we had there, it was a way that we could still keep in contact with them until we found something that was more suitable for us, you know in food offerings that we had. Then we finally came across this area in Kapahulu, and so far, it’s turning into something nice. It’s a little different, in terms of, we shifted from a market to a more deli and restaurant atmosphere. We actually didn’t intend to be a restaurant. You know, it was more of a counter service and you come and sit down, so that’s what we’re hoping to create over here. But you can buy either lunches, and you can take it out or eat it here, or you still can buy our Hawaiian foods by the pint, or the pound as we sold it in the market before.

[Edward Sugimoto] And business is booming. We’re here today and it’s pretty packed.

[Rachel Haili] *modest smile* Well, we always can use more business. We’ve only been open for about 90 days now and, it’s evolving. Customers are learning about us. The location is nice because it’s close to Waikiki. We get more tourists coming in too. Before we used to service primarily local people so now we’re getting a different mixture of people.

[Edward Sugimoto] You folks are big on using social media to market and stay in touch with the community. How did that come about and how are you enjoying it so far?

[Rachel Haili] That was something new for us too. When we did the lunch wagon, our friend suggested that we start using that more. So we’re still learning to use the social media but it’s amazing how fast you can spread the word, or you get more information out by using that. It’s fun, but you gotta keep up with it because once you put information out, you get a lot of feedback right away, so you gotta be on top of it all the time. I hope we’re doing good. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Yeah, you are! You have two poke items on your menu: Shoyu Ahi and Limu Ahi, and you mentioned that you had more in your display case…

Haili's Menu
Haili’s Menu

[Rachel Haili] Yeah, unfortunately our menu board could only hold like primary items, but our showcase over here also carries our larger selection of poke, which is you know like the poke awa, the aku palu, lomi oio. We specialize more in traditional poke so that’s why we have like the raw crabs and the aku palu.

Aku Palu [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Aku Palu [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Later we’ll be doing our poke bowls also. But it’s just that because we’re busy getting adjusted in here, we’re like slowly introducing or building up items. Poke bowls seem to be popular because it’s fast and people can pick it up and go right away. And then they get to personalize it too.

[Edward Sugimoto] What are some of your personal favorites types of poke?

[Rachel Haili] My personal favorite type of poke is, well, we’re gonna be creating this, um, sorta like a poke mountain. You know, where it’s like with rice on the bottom, some sliced ahi with avocado, tomato and masago. It’s really nice looking. When we were in Waikiki for a while, we sold those. However, we can’t do everything all at once, so, but we’re going to expand our poke bar and also our food menus. You know, we do catering too, so hopefully we’ll be expanding our catering service.

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you have anything else to add to your current or future customers?

[Rachel Haili] Well I hope all of you have a chance to come in and visit us because we really try to create a spirit of Aloha here, where you’re welcome to come in. We can mix and match whatever you want here and even if you don’t see what you want, you can either pre-order or ask us if we’re able to make it for you because that’s how we started so that’s how we still want to be. Also we make a really good dried aku, and that’s hard to find in town, so come down and check our aku out.

[Edward Sugimoto] OK, thank you very much!

Rachel (right) with her sister Lorraine [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Rachel (right) with her sister Lorraine [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

For more information on the Haili’s Hawaiian Foods, visit their web site at www.hailis.net or follow them on Twitter at @Hailis808.

Haili’s Hawaiian Foods
760 Palani Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-8019
Mon-Thu: 9am-7pm
Fri-Sat: 9am-8pm
Sun: 8am-3pm

Guy Tamashiro – Tamashiro Market

Also at the Honolulu Fish Auction, I made contact with Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market. Spontaneously, we did an impromptu interview in preparation for my visit to his shop.


Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] Describe your history with fish.

[Guy Tamashiro] OK, well, I think we first started with fish, actually my dad had a feed store and all that, the first Tamashiro Market, but then he started selling a little bit of fish. I think the story was that he bartered it at that time for some opelu. Then it sold, so he said “ok, that was fun.” So he started going down to the auction across from Aala Park, then he started selling a little bit more, and it started selling well, so he just started expanding it from there. And then, in 1962, he constructed the building that it’s in now, and then from there, it just started seafood as the emphasis.

Seafood selection at Tamashiro Market
Seafood selection at Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] And you guys started doing poke after a while?

[Guy Tamashiro] Yeah, yeah, actually, poke was just one/two pans. When I first started working it was only 1 or two pans, and then from there, we, I don’t know, maybe 30 something?

Partial selection of poke at Tamashiro Market
Partial selection of poke at Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] Out of that, which one is the most popular one?

[Guy Tamashiro] Ahi is, by far, the MOST popular. And if aku is available, that’s pretty popular too.

[Edward Sugimoto] Ahi limu or any kind of ahi?

[Guy Tamashiro] Ahi limu, ahi shoyu, ahi onion. We’re getting new flavors in too now. As we go on, we want to add to the different tastes that you can get from it, not just the plain type, but also other tastes we want to try out too.

Ahi poke, all wiped out at the end of the day!
Ahi poke, all wiped out at the end of the day!

[Edward Sugimoto] What is your personal favorite?

[Guy Tamashiro] Oh, that’s a hard one. Well, I love aku. Large aku. But for ahi, because they’re coming out with different flavors now, I don’t know. I have a poke lunch maybe 3/4 times a week, and it’s not always the same lunch. Hard to have one favorite, it’s just different flavors.

[Edward Sugimoto] What’s in store for Tamashiro Market?

[Guy Tamashiro] Well, we just hope we do a lot more sales. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you have any words for your customers out there?

[Guy Tamashiro] Sure. You know where to shop. You know where we are. Come down, see us. *smiles*

Located on North King Street in the heart of Kalihi, Tamashiro Market boasts the largest selection of seafood (over 75 varieties) in the state. With their unmistakable pink building and trademark crab statue hanging above, Tamashiro’s was definitely a can’t-miss stop on this Poke in Paradise tour.

Outside Tamashiro Market
Outside Tamashiro Market

Showing their love of the sea (and perhaps an ode to the Japanese boat in the war bearing the same name), a good-sized fishing boat sits atop the center island, overlooking the store.

The Tama Maru boat in Tamashiro Market
The Tama Maru boat in Tamashiro Market

It’s always busy whenever I go, but on this occasion, I just so happen to be there right before closing, so the “getting-stuffs-for-dinner” rush was in full effect.

The evening rush at Tamashiro Market
The evening rush at Tamashiro Market

As Guy suggested, I picked up some Ahi poke. Ahi Onion and Ahi Shoyu to be exact.

Ahi Onion poke
Ahi Onion poke

Ahi Shoyu poke
Ahi Shoyu poke

Sometimes, if I’m in the area for lunch, I’ll pick up some poke from Tamashiro’s and drive over to nearby Boulevard Saimin. The cold poke and hot saimin make for a good marriage (as mentioned before). Here’s a photo at Boulevard Saimin, after I bought some Furikake poke from Tamashiro’s and took it over.

Furikake Poke
Furikake Poke

Tamashiro Market
802 N King St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 841-8047
Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm
Sat 8am-6pm
Sun 8am-4pm

Poke to Your Taste – Hilo, HI

And finally, here’s an interesting find while visiting the east side of the Big Island.

Poke to Your Taste building
Poke to Your Taste building

Hidden in an inconspicuous building (with no visible signage to speak of) on Leilani Street near the airport, Poke to Your Taste caters to those who prefer to concoct their own batches of poke. “Mix ’em how you like ’em!” is their motto, which I, along with their logo/signage, was finally able to find under an awning on one of their smaller side windows.

Poke to Your Taste sign
Poke to Your Taste sign

The inside of Poke to Your Taste is just as curious as the outside. Most of the usable space is empty or scattered with random items, while a small display case with just 4 items (Hawaiian Poke, Shoyu Poke, Kim Chee Tako Poke, and Imitation Crab Poke) sits to one side.

Display case at Poke to Your Taste
Display case at Poke to Your Taste

Solomon, or Uncle Sol as many call him, stands behind the counter and scoops out your preferred order. On this occasion my choices were to only be one of their two fish options: “Hawaiian Poke” or “Shoyu Poke”.

Starting with your basic poke (Hawaiian or Shoyu style) as your base
Starting with your basic poke (Hawaiian or Shoyu style) as your base

I went Haaaaawaiian because I wanted there to be as little flavor on there as possible to start. From there, Uncle Sol scooped it into my container…

Uncle Sol serving up my poke
Uncle Sol serving up my poke

… and it was just my creativity between me and poke bliss.

You can add a variety of “spices” like Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes…

Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes
Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes

… and, for lack of a better word, “toppings” like ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce.

Ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce
Ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce

No fo-get da sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili peppah watah! πŸ˜‰

Sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili pepper water
Sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili pepper water

I went with the super combo of furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water. She go!

My batch of poke had furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water - $6
My batch of poke had furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water – $6

Definitely poke to MY taste.

Poke to Your Taste
790 Leilani St.
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 989-9962
Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm

So there it is. Part IV is in the books. Honestly speaking though, this Poke Paradise is not even close to being complete. I’m seriously considering making this a 12 part series and carrying it through the entire year. Wanna help? Email me or comment below where you’d like to see me hit up next. I’ve still got many on my hit list (Ruger Market, Fresh Catch, Tamura’s, Masa & Joyce, Da Pokeman, Young’s Fish Market, Alicia’s, etc.), but send me your tips k?

A special mahalo this month to Rachel Haili and the Haili’s Hawaiian Foods `ohana, Guy Tamashiro and the Tamashiro Market `ohana, Uncle Sol at Poke to Your Taste, and Dave Oi for actually finding the hard to find Poke to Your Taste! LOL! See y’all next month gang!

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Flashback Friday: Holiday Memories

December 18, 2009

A-ight peeps, as the end of December quickly approaches, I, like the rest of y’all, will be taking a little break for the holidays. Let’s face it… many of you are probably not reading during this time anyway. πŸ˜›

But before that, I wanted to take the time to thank all of you wonderful readers for supporting WWE these last few years (can you believe April 28, 2010 makes 2 years!?). It’s been fun and it seems like we’ve been through a lot together, even though many of us have never met IRL. Gotta love the power of the Internet eh?

I’ve had the pleasure of playing fantasy football with some of you, and have even met a few others in person. Speaking of which, much love to bruddahs hemajang and MakiSushi for their gifts of T-shirts, and bruddah bB for his furikake and stone cookie omiyage (brok’ da mout’ literally!) from the B.I.! Hopefully, I was able to repay the favor to some of you with my movie pass and UH basketball ticket giveaways, local reviews/articles/interviews, and overall silliness of this blog. Hope it helped to play at least a small role in your otherwise busy lives.

Your Fave Holiday Memories?

K, let’s do a quick Flashback Friday kine moment hurr:

* Since the holidays are a special time we share with our loved ones, let’s use this moment to share with each other, our favorite holiday memory/mammaries. 8).Β Use the comment box below to share with da WWE `ohana. Yes, sorry, that was a lot of “share”s. πŸ˜›

For me, I think the most recent memory was making mochi at grandma’s house last year. As Japanee as I am, that was the first time I ever did that. Fun fun!

Food, Family and Fun: The True Meaning of the Holidays
Food, Family and Fun: The True Meaning of the Holidays

P.S. I won’t completely disappear from your life though! Shucks huh? πŸ˜›Β  I’ve been getting a few Christmas/holiday related forwards lately, so I may be posting those from time to time, to pass your time (to time). πŸ˜‰ Don’t want ya to forget about WWE after all! πŸ˜›

Have a safe and happy holiday season gang! See y’all next year! *wave* πŸ™‚

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – June 24, 2009

June 24, 2009

Coconut Willy got a record 6th win last week after guessing Queen Lili`uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawaii. Unbelievable C Dubbs! Congrats!

This week will be harder fo sho! It could very well be any Chinese restaurant inΒ the world state. Props in advance to those who name every single Chinese Restaurant they can think of… one guess per post of course! πŸ˜›

Hurr we goooo!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - June 24, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – June 24, 2009

Hint: A Chinese Restaurant somewhere in Hawaii! 8)


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Happy Hump Day Where In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. πŸ™‚ Shooooots!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – June 17, 2009

June 17, 2009

Scott was da big winnah last week for his Yard House guess. Props to Scotty2Hotty for making his first victory one with a beer-related pic. πŸ˜›

This week, we’re going F.B.I. again. It’s gonna be an easy one so no hints for you bah. That is all.

Hurr we goooo!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - June 17, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – June 17, 2009

Hint: Dream on!


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Happy Hump DayWhere In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. πŸ™‚ Shooooots!

We Do It Big Island Style

October 1, 2007
 Part I  | Part II

When you think “island style,” you think Hawaii and our innate, laid back way of life. After two recent trips to the Big Island of Hawaii, I quickly discovered that we ain’t got nuthin’ on ’em. This here is true, island style living and I’m about to show how you too, can roll John Cruz style… brah.

Thanks to a friend at go! Airlines, we were able to get an awesome deal on airfare, which also gave us the unique experience of boarding an airplane from the tarmac. Silly Jetway. Who needs ’em? True island stylers get it going from the ground yo.

Boarding go! Airlines to Kona, Hawaii
Boarding go! Airlines to Kona, Hawaii

Island Style Tip (IST) #1: Know someone who works for the airlines or shop around for the best price.

go! Airlines’ fares are regularly at $39, which forces the other carriers to offer competitive prices, which is good for us consumers. Another trait of island style living is finding good deals. Your options are as follows:

Living island style is also who you know. Luckily for us, we also have a friend in the hotel industry, so we were able to get great accommodations at a great hotel for a great price.

(IST #2): Know someone who works at Hilton or stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village to take advantage of an entire day of frolicking in the sun for free/cheap.

Hilton Waikoloa Village sign
Hilton Waikoloa Village sign

Just a short, 20 minute drive from Kona International Airport at Keahole, this huge, 62 acre oceanfront property has much to do and much to see. First thing’s first, let’s drop our bags off at our room.

After checking in, you’re led towards (neat thing #1) an air-conditioned tram which takes you to your hotel.

Air-Conditioned Tram
Air-Conditioned Tram

Once we drop off our bags, we’ll get on board (neat thing #2) the mahogany canal boats to tour the rest of the property.

Mahogany Canal Boats
Mahogany Canal Boats

Our first stop was the Grand Staircase (you may start to recognize elements of this property as the place where Dog the Bounty Hunter got married).

Grand Staircase
Grand Staircase

From here, you can look at the beautiful view across the Lagoon or catch a glimpse of a turtle or two in the Lagoon itself.

Turtle in the Lagoon
Turtle in the Lagoon

From there, we worked our way around the Lagoon, through/behind the mini, manmade waterfall, and towards the Dolphin Learning Center.

Walking through/behind the waterfall
Walking through/behind the waterfall

Dolphin Learning Center
Dolphin Learning Center

Since our stay was brief, we decided to pass on the Dolphin Learning Center (for more information on Dolphin Quest, click here) and have our fun in the Lagoon.

Editor’s note: the real reason we passed on DolphinQuest was because of a cheap/grumpy tour guide πŸ˜› but this leads us to IST#3:

(IST#3): Hang out right next to the Dolphin Learning Center long enough and you’ll see the cute dolphins swim right by you, get fed and play with the tourists who weren’t on a budget. If you’re lucky enough, the trainers will come by and chat with you.

The Dolphins swim right near you
The Dolphins swim right near you

The Lagoon is a four-acre, ocean fed sanctuary where we humans (hotel guests of course) can rent kayaks, water bikes, paddleboats, etc. for some on the water fun, or wade and come face to face with tropical fish or one of the few rare green sea turtles we saw earlier.

Playing on the water bikes at the Lagoon
Playing on the water bikes at the Lagoon

The Lagoon side view of the waterfall is definitely better.

The view from the other side of the waterfall
The view from the other side of the waterfall

After frolicking in the sun, we head east to cover more of this huge property. Along the way, we see sleeping flamingos,

Sleeping Flamingos

ugly Buddha statues,

Ugly Buddha Statues

the property’s beautiful and scenic wedding chapel and gazebo areas,

Wedding chapel and gazebo areas

and, in front of the Ocean Tower, another close encounter with the endangered sea turtle.

Endangered sea turtle

(Note: I was told that you should avoid contact with these animals not only because they are fragile and endangered, but also because you can catch salmonella).

As you head northwest past the Kohala River pools,

Kohala River pools

You’ll slowly approach one of the most breathtaking sights on the property, Buddha Point.

Buddha Point

Take your time to enjoy the view at Buddha Point. It might even be a good idea to bring lunch or sunbathe here…

I can go on and on about the many more sights and amenities you can find here (including shopping, entertainment and additional outdoor activities), but I’ve got so much more to cover in this article, and let’s face it, they’ve got enough face time. You’re welcome Mr. Hilton. I’ll be waiting for my lifetime comp coupons in the mail. πŸ˜‰

Another benefit to having a “native” at the locale you’re visiting is the possibility of a home cooked meal (don’t be a cheapskate and be sure to bring planny omiyage though!). Not only is eating a home cooked meal great food for the soul, it’s a time for quality bonding and will make you feel like you’re at home again.

(IST#4): Have a “native” where you’re visiting and have a home cooked meal

Half the fun is going shopping for the ingredients,

Shopping for dinner at Waikoloa Village Market

Shopping for dinner at Waikoloa Village Market

Shopping for dinner at Waikoloa Village Market

And the other half is preparing it,

Preparing Dinner

Preparing Dinner

Preparing Dinner

Preparing Dinner

Preparing Dinner

and eating it.

Eating Dinner

With the day winding down, our first day of traveling island style has ended. But fear not, slipper wearer. We’ve still got another full day of laid back living to go!

So our next stop is Big Island Grill, a place popular with the locals. The food was way too salty for me and the prices are semi reasonable, but this visit and subsequent mention in this article is much more than just trying to find a good deal on eats. Confused? Read on…

Answer me this question first. Where else can you meet a 7 foot, former Olympic and NBA World Champion and All Star player AND even get a photo with him, all without paying for an exorbitant card show entrance fee? (Oh, and by the way, he’s as nice and cordial as they come!) That’s right: at Big Island Grill (if you were with me on this day πŸ˜› ). Rumor has it, he has a place in Hualalai and frequents local favorites when in town.

This one’s a little hard to accomplish, but…

(IST#5): Be at the right place at the right time and you too, can have a photo like this! πŸ™‚

David Robinson
David Robinson

OK, so this next tip is rather touristy and not exactly island style-ish, but hear me out. There’s a pretty good tip at the end, especially for you romantic types.

(IST#6): Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (on a non lava day). Even better is if you visit on certain event days, admission is free (normally $10 per vehicle).

Volcano status report kiosk
Volcano status report kiosk

You may be wondering why you’d waste your time visiting the park when there’s no lava flowing into the ocean, but trust me there buddy ol’ pal. You’ll like this one.

OK so after you do the touristy visits to the Visitor Center and various stops around Crater Rim Drive, make the extra effort and drive down Chain of Craters Road until you hit the end of the road (download PDF map here). Most tourists end their tour on Crater Rim Drive and don’t make this little detour (especially on non-lava days), but believe you me, you won’t regret it as you’ll see more majestic, untouched Hawaii than you’ve ever seen before.

Majestic, untouched Hawaii
Majestic, untouched Hawaii

When you hit the end of the road and park your ride, make your way to the cliff’s edge for some nice, majestic shots.

Scenic shots

Scenic shots

Oh, but that’s not it my dear friends. You should see a long road that can only be traveled on by foot.

Chain of Craters Hike
Chain of Craters Hike

You want to take that until it ends.

End of Chain of Craters hike

End of Chain of Craters hike

Oh no, that’s not it either my friends. Keep on a truckin’! This is where the fun begins. Here you’ll see a large mass of hardened lava where few before you have witnessed.

Lava

You’ll see marked areas that you are not allowed to go beyond, so be sure to pay attention to these signs.

Don't go beyond marked areas!
Don’t go beyond marked areas!

Also watch your step and keep your eyes peeled for dangerous footholds and coned off areas.

Watch your step for dangerous footholds!
Watch your step for dangerous footholds!

Keep your eyes peeled for coned off areas
Keep your eyes peeled for coned off areas

So why all the rigmarole? Believe me, there’s a method to this madness. Eventually, when you make your way past all the obstacles and find a nice little area to rest, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, you’ll thank me for Island Style Tip #6a:

(IST#6a): Propose to your girlfriend/boyfriend (ukulele optional)

With its isolated nature and picturesque backdrop, you’re sure to have alone time with you and your mate in the most perfect of settings. Don’t forget to invite me to your wedding! πŸ˜‰

Later this evening, we planned on having a family style BBQ back at our friend’s house, so on our way back to Waikoloa, we stopped by Tex Drive-In for their very famous specialty: malasadas.

Tex Drive-In
Tex Drive-In

Which leads us to our next two tips

(IST#7): Don’t come to a BBQ empty handed and

(IST#8): If it’s Tex Drive In malasadas you are bringing, be sure to eat one first, hot and fresh (and then rearrange the rest in the box and act like you didn’t πŸ˜› ).

Tex Drive-In famous malasadas
Tex Drive-In famous malasadas

Fortunately for us, our friend’s roommate is an executive chef on the island, so we were treated to some of the best tasting grinds around, including BBQ steaks,

BBQ steaks

garlic butter shrimp,

Garlic butter shrimp

lomi salmon,

Lomi salmon

and homemade mac salad.

Homemade mac salad

Which leads me to tip #9.

(IST#9): Have a hotel friend, who lives in the place you’re visiting, whose roommate is an executive chef, who decides to have a BBQ and invites you. πŸ˜‰

OK, so that one’s not very realistic, but, much like IST#4, having a local style BBQ is just as fun and just as relaxing, island style, that is.

Well, we’ve finally come to the end of our stay on the Big Island, but what’s a trip to the Big Island without a visit to KTA Super Stores? It’s like going to Kauai and not going to Big Save, walking through Waikiki and not stopping at an ABC Store, or going through a list of Island Style Tips and ending on #9. So without further ado,

(IST#10): Buy your last minute omiyage at KTA. They sell unique, specialty snacks that are perfect for fulfilling that gift list before heading home.

Omiyage from KTA
Omiyage from KTA

So whether you’re from Hawaii or have Hawaii in your heart, that’s my perspective on how we do it Island Style (on the Big Island). I think, however, Cruz sums it up best:

On the Island, we do it Island Style,
From the mountain to the ocean from the windward to the leeward side…

Enjoying the Kona sunset before heading home
Enjoying the Kona sunset before heading home…

 Part I  | Part II

Kau Kau Kauai – Part 3

March 1, 2007

Part I | Part II | Part III

Well, we’ve finally made it gang. The 3rd and final part in our Kau Kau Kauai series. Please! Hold back your tears!

In part 1, we spanned the Garden Isle for favorites such as Tip Top Motel & Cafe, Waimea Brewing Company, and Jo Jo’s Shave Ice. The 2nd part of our series took us to Ono’s Family Restaurant, Hamura’s Saimin and Duke’s, among others! Now, we’ll round it all out with stops at such hotspots like the Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch, Brick Oven Pizza and Polynesia Cafe.

Those previous Kau Kau Kauai adventures were written under the pretense that you were visiting these places all in a day’s work, when in actuality, each and every one of the Kauai restaurants were visited over the course of many, many visits there. The mishmash was then somehow puzzled together to create a single piece supposedly taking place over the course of one day. If you were fooled, please accept my humble apology. If you were not, but played along anyway, please accept my humble gratitude.

In this final piece, there ain’t no hidin’ it. It’s going to be a feeble attempt at throwing in the best of the rest, if you will, so prepare yourself for multiple breakfasts, numerous lunches, many dinners and miscellaneous treats in between for good measure. πŸ˜‰

Conveniently located in the Coconut Marketplace in Kapa`a, Eggbert’s is not hard to find.

Eggbert's Sign
Eggbert’s Sign

Out front, they have a sign that boasts about their Loco Moco so guess what dis buggah just haaad to get.

Loco Moco from Eggbert's
Loco Moco from Eggbert’s

Out Honestly, the details are a bit fuzzy (I last visited there in October of 2005), but I do know that it wasn’t bad. As I’m sure with most of you, I only remember bad food experiences very vividly.

Eggbert’s Kauai Family Specialty Restaurant
Coconut Marketplace
4-484 Kuhio Highway
Kapa`a, Kauai, HI 96746 (map)
(808) 822-3787

There were no plans on eating at this next stop really, but after many visitor requests about this place in my previous column, I just had to check things out at Dani’s for myself.

Dani's Sign
Dani’s Sign

I had the $6 Corn Beef Hash with 2 eggs and rice special. The other options for this special were Rego’s Portuguese Sausage (instead of the corned beef hash) and toast or hash brown (instead of rice).

Now because momma always taught me that if I have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all, I’ll just say that I enjoyed my other Kauai breakfast stops a lot more. I know this is a local favorite, but to me, the portions were quite small and tasted “canned”.

Corned Beef Hash with Two Eggs & Rice
Corned Beef Hash with Two Eggs & Rice

On the other hand, my eating partner Art enjoyed his $6.20 hamburger steak with scrambled eggs & rice combo.

Hamburger Steak with Scrambled Eggs & Rice
Hamburger Steak with Scrambled Eggs & Rice

Dani’s Restaurant
4201 Rice Street
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766 (map)
(808) 245-4991

Full yet? I’m just getting started my dears. Let’s drive on up to the the Princeville Resort where, every Sunday, they have the popular Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch.

Cafe Hanalei Sunday Brunch

The menu and prices are noted as subject to change without notice, but on this occasion, it boasted the following:

Salads:

  • Kilauea Baby Greens with Assorted Dressings
  • Crisp Romaine Caesar Style
  • Chicken Pad Thai Noodle Salad
  • Hawaiian Sweet Potato Salad
  • Kailani Spinach and Chinese Duck Salad
  • Spicy Crab and Kimchee with Cucumber
  • Marinated Heart of Palm and Artichoke
  • Spicy Thai Beef Salad
  • Local Potato Macaroni Salad
  • Thai Style Ahi Tuna Poke

Miscellaneous Salad Items
Miscellaneous Salad Items

Chilled Seafood and Specialty Items:

  • Iced Seafood Display
  • Peel & Eat Shrimp, New Zealand Mussels and Dungeness Crab Legs
  • Horseradish Spiked Cocktail Sauce
  • Fresh Lemons
  • California Rolls with Wasabi and Pickled Ginger
  • Imported and Domestic Cheese Display
  • Assorted Water Crackers and Breads
  • Crisp Vegetable Crudite with Selection of Dips
  • Atlantic Smoked Salmon Display
  • Bagels and Cream Cheese with Red Onion and Capers
  • Grilled Marinated Vegetable Display

Dungeness Crab Legs
Dungeness Crab Legs

EntrΓ©e:

  • Fresh Island Catch of the Day
  • Tossed Pasta of the Day
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Chef’s Brunch Potato
  • Carved Slow Roasted Beef
  • Wok Seared Kauai Prawns
  • Moloaa Tomato Bisque
  • Chinese Style Fried Rice
  • Crisp Bacon, Link and Portuguese Sausage
  • Stuffed Roasted Loin of Pork
  • Pancit Noodles with Crispy Asian Duck
  • Seasonal Local Vegetables
  • Chef’s Omelette Station

Chef's Omelette Station
Chef’s Omelette Station

Desserts:

  • Pastry Chef’s Dessert Display
  • Fresh Crepes with a Variety of Fillings
  • Sliced Island Fruits

Fresh Crepes with Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream
Fresh Crepes with Cherries and Vanilla Ice Cream

As made obvious by my packed plate, I was a fan…

Just part of the damage I was doing to the buffet....
Just part of the damage I was doing to the buffet….

Though the food is good, the highlight of the Sunday Brunch is actually the view. (! – If you come at the right time and request to sit outside, you may be able to get a table with an amazing view…)

Your view from Cafe Hanalei
Your view from Cafe Hanalei

Cafe Hanalei
Sunday Brunch: 10AM-2PM
Princeville Resort
5520 Ka Haku Road
Princeville, Kauai, HI 96722 (map)
(808) 826-9644 – TEL
(808) 826-1166 – FAX

For the next two stops in our never ending day of gluttony, I have to apologize… Thumbing through my photo archives didn’t turn up many results in terms of usable pics. The Deli & Bread Connection, Inc. and Brick Oven Pizza are however, two stops that cannot go unmentioned.

Located in the Kukui Grove Shopping Center, this sandwich joint is always crowded during the lunch hour. They also sell fresh baked bread and, according to their business card, gourmet kitchenware as well.

Two different sandwiches from the Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.
Two different sandwiches from the Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.

Deli & Bread Connection, Inc.
Kukui Grove Shopping Center
3-2600 Kaumualii Highway #1005
Lihue, Kauai, HI. 96766 (map)
(808) 245-7115
(808) 245-3492 – FAX

Long revered as the best pizza on Kauai, Brick Oven Pizza sits conveniently off Kaumualii Highway in Kalaheo. These pizzas are hella fresh and homemade in their brick hearth.

Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Brick Oven Pizza
Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Brick Oven Pizza

Brick Oven Pizza
2-2555 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, Kauai, HI 96741 (map)
(808) 332-8561
Tues-Sunday 11AM-10PM
Closed on Mondays

While we’re here, we might as well cross the street and continue our foodfest at the Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. Sign
Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co. Sign

Not only do they serve delicious coffee from the wee hours of the morning, they also offer fresh baked breads and serve up a healthy menu for lunch and dinner. On this occasion, I ordered up their special of the day: Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.

Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.
Eggs scrambled with roasted veggies & a tiger shrimp seafood mix, topped with hollandaise sauce & served with hash browns & toast for $10.25.

Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Co.
2-2560 Kaumualii Hwy
Kalaheo, HI. 96741 (map)
(808) 332-5858
(808) 332-5868 FAX
(800) 255-0137 Toll Free
Email: javatalk@kalaheo.com
Open daily from 6:30AM-2:30PM
Dinners are Wed-Sat from 5:30 PM

We’ve finally reached the end of the road gang. Our last stop in this journey of Kauai Kau Kau takes us back north to the city of Hanalei. Located just inside the main entrance of the Ching Young Village Shopping Center, Polynesia Cafe is one of those pleasant surprises you won’t find very often. Billing themselves as gourmet food on paper plates, this little surfer’s-style cafe delivers on that mantra.

Entrance to Polynesia Cafe
Entrance to Polynesia Cafe

Their menu is chock-full of gourmet entrees like Mac-Nut Herb Crusted Ahi or Thai Tofu & Veggie, salads, sandwiches and a variety of Mexican dishes. They even had a dessert case filled with tasty looking delights.

Dessert case at Polynesia Cafe
Dessert case at Polynesia Cafe

On this occasion, we ordered up Sesame Chicken and Chicken Quesadilla and a Lemon Bar for good measure for dessert.

On the menu, the Sesame Chicken was defined as “orange ginger glaze with curry batter” and went for $9.95. It came with mixed veggies and was served over a bed of rice.

Sesame Chicken - orange ginger glaze with curry batter for $9.95
Sesame Chicken – orange ginger glaze with curry batter for $9.95

The Chicken Quesadilla went for $8.95 and came with rice, beans and condiments for the quesadilla.

Chicken Quesadilla from Polynesia Cafe for $8.95
Chicken Quesadilla from Polynesia Cafe for $8.95

I don’t quite recall how much the lemon bar was, but lemme tell ya, it was worth every fattening bite!

Lemon Bar from Polynesia Cafe
Lemon Bar from Polynesia Cafe

Polynesia Cafe
Ching Young Village Shopping Center
5300 Ka Haku Road
Hanalei, HI 96714 (map)
(808) 826-1999

…Annnnd I’m spent!

So there you have it! The season finale, the fairytale ending, the photo finish… You won’t ever have to hear the words “Kau Kau Kauai” and “World Wide Ed” in the same sentence anymore… Well, at least until I work on the prequels. *grin*

Much love for hanging in there with me gang. It was fun! Now… to work on “Munchy Maui” and “Broke Da Mout’ Big Island!” πŸ˜‰

Part I | Part II | Part III

The Best Local Style Saimin? Shige’s Fo’ Shizzle!

February 1, 2007

With the rarefied (cold) air we’ve been facing these last few months, I thought now was as good a time as any to feature one of my favorite local style saimin spots to help keep us warm…

All my life, I grew up a townie. Living in the Salt Lake, Pensacola, Punahou, Kahala and Hawaii Kai areas, I was spoiled by the sun and all its glory. With parks and beaches always just minutes away, cold weather was as foreign to me as mouthwash is to a Maltese.

After working in the higher elevations of Central Oahu for almost 10 years now, I’ve come to realize that there actually is this thing others refer to as seasons. Not quite winter snow, spring colors, summer heat and fall leaves, but “hot around June” and “cold around December” is about the extent of it.

Aside from “bundling up,” which in Hawaii means long pants and a long sleeve, the next best thing you can do to battle these “extreme” conditions is to eat or drink something warm. So why not do both with noodles and soup?

Shige’s Saimin Stand is just the place.

Shige's Saimin Stand Sign
Shige’s Saimin Stand Sign

Located in the heart of Wahiawa, Oahu, Shige’s is, to me, the best local style saimin around. Notice how I said “local style” though? There is a distinct difference between local style saimin and Japan kine rahmen and comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. But on the real, Shige’s, on either list, is in my top 3.

Note: Apologies to those who love Hamura’s in Kauai or even some of the ones I haven’t been to yet like Sam Sato’s or Hanafuda in Maui or Nori’s in the Big Island… Shige’s rules and everyone else drools. πŸ˜›

At Ross and JoAnn Shigeoka’s shop, their trademark flat noodles are actually homemade and made fresh daily. Initially, I was simply in love with the saimin and tasty soup base, but after learning that the noodles were homemade, I grew another layer of appreciation for this island specialty.

Another one of the pleasant delights of Shige’s is their hours. They close at 10PM during the week and stay open ’til MIDNIGHT on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’ve got that late night craving/itch, they’re ready and open for you and if you’ve never tried Shige’s before, you now have no excuse.

Shige's Saimin Stand Hours
Shige’s Saimin Stand Hours

Alas, we’ve come to my favorite part… da grindz!

Shige's Menu
Shige’s Menu

Shige’s menu is quite simple. For saimin, you’ve got your choice of their regular saimin, wunton mein or vegetable saimin in two sizes: small and large. They’ve got other items including burgers, sandwiches, bbq sticks and select plate lunches, but to me, the saimin is the way to go. Going to Shige’s and not ordering saimin is like going to McDonald’s and buying a salad. Borrrrrrring!

My personal favorite is their large wunton mein. Unlike those other noodle shops around town who seem to dominate their saimin dishes with toppings rather than noodles, Shige’s is quite generous with their noodle portions. I find comfort in knowing that when I leave Shige’s, my hunger will be completely and utterly satisfied.

Shige's Large Wunton Mein
Shige’s Large Wunton Mein

If I am feeling really daring, I lose the battle of the bulge and splurge on a homemade hamburger as well. Dem buggahs probably raise my cholesterol by 50 points, but the soft, buttery bun and lusciously juicy patty lure me in with their inviting ways.

Shige's Hamburger
Shige’s Hamburger

The best part of the entire Shige’s experience is when you receive your bill. All dishes retain their old school prices and fall under $6, and, depending on the size of your party and your appetite, your total usually never exceeds $20!

To recap:

Shige’s Gem #1: Ono grindz fo battle da cold weather
Shige’s Gem #2: Homemade, fresh noodles l’dat
Shige’s Gem #3: Dey stay open late kine
Shige’s Gem #4: Dey geev choke
Shige’s Gem #5: Ho da cheap!

Delicious, keeps you warm, homemade, fresh, convenient, filling AND cheap??? I’ll drink (soup) to that!

Shige's Saimin

Shige’s Saimin Stand
70 Kukui Street
Wahiawa, HI 96786 (map)
(808) 621-3621
Mon-Thu: 10am-10pm
Fri & Sat: 10am-midnight
Closed Sundays

Shave Ice Ice Baby

July 1, 2006

Something fishy is definitely going on here… The airports have been bustling with college folk and local eateries and nightclubs are a’ bumpin’. You’re no longer alone at the beaches and malls, and there’s an unusually large amount of parties and family functions to get to. And let’s not ignore the fact that you’re sweating profusely like Kalua pig at a luau. Yep gang… like Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison, Summer is in full effect!

So what should we do this summer as the sun torches down on us and parches our tender little, post-winter throats? Nothing. The weather hasn’t changed here in Hawaii since, like, forever silly.

But seriously… Let’s just say, you know, hypothetically, that we were coming out of one of our coldest “winters” ever. Brrrr… And this “Spring” thing also did a number on us. Wouldn’t we be looking forward to Mr. Sun showing his adorable face to us and defrosting our buns? Wouldn’t you be craving a refreshing, beverage-ish snack, that’s both an island favorite and a tourist attraction all the same?

Say no more. The Ed is here to help you.

Shave Ice, as it’s known here in the islands (not snow cones or shaved ice), is the perfect summertime treat to quench one’s thirst buds after a long, hot day in the sun. Yes, it is a bit clichΓ©, but you have to admit, gathering a bunch of friends to laugh and gossip and share small kid time stories, while lapping up this magical frozen water/syrup-py concoction is still good times.

One such place that specializes in this delicacy is the original Waiola Store, located on the corner of Pa`ani and, of course, Waiola.

Corner of Pa`ani and Waiola
Corner of Pa`ani and Waiola

Hidden on an inconspicuous road, and nestled in between homes in a quiet neighborhood, this island favorite sits peacefully on the corner, as sweets-seeking patrons stop by.

Waiola Store
Waiola Store

(! – Not to be confused with Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice, located on Kapahulu Avenue. For purposes of this review, I’ll be sticking to the O.G. – Original Gem – Waiola Store that got it all started)

Waiola Store actually started as a small convenience store, selling miscellaneous knickknacks like sodas, chips, crack seed and frozen goods many moons ago.

Inside Waiola Store
Inside Waiola Store

It wasn’t until they started gaining popularity as a shave ice selling hotspot that they really took off. Now, you can’t find a day when the crowd inside the store compares to the line outside near their specially created shave ice side window.

Shave Ice window at Waiola Store
Shave Ice window at Waiola Store

Waiola’s, as they are endearingly referred to as, is known for their finely shaved ice. You won’t find the rock-hard chunks of ice here. They also offer a vast menu selection with unique flavors and add-ons that you may not see at other shave ice specialty stores. Unique add-ons like mochi balls, li hing mui seeds, lilikoi cream and chocolate syrup.

Waiola Store's ecclectic menu
Waiola Store’s ecclectic menu

On this occasion, I didn’t get too complicated. I just ordered a small cup with mochi balls and condensed milk… strawberry flavor.

The famous Waiola shave ice
The famous Waiola shave ice

(! – That’s something I forgot to mention. If you’re new at this shave ice ordering thing, the flavor should be the least of your worries. To fit in like you’ve been doing this for years, be sure to order your size and add-ons first. This way, they can start preparing it for you. The flavored syrup is added last and, as such, you would order that last.)

Waiola Store
2135 Waiola Street
Honolulu, HI 96826 (map)
(808) 949-2269

Waiola Bakery & Shave Ice
525 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815 (map)
(808) 735-8886

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The Island Snow store in Kailua serves up shave ice alongside of their collection of surf/snow/street apparel. It’s a popular stop for those going to one of the many beautiful beaches on the Windward side, Lanikai being my favorite.

Island Snow sign
Island Snow sign

In addition to being able to buy their name brand apparel at the same time as your treat, Island Snow has a few other unique features when it comes to their shave ice flavors. They have catchy names that turn ordinary-sounding flavors into exciting ones. Godzilla Grape, Kuulei Coconut, Da-Kine Lemon Lime and Kailua Coffee to name a few. They also set up their colorful collection of syrups above a lighted counter-top, much like you’d find your assortment of drinks at a fancy nightclub or contemporary bar.

Island Snow flavors
Island Snow flavors

This time, I ordered a regular with no ice cream… Pali Lilikoi & Wacky Watermelon combo. Pretty big eh?

Island Snow shave ice
Island Snow shave ice

(! – All shave ice treats from Island Snow include up to 3 flavors & a scoop of ice cream, unless you don’t want it.)

Island Snow – Kailua
Kailua Beach Center
130 Kailua Road
Kailua, HI 96734 (map)
(808) 263-6339

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What’s a conversation about shave ice in Hawaii without mention of the world famous M. Matsumoto Grocery Store in Haleiwa town, otherwise known as Matsumoto’s Shave Ice?

M. Matsumoto Grocery Store sign
M. Matsumoto Grocery Store sign

Matsumoto’s has the richest history and gets the largest media coverage of any shave ice store in the state and perhaps the world. And though there are many naysayers who claim that Waiola’s or even Haleiwa neighbor Aoki’s is better, you can’t question Matsumoto’s popularity.

Like Waiola Store, Matsumoto’s started as (and continues to be) a convenience-type store. Though, these days, most of their products caters to the tourist and shave ice crowd (sun tan lotion, hats, logo apparel, beachwear, snacks, etc.).

The menu looks like the same one they’ve had since they opened, and the prices seemed to have stayed the same as well. Just $1.30 for a small! Over the years, they’ve attached little one-piecers as they’ve added new flavors like mango, lychee and melona. Funny, but cute. A reminder of the mom and pops feel still present here.

Matsumoto's menu
Matsumoto’s menu

The equipment they use looks quite heavy duty. Is that an industrial strength motor? Wowsers!

Matsumoto's shave ice machines
Matsumoto’s shave ice machines

The photo from my friend’s shave ice came out nicer, so we’ll show it instead of mine. She ordered a vanilla/cotton candy combo FYI.

Matsumoto's shave ice
Matsumoto’s shave ice

(! – Be careful of the killah bees when eating outside. They usually swarm around the trash can slurping on the sweet juices. I’ve never been stung, but you never know… Just be sure you’re not in the area when they are hungry!)

M. Matsumoto Grocery Store
66-087 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712 (map)
(808) 637-4827

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Other notable shave ice joints around the state:

Jo Jo’s Clubhouse – Waimea (Kauai)
On the way to or coming back from the long drive to/from Waimea Canyon, you’ll see the bright sign of Jo Jo’s from Kaumualii Highway.

Jo Jo's Clubhouse
Jo Jo’s Clubhouse

Jo Jo’s Clubhouse
Mile Marker 23, Kaumualii Highway (Hwy. 50)
Waimea, Hawaii 96796 (map)
(808) 635-7615

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Itsu’s Fishing Supplies Inc. – Hilo (Big Island)
Known to the locals as “ice shave”, Itsu’s serves up this winner alongside of local style plate lunches, in addition to doubling as as a fishing supplies store.

Itsu's Fishing Supplies, Inc. (Photo by Nancy Vereze)
Itsu’s Fishing Supplies, Inc. (Photo by Nancy Vereze)

Itsu’s Fishing Supplies Inc.
810 Piilani Street
Hilo, HI. 96720 (map)
(808) 935-8082

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Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. – Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
Across from the Palace in town, this shaved ice has ice cream in the middle. (Mahalo for the info Wendy & Jay!)

Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. (Photo courtesy jatbar.com)
Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc. (Photo courtesy jatbar.com)

Scandinavian Shaved Ice, Inc.
75-5699 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, HI. 96740 (map)
(808) 331-1626

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Tasaka Guri Guri Shop – Maui Mall, Kahului (Maui)
Yeah, I know, this is not really shave ice, but we can’t pass up the chance to mention this famous sweet, sweet, juice, soda and condensed milk concoction can we???

Noelle, Kelvin, Hillary, myself, Grant and Shari outside of Tasaka Guri Guri
Noelle, Kelvin, Hillary, myself, Grant and Shari outside of Tasaka Guri Guri

Tasaka Guri Guri Shop
70 E Kaahumanu Avenue
Kahului, HI 96732 (map)
(808) 871-4513

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I know I’ve missed tons of your favorites from around the state. I guess that’s what you get for keeping me cooped up all day here in Mililani. Sorry dudes and dudettes, but be sure to let me have it by posting your favorite shave ice (or any sweets) hotspot in the comments section below. Now stop reading this and get back out there and enjoy your summer won’tcha?