Posts Tagged ‘lomi salmon’

Poke Paradise – Experiencing the Best Poke Around Hawaii – Part V

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

Local band Island Rhythms pretty much summed it up in their classic hit, “Is This the End?

Is this the end?
Are you my friend?
It seems to me
We are to be free…

Over the last 4 months, we’ve been poke-ing it up across our great state. We’ve visited some great institutions like Yama’s Fish Market, Tanioka’s, the Honolulu Fish Auction, Haili’s, and Tamashiro Market, and have met with some interesting folks in the industry like Sam Choy, Mel and Justin Tanioka, Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi, Alan Wong, Jed Inouye, Brooks Takenaka, Rachel Haili, Guy Tamashiro, and Hilo’s Uncle Solomon.

And though we’ve still got a loooooong way to go, we’re going to (temporarily) wrap things up this month in the 5th part in the Poke Paradise series with Kahuku Superette, JJ’s Seafood, Off the Wall, Paina Café, Ono’s Seafood, and poke’s new kid on the block Reno Henriques and his shop Fresh Catch.

Reno Henriques – Fresh Catch

Chef/Owner Reno Henriques grew up next to Kaneohe Bay and spent much of his childhood fishing, diving, and trolling in the ocean. After graduating from St. Louis School, he attended Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, where he honed his culinary skills. Reno returned to Hawaii to help with his family’s businesses (brother Dominic Henriques owns RRR Recycling Services and parents Linda and Robert Henriques own Rolloffs Hawaii), until an opportunity presented itself to open his own place. Fresh Catch was born.

Fresh Catch on Waialae Ave
Fresh Catch on Waialae Ave

Customer response has been tremendous thus far, bringing in tourists and locals alike, even eliciting a visit from UFC Fighter, and Hilo native, BJ Penn.

http://static.ning.com/socialnetworkmain/widgets/video/flvplayer/flvplayer.swf?v=201004131104
BJ Penn Visits Fresh Catch

Wanna learn more about Fresh Catch? Here’s a recent interview I did with owner, Bruddah Reno Henriques.


Reno Henriques Interview

[Edward Sugimoto] Give us a little history about yourself.

[Reno Henriques] I was born and raised in Kaneohe, fished my whole life, went to high school, St. Louis High School, and then after I graduated St. Louis, I went to Western Culinary Institute in Portland Oregon and did a lot of culinary up there. And then, when I came back, my parents own Rolloffs Hawaii, a rubbish company, and my brother does Triple R, I was working for them for about maybe 10 years. Then, my brother started a recycle thing in Kaimuki, so he asked me… ’cause the place was available and it’s too big for him… if I would like to do poke with him. I mean do a poke thing, and then he do his recycling in the parking lot. At first I was like ah, might as well. I didn’t cook for about maybe 10-15 years, but I figured, ah, I’ll give it a shot, I always cook at home. So I came in, prior to that, about a year, I was helping somebody else in Kaneohe, used to be called Slow Poke, it was a fish market. I was just helping him after work, you know, mix poke. One day he got real busy, he was like, “Reno go back there and make your own poke.” So I started mixing and next thing you know, people was telling me, “Oh I wanna try that one, try that one.” So I started making for him, and then, next thing you know, he was like, “You know what. Come over, help me, and you can work off your bill.” *laughs* Free poke and beer. And then he just helped me work couple hours a day, during the rush hour. So that’s how I kinda got into it, and then he taught me a lot of things, and then he retired about 8 months ago and I took over that business also. So now I have two stores, the Kaimuki store and then the Kaneohe store.

[Edward Sugimoto] How many different types of poke do you have and what are some of your more popular ones?

[Reno Henriques] Huuu. Probably got maybe over, I’d say about, between 30-35 different types of poke.

Fresh Catch's wide poke selection [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Fresh Catch’s wide poke selection [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Reno Henriques] The most popular one is up to you. I don’t know everybody has their flavor.

Close-up of one of my favorites: the Smoked Tako Poke
Close-up of one of my favorites: the Smoked Tako Poke

[Reno Henriques] You know, shoyu’s a good one. Everybody likes shoyu poke.

Shoyu Poke from Fresh Catch [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Shoyu Poke from Fresh Catch [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Reno Henriques] I started a new one, it’s called the Spicy Hawaiian. It’s kinda like an Ahi Limu Poke with spicy sauce inside. Different, but the thing is good, plus with the crunch with the limu.

Spicy Hawaiian Poke from Fresh Catch
Spicy Hawaiian Poke from Fresh Catch

[Reno Henriques] And the salmon poke is one of my popular ones. Teri Furikake Salmon Poke, da buggah’s ono.

Furikake Salmon Poke from Fresh Catch
Furikake Salmon Poke from Fresh Catch

[Edward Sugimoto] How about some of your personal favorites?

[Reno Henriques] My personal favorites is, you know the old school Hawaiian stuff like ake (liver), lomi oio…

Lomi Oio  [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Lomi Oio [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Reno Henriques] … Dry aku, a real popular one too is our taegu dry aku. It’s like dry aku, we cut it up, and then, got my grandma’s special taegu sauce. Everybody’s trying to get that one outta me, but cannot part with that one. *laughs*

Reno mixing up a batch of Taegu Dry Aku Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Reno mixing up a batch of Taegu Dry Aku Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Edward Sugimoto] And you don’t just have poke. You have plate lunches, marinated meats (party platters, and Red Velvet Cupcakes from Divine Desserts, etc.)…

[Reno Henriques] Yeah, we have all the different plate lunches. Our most popular plate lunch is the Teri Furikake Baked Salmon. That thing is deadly. Moist, juicy…

Teri Furikake Baked Salmon from Fresh Catch
Teri Furikake Baked Salmon from Fresh Catch

[Reno Henriques] Then we got like local favorites like a Deep Fried Ahi Belly with a butter garlic heavy cream sauce.

Deep Fried Ahi Belly from Fresh Catch
Deep Fried Ahi Belly from Fresh Catch

[Reno Henriques] We got grandma’s fatty beef stew. Plenny gravy. And then we got pateles, lau lau, we make smoked meat, chopped steak, just all kine local styles. We also sell marinated meats for the barbeque grill, you know tailgate time?

Marinated Meats from Fresh Catch
Marinated Meats from Fresh Catch

[Reno Henriques] And then we have some cold beverages. My wife and my cousins make red velvet cupcakes. It’s the best on the island I’m tellin’ you. *smiles* It’s the cream cheese frosting with chocolate chips. Mmm.

Red Velvet Cupcake from Divine Desserts (at Fresh Catch)
Red Velvet Cupcake from Divine Desserts (at Fresh Catch)

[Edward Sugimoto] So it’s a whole family affair over here.

[Reno Henriques] Oh yeah, everybody’s involved. Free labor ah? *laughs* Payback time!

[Edward Sugimoto] What’s in store for Fresh Catch?

[Reno Henriques] You know like everybody else, become famous and rich. Nah! *laughs* I’m trying to bottle my sauces right now. So I’ve been going to the mainland. I went to Boston’s seafood show, got some ideas. I want to start bottling a couple of my sauces and maybe one day, you know selling it throughout the world hopefully.

[Edward Sugimoto] Anything else to add to your current or future customers?

[Reno Henriques] Thank you everybody for your awesome business and your support. Fresh Catch will be coming up with a new special very shortly. I can’t tell you guys too much but yeah.

[Edward Sugimoto] Plate lunch or Poke special?

[Reno Henriques] Plate lunch.

[Edward Sugimoto] Shoots, thanks ah?

Fresh Catch
3109 Waialae Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)
(808) 735-7653
Tue-Fri: 10am-7:30pm
Sat: 8am-7:30pm
Sun: 8am-5pm

Note: Fresh Catch will be holding their 2nd Annual Father’s Day “Up In Smoke” Cooking Contest and “Nobody Cares” Hawaiian Style Car Show on Sunday, June 20, 2010 at the Aloha Stadium Nimitz Parking Lot. Click here for more details.

Ono Seafood Products, Inc.

Through one of my many blogs/tweets/status updates (I don’t remember which), I asked where the best poke place in town was. One of the names that came up regularly was Ono Seafood on Kapahulu.

Ono Seafood Products, Inc
Ono Seafood Products, Inc

Self-proclaimed as “The Best Poke in Honolulu,” this “Ono’s” should not be confused with the Hawaiian Food restaurant “Ono’s” with the same/similar name: Ono Hawaiian Food.

Outside Ono Hawaiian Food
Outside Ono Hawaiian Food

The Hawaiian Food “Ono’s” also resides on Kapahulu, and, to make things even more confusing, they serve poke as well.

Hawaiian Style Poke at Ono Hawaiian Food
Hawaiian Style Poke at Ono Hawaiian Food

But getting back to Ono Seafood Products, Inc… Here’s a quote from my friend Dean Shimamoto, who teaches us what and how to order:

“Every order of poke is made in front of you… You have the option to pick what you want, but I usually get ‘everything’ which means fish, onions, ogo, some kind of chili sauce thing, inamona (i think) and their special sauces. Ogo is fresh and their sauce is mean (haven’t tasted anything like it). How to order… ‘One pound Ahi with Everything’. You can also specify the spiciness, but if you don’t say anything it’s assumed to be mild. I’ve gone enough to know not to go on Tuesdays before 2pm when they get their shipment of fresh ogo.”
-Dean Shimamoto

As you may’ve noticed in the picture above, I arrived at Ono Seafood a tad early and was greeted with their delightful “Closed” sign. After killing an hour or so, I was the first, excitable patron through door. An older woman, whom I could only assume was the reverent “Judy,” took my order.

A confused Aunty Judy takes my order
A confused Aunty Judy takes my order

Though Ono’s has a reasonable variety of products beyond poke like dried goods (ahi, aku, squid jerkey, smoked tako, taegu, etc.) sashimi, party platters, boiled peanuts, and pickled products (kinilau, pickle onion, cucumber kim chee, lomi salmon, etc.), they’re primarily known for their poke and poke bowls.

Poke options at Ono Seafood
Poke options at Ono Seafood

On this occasion, I picked up a half pound of shoyu poke (ahi)…

Shoyu Ahi Poke from Ono Seafood ($14/lb)
Shoyu Ahi Poke from Ono Seafood ($14/lb)

… and a half pound of miso ahi.

Miso Ahi Poke from Ono Seafood ($14/lb)
Miso Ahi Poke from Ono Seafood ($14/lb)

As mentioned by Dean-o, my orders were made to order. And though I didn’t say anything about my spiciness preference, the Shoyu Ahi actually had some pretty good kick to it. If you no can handle (Randall), you should ask for mild regardless.

I don’t know if I’d go as far as naming them “The Best Poke in Honolulu” but it was tasty. Made to order care using only fresh fish is tough to beat.

Ono Seafood Products, Inc.
747 Kapahulu Ave, Apt 4
Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)
(808) 732-4806
Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm
Sun: 10am-3pm

Pa`ina Café

A couple years ago, I broke the story about a place opening up in Ward called The Poke Bowl. Well since that time, brothers Derek and Craig Uyehara, along with their partners, moved shop across the street to the Ward Warehouse area. With the move came a larger property and menu (PDF), as well as a name change to Pa`ina Café.

The line outside Pa`ina Café [Photo Credit: Ryan Ozawa]
The line outside Pa`ina Café [Photo Credit: Ryan Ozawa]

If the Poke Bowl is what you’re after, there is actually a science as to how to order. First you choose your size (small or large or extra large), rice (white or brown) and sauce (hot or mild). Then you pick your poke (Spicy Tuna, Shoyu Ahi, Hot Shoyu Ahi, or Limu Ahi), and cover it with one of 10 toppings at 50 cents a piece: Natto, Taegu, Kim Chee, Takuan, Shredded Nori, Fukujinzuke, Pickled Onions, Furikake, Green Onions, or Seaweed Salad.

Small Hot Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl with Furikake and Seaweed Salad on White Rice
Small Hot Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl with Furikake and Seaweed Salad on White Rice

Since there are so many options, you can literally go several times and never get the same thing.

One Small Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl with Shredded Nori, Seaweed Salad and Green Onion on White Rice, and one Small Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl with Pickled Onions and Seaweed Salad on Brown Rice
One Small Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl with Shredded Nori, Seaweed Salad and Green Onion on White Rice, and one Small Shoyu Ahi Poke Bowl with Pickled Onions and Seaweed Salad on Brown Rice

Derek has informed me that they will actually be moving again in August to the nearby location formerly occupied by the Chowder House. Even more space and seating for their loyal and growing following.

Pa`ina Café
1200 Ala Moana Blvd #24
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 356-2829
Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm
Sun: 10am-6pm

Off the Wall

The brother in law told us about this unique, Okinawan joint sitting in the middle of Pearl Kai Shopping Center. Wifey and I checked it out one day and were pleasantly surprised with their eclectic dishes, especially their andagi options: the Shoyu Pork Andagi…

Shoyu Pork Andagi - Crispy andagi batter surrounding a shoyu pork filling. Served with a shoyu pork sauce and yuzu beurre blanc. $3 each
Shoyu Pork Andagi – Crispy andagi batter surrounding a shoyu pork filling. Served with a shoyu pork sauce and yuzu beurre blanc. $3 each

… and their house specialty: the Chocolate Filled Andagi…

Chocolate Filled Andagi $2 each
Chocolate Filled Andagi $2 each

Some notes from their menu regarding the Chocolate Filled Andagi FYI: “Absolutely made nowhere else! Warning: After eating our Andagi we are NOT responsible for any uncontrollable cravings to eat more than one! We cook our andagi to order and it does take some time to make (approx 20-30 min). Please order your andagi at the beginning of your meal.”

Off the Wall also featured many izakaya-type dishes, including a poke one called the “Naked” Spicy Ahi Poke Musubi.


“Naked” Spicy Ahi Poke Musubi – Our poke layered on a bed of furikake rice and drizzled with a spicy aioli. – $8

Off the Wall
Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy, B-10
Aiea, HI 96701 (map)
(808) 486-9255
Wed, Thu, Fri: 11am-2pm (take out lunch)
Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun: 5pm-9:30pm (dinner and drinks)
Fri: 5pm-2am (dinner and drinks)
Mon, Tue: Closed

JJ Seafoods

Another name mentioned in my informal survey was a place in Kaneohe called JJ Seafoods. Since I don’t spend nearly as much time on the Windward side as I should, I wasn’t exactly familiar with this place. I did though, remember driving by their very unique looking pink building many a time.

JJ Seafoods in Kaneohe
JJ Seafoods in Kaneohe

It’s not a large place in the slightest. Very mom and pops-ish, which I love.

Inside JJ Seafoods
Inside JJ Seafoods

We were off to a party in the ‘hood so we had to pick up at least two pounds. Unfortunately, we were strolling in just as they were closing and they were all out of their Shoyu Ahi. To our delight, they were willing to mix a fresh batch just for us to go along with our Tako Poke.

Tako Poke from JJ Seafoods ($11.99/lb)
Tako Poke from JJ Seafoods ($11.99/lb)

Ahi Shoyu Poke from JJ Seafoods ($11.99/lb)
Ahi Shoyu Poke from JJ Seafoods ($11.99/lb)

Go and support small, family-run businesses like JJ Seafoods k?

JJ Seafoods
45-726 Kamehameha Highway
Kaneohe, HI 96744
(808) 236-4987

Kahuku Superette

Back in high school, I used to dread seeing “Kahuku” on our basketball schedule. Not only were they good and likely to wipe the floor with us, the bus ride over was a killer in itself. (There’s only so many times one can listen to Boyz II Men on the Walkman. 😛 ) Now that I live somewhat closer to the north shore of Oahu and, more importantly, have my own car, taking that drive, like Rocky says, “ain’t so bad!”

Outside Kahuku Superette
Outside Kahuku Superette

Inside you’ll find your typical superette, complete with groceries and various knickknacks, but head to the back of the store and you’ll find a setup that’s uber popular.

Inside Kahuku Superette
Inside Kahuku Superette

In addition to poke, Kahuku Superette also sells boiled peanuts, seafood salad, and various meats (like kalbi, teriyaki pork chop, chicken bbq and Korean cooked beef), by the pound. You can purchase your poke by the pound, on its own ($9.99/lb), or in a bowl ($9.99/lb + $1, $1.50, or $1.75 for the small, medium or large sizes).

Small Ahi Shoyu Poke Bowl from Kahuku Superette ($9.99/lb + $1)
Small Ahi Shoyu Poke Bowl from Kahuku Superette ($9.99/lb + $1)

(Ed’s Tip: If you can help it, I would recommend eating right away if you get the bowl version. Reason being, the rice is mega hot, so it actually cooks the cold poke on top just a tad.)

Here’s a cross section of the poke bowl.

Side view of the small Ahi Shoyu Poke Bowl from Kahuku Superette ($9.99/lb + $1)
Side view of the small Ahi Shoyu Poke Bowl from Kahuku Superette ($9.99/lb + $1)

Wifey was particularly impressed with the meticulousness of their system. They actually took the weight of the container itself (before anything was in it), and subtracted that from the weight of the entire dish. Although, miniscule, I commend them for being that honest and fair about their pricing.

We also got half a pound of their Ahi Limu Poke.

Ahi Limu Poke ($9.99/lb)
Ahi Limu Poke ($9.99/lb)

Oddly enough, ther Ahi Limu Poke tasted pre-frozen, though their Ahi Shoyu (on the rice) did not. Not sure if it was just a time of day situation or if their Ahi Limu is always pre-frozen (or they serve fresh fish in the bowls only?), but just a head’s up.

Kahuku Superette
56-505 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731 (map)
(808) 293-9878

And that’s it! Five amazing months of meeting and eating everything and everyone poke. When we return, I’m hoping to hit up other popular places like Alicia’s, Ruger Market, Tamura’s, Marujyu Market, Monarch Seafoods, Inc., Masa & Joyce, Young’s Fish Market, and Da Pokeman, among others, but until then, kick back, relax and poke it up brah! Hope you enjoyed the series up until this point! Wow, I think I might get a little emotional here. Queue Island Rhythms…

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
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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 😛 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. 😉

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 😛 ). 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! 🙂

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! 😉

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 😛 ).

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. 😉

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