Tag Archives: eat
FUUD: Mama Pho in Aina Haina

FUUD: Mama Pho in Aina Haina


We have pho.

A few of us living in East Honolulu have been waiting waiting waiting for Mama Pho to open in the Aina Haina Shopping Center. To the point where we’d pass by the shopping center just to see if the new eatery was open.

It’s our first Vietnamese restaurant (that I can remember) in our ‘hood — and we didn’t wait to try it.

I had been craving phở — pronounced “fah,” people! — mostly because I was sick and this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup dish is what I like to eat when I’m sniffing and sneezing.

But this eatery, right across from Encore! Espresso (which will be neighbors soon with a Dave’s Ice Cream), has more than just pho. Its menu features rice plates, grilled meats, cold noodles and desserts that aren’t served every day. (We know.)

Here’s what we ate this week:

Outside Mama Pho

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We have been waiting for this eatery to open in Aina Haina. The nearest restaurant serving pho in East Honolulu is Kaimuki — and on some weeknights, even that's too far to drive.

Mama Pho, Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 West Hind Dr. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Phone: (808) 373-8887

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Derek’s last meals

Derek’s last meals

If you’ve ever left your hometown for any substantial amount of time, you know the one thing you’d miss is the local cuisine.

Well, it was no different for my boyfriend, Derek, who left last night for graduate school in Madison, Wisc.

He knew exactly what he wanted to eat — and we ate it. All of it. From kalua pig and fresh poi from Ono Hawaiian Foods on Kapahulu Avenue to a chili frank plate from Rainbow Drive-In.

It was an epic weekend of eating — and I’m going to pay for it this week.

Better dig out those running shoes. I’m going to need ‘em!

Here’s what we ate:

Kaimuki Grill

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Our eat-venture started at Kaimuki Grill (1108 12th Ave.) with a get-together with the Old Guys we surf with. It's one of our favorite spots to kick back with a cold beverage — Derek's choice is almost always beer — and heavy local-style pupus.

During the months that Derek will be in Madison, he’ll be sending me photos of what he’s doing, where he’s hanging and, of course, what he’s eating. I’ll be posting them on the blog under “Postcards from Madison.” Enjoy!

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FUUD: Stanley’s Chicken Market on Ward

FUUD: Stanley’s Chicken Market on Ward

It’s something I used to see every weekend growing up in Hawaii, huge billowing smoke emanating from roadside grills.

You knew someone was cooking huli-huli chicken.

Huli-huli chicken is one of those only-in-Hawaii dishes, credited to Ernest Morgado of Pacific Poultry who barbecued this style of chicken in 1955.

Doused in a special teriyaki-style sauce, the chicken was cooked between two grills, which had to be flipped over — or huli-ed — to cook both sides.

Since Morgado has the rights to the name “huli-huli chicken,” you don’t see many folks cooking the once-popular fundraising item anymore.

And that’s a shame. It’s easily one of my favorite things to eat, and you can’t buy it anywhere — with the exception of Koala Moa on Nimitz Highway, but that’s more roitisserie chicken than huli-huli — but from roadside grills.

But one place that comes very, very close is Stanley’s Chicken Market on Ward near Sports Authority.

I couldn’t believe that this roadside stand has been here for 16 years. The original business had been around for 65 years, selling chicken mostly wholesale. But for nearly two decades, Stanley’s has been grilling up chicken on this corner most Saturdays.

How had I not known about it this long?

A huli-huli chicken connoisseur I know invited me to have lunch with him here, at his favorite Saturday spot. (He brings his own wet wipes and cup with ice.) Here’s what we ate:

Stanley's Chicken Market

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Located on Auahi Street facing Ward Warehouse, this roadside stand has been here for 16 years.

Stanley’s Chicken Market, 1020 Auahi St. near Sports Authority. Phone: (808) 593-9989

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Iconic Hawaii eateries

Iconic Hawaii eateries

Well, who knew Monday’s blog would be such a talker!

But then again, I shouldn’t be surprised.

Hawaii has changed so much over the past few decades, it’s easy to find something to miss.

Longs Drugs Stores are now owned by CVS. Star Markets no longer exist. And the only place you can get a fresh waffle dog regularly is at the Panini Press at Kahala Mall.

But I didn’t want the blog to be a downer.

Though we don’t have Da Rink or Castle Park anymore, though restaurants such as Wisteria and Coco’s have long closed, though we’re seeing more Mainland big-box retailers open and local stores closing — there are some great places still around.

And today’s blog, I’m going to focus on those iconic restaurants, diners, drive-ins and take-out spots that make Hawaii, well, Hawaii.

Here’s the start to the list I’m sure you’ll finish: (Notice most of them don’t have websites yet!)

Rainbow Drive-In and its award-winning loco moco plate and slush float
• Like Like Drive Inn, one of the few local restaurants open 24 hours and serving breakfast all day
Liliha Bakery with its famous cocoa puffs and that old-school radioactive-red jelly served at the counter
• Wailana Coffee Shop on the outskirts of Waikiki
Zippy’s — it’s the closest thing to a locally owned chain restaurant and its chili cheese fries are a late-night nosh must
• Ono Hawaiian Foods on Kapahulu Avenue that’s still so popular you have to wait in line to get a table
Natsunoya Tea House on Alewa Heights
• W&M Bar-B-Q Burgers on Waialae Avenue — used to be on 9th Avenue — that still makes some of the best (and cheapest) burgers around
• Shige’s Saimin Restaurant, an iconic saimin stand in Wahiawa
Ted’s Bakery, though a tourist haven, still got great cream pies
• Gulick Delicatessen, one of the best-known okazuya located in Kalihi and serves the best vegetable tempura I’ve ever had

OK, finish my list! And tell me what to order next time I’m there!

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FUUD: Cafe Sistina on King Street

FUUD: Cafe Sistina on King Street

Who would have thought a meat lasagna and ragu bolognese would have been our last meals?

It almost was, had that 8.9-magnitude earthquake off Honshu, Japan generated a destructive tsunami that hit our Islands. (Luckily, it wasn’t too bad. Surges caused extensive damage to piers and boats docked at Keehi Small Boat Harbor and flooding on the Big Island and Maui.)

We had just been served our entrees when I got a text message about the earthquake, then reported as a 7.9-magnitude. I immediately got on Twitter and started posting whatever I could find online.

Then the earthquake magnitude was upgraded. Then we heard a tsunami hit the Japan coastline. Then we saw the video of the wave — and we knew this might be bad.

We inhaled the tirimisu, cleared the check and bolted out of the restaurant to pack and evacuate.

So here’s what was “almost” my last meal:

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Cafe Sistina, 1314 S. King St. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5:30-9:30 p.m. weekdays, 5:30-930 p.m. weekends. Phone: (808) 596-0061

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