Tag Archives: food-tag
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: The Alley in Aiea

FUUD: The Alley in Aiea

Hawaii has always had great restaurants attached to bowling alleys.

Consider Kapiolani Coffee Shop in Kam Bowl. Or the restaurant in Bowling City, where my grandfather used to serve his popular tripe stew.

And now there’s The Alley Restaurant in the renovated Aiea Bowl, an aging alley that got an expensive facelift a few years ago by brothers Gregg and Glenn Uyeda.

The restaurant concept was always a central part of their business model — and it’s obvious when you’re there how popular this alley eatery is.

While the menu remains fairly homestyle and local, it does offer gourmet twists to the usual fare, like the Tasty Chicken, essentially an upscale version of the popular Korean-style fried chicken. This blend of retro and nouveau cuisine is exactly what this restaurant works.

So after a morning of bowling — and working up an appetite — here’s what we ate:

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The Alley Restaurant, Aiea Bowl, 99-115 Aiea Heights Dr. Hours: 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, breakfast served from 7 to 10 a.m. daily. Phone: (808) 486-3499

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Eat, drink, help Japan

Eat, drink, help Japan

There’s nothing better than spending money on both good food and a good cause.

That’s what the annual Taste of Marukai is all about.

The event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Marukai Wholesale Mart, will collect donations for the Aloha For Japan campaign to help victims of tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

But more than that, the event, in its sixth year, has donated more than $135,000 to support local community groups that perpetuate the Japanese heritage in the Islands, including the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association.

Not to mention the food and sake.

Highlights this year include innovative dishes prepared on-site by Nobu Waikīkī’s chef Robin Lee, more than 50 sakes to sample — including a brew from the 340-year-old Otokoyama Brewery in Asahikawa, Hokkaido — and the ever-popular traditional sake barrel-breaking (called kagami biraki) ceremony.

Marukai chefs will also be preparing Japanese and Okinawan dishes that include Alaskan king crab legs, Kona abalone and fresh-cut sashimi.

And, if this is any incentive, the newly crowned 59th Cherry Blossom Festival court will be there, too.

Cost is $95. For more information, visit www.marukaihawaii.com

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FUUD: Hanaki in Manoa Marketplace

FUUD: Hanaki in Manoa Marketplace

Last year my parents debated between Waioli Tea Room and Hanaki, both in Manoa, for our annual Christmas Eve dinner.

Waioli won out for two reasons: 1) My mom had always wanted to eat there and 2) Hanaki, we had heard, was different.

The restaurant tucked in the back of Manoa Marketplace was once a favorite spot for my family, back when it offered a Japanese buffet.

But recently it changed, adopting the whole hot pot trend we’ve been seeing lately.

And I wasn’t sure what to expect.

So on my birthday, my parents decided to take me to Hanaki — to check it out. And let’s just say, I’m going again next week.

Here’s what my birthday dinner looked like:

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Hanaki, Manoa Marketplace, 2756 Woodlawn Dr. Phone: (808) 988-1551

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Advice for Eat The Street Japan

Advice for Eat The Street Japan

I know, I know.

It’s crowded, the lines are long, there’s not enough parking, trunks ran out of food.

I got it.

But there are ways to avoid these potential potholes if you heed some of my advice:

Go early. That’s the easiest way to avoid most of your problems. Trucks will have enough food, lines won’t be as long, and you’ll find parking. That said, if all 5,000 people show up at 5 p.m., well, that would be an issue.

Know what you want. Our Nonstop team, with the help of organizer Poni Askew (@streetgrindz), put together a list of vendors to help. Map out the places you’d like to try and hit only those spots. If you’ve got extra time — or the lines aren’t that long — then eat at the others.

Bring your own beverage. While most trucks will be serving drinks, bringing your own beverage will keep you hydrated — and less irritable.

Tag team. You can always guarantee trucks like Melt and Eat Gogi will have long lines. So disperse. Have one friend stand in one line while you stand in another. That will help speed up the process.

Eat a little before. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me. If you have to wait for an hour to eat a grilled cheese sandwich — and believe me, it’ll be worth it — and you’re starving, you won’t be a happy camper. But if you’ve got some food in your tummy — or if you brought your own snacks to nosh on — you won’t have that I’m-starving-and-I’m-hating-life feeling.

Bring cash — and small bills. This will really speed up the process, trust me!

Just have fun. Accept the fact that there will be thousands of people at tonight’s event. Accept that there will be long lines at some trucks. There’s no point in getting upset. Set small goals — eat a chimney cake or the soup of the day at Melt — and be happy with that. You can always patronize these wagons on Friday!

Happy eating!

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