The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Honolulu Day 5, Part 1: Sconee's, Zippy's, and W & M Bar-B-Q Burger

I visited Honolulu with Kathy from May 9-16, which means I've been back in New York City for over a month. And these Hawaii posts aren't even done yet. Oh dear. I'll get back on the New York track in a month, maybe.

On the third day, I ate about 50 percent more than I should've. On the fourth day, I tried to compensate for the third day by eating less. And on the fifth day, I compensated for the fourth day by eating about 200 percent more than I should've.

This janky image is brought to you by Paint, which is turn in brought to you by me being at my mom's place in NJ and using her Photoshop-less laptop. For better Paint-y drawings and hilariousness, visit Hyperbole and a Half.

This math, it just doesn't work. But it's amazing how malleable the human stomach is when pummeled with a five-meal day.

Sconees Bakery bakery case

Kathy and I started our day at Sconees, purveyor of scones and other baked sweets. Upon Kathy's recommendation, we skipped the scones and went for...

guava bar thing
Guava bar.

A guava bar, shortbread-y crust topped with a thick layer of guava paste, topped with more crust, sprinkled with confectioners sugar.

haupia bun innards

A haupia bun, mildly sweet soft bread stuffed with a block of smooth coconut-flavored gelatin.

lemon cheese pocketlemony innards
Lemon goo.

And a teeny weeny lemon cheese pocket, which I thought would have cheese in it, but instead only contained sticky lemon goo. I suppose the cheesy substance is in the crust, although I couldn't really taste it over the lemon. Update (6/29): Lemon cheese is another name for LEMON CURD! Oh duh. (There's also cheese made with lemon, though.) Thanks for the heads up, Clarrie!

My favorite of the three was the haupia bun, I liked its sweetness level—that level being "not very sweet"—along with its combination of slightly chewy, dense, soft carbs with smooth, creamy pudding-y filling.


And then about an hour later I ate at Zippy's with fellow food blogger Marvo of The Impulsive Buy, my number one stop for reviews of food products I will probably never eat, but I read anyway because he and his contributors bring da laffs.

A Hawaiian could describes Zippy's much better than I could, but from what I learned during my trip and by searching on Google is that it's Hawaii's "restaurant of choice," more specifically a takeout/fast casual chain that serves Hawaiian and American dishes 24 hours a day. While I don't frequent chain restaurants, any place that provides the opportunity to eat Korean fried chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches, and chicken katsu curry saimin at 4 a.m. is okay with me. They're most famous for their chili though, to the point that you can buy it online and ship it anywhere in the country for a pretty penny.

Although Zippy's has over 25 locations, I met Marvo at the Kahala location, which he and Kathy said was the best one.

Portuguese bean soup
There be soup!

I started with a small cup of Portuguese bean soup, a local favorite in Hawaii. I had never heard of it before—hell, I've rarely had any Portuguese food. The thick tomato-flavored stew just about knocked me out after three spoonfuls. No surprise that it's hearty as hell considering it's full of beans, sausage chunks, macaroni, carrots, and probably other stuff I can't remember. I liked it, but I don't think I was hungry enough to fully appreciate it. It would be best on a blistering cold day, the likes of which do not exist in Hawaii.

Saimin saimin
Mmm, noodles.

For the other half of my meal, I got a bowl of saimin, a Hawaiian noodle soup dish made of thin, wavy egg noodles in a light dashi broth topped with kamaboko, green onions, roast pork, sliced omelet, and something green that I can't identify. This is what I get for not taking notes. It strikes me as having more Japanese influence than anything else, but What's Cooking America notes that Japanese people consider saimin to be Chinese, and Chinese people consider saimin to be Japanese. Let's just say it's of Asian descent.


Of course, I couldn't go to Zippy's without trying their chili. Marvo shared his shredded cheese and diced onion-topped bowl with me. I never developed much of an appreciation for chili growing up, but maybe that's because in my experience it wasn't ever served with a big scoop of white rice in the middle. White rice = my favorite accompaniment to, like, anything with salt in it. Marvo mixed the rice with the chili—not something I would've thought of doing on my own, but it makes sense for ensuring equal distribution of rice throughout the chili and facilitating the "rice + chili → mouth" process. I honestly don't remember much about what the chili tasted like—besides that the bean soup knocked me out, sampling three pastries for breakfast played a part in that as well—but I heard the "secret" ingredient is mayonnaise, and I approve of mayo-enhanced anything.

After the meal was over we scoped out the adjoining Napoleon's Bakery, found at all Zippy's locations, but I was too full to try anything—even Apple Napples, their famous butter-laden apple turnovers. If I were Marvo I would've be disappointed to see the title of "the girl who ate everything" be so far from fulfilled. SORRY, MARVO! (But better to see me not eat a crapton than witness me in food coma mode, which involves a lot of low moaning, blank staring, stomach cradling, and regret.)

Thanks to Marvo for treating me to lunch! Next one is on me—you just have to come to New York City to get it.

menu W & M hours
W & M

For my third meal of the day, Kathy dropped me off at W & M Bar-B-Q Burger while she shopped at the neighboring hardware store. As my job entails blogging about burgers, I try to eat at least one burger during any trip I take. W & M became the "one burger" after I read Ono Kine Grindz's review—an over 50-year-old drive-up burger joint with limited opening hours = WANT.

I already reviewed the burger at A Hamburger Today, but I'll give a little summary for y'all.

First, let's talk about those opening hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday. I heard it's a madhouse most of the time (when it's, but at 3:45 p.m. on a Thursday people's stomachs seemed to be sleeping and the parking lot was almost empty.

Royal burger.

I tried a Royal burger ($3.60), one 2.7-ounce teriyaki-flavored beef patty topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and your choice of mayo, ketchup, relish, or mustard (I went with mayo) on an untoasted white bun.

Mm, innards.

With such a small patty, there was more topping than meat. Which was perfectly fine—the combination of fresh, crispy vegetables and layer of moist enough teriyaki-ed beef with squishy bread made for a pleasant, non-messy burger snack I still crave. I doubt I would've enjoyed it as much without all the toppings.


After talking to Chris, one of the employees, about the history of W & M and how they make their burgers, he insisted I try their well regarded McDonald's-esque french fries. Fresh from the fryer, the twice-fried fries were a great combination of hot, crispy (very crispy, like mostly crust), and salty—and after they had been sitting for a while, they were still a great combination of just crispy and salty.

Kathy and I hung out at her place for a bit before heading out to Meals #4 and #5, which we were weren't prepared for at all. Because if we had known what lied ahead, we would've fasted all morning. SOON, YOU SHALL SEE.


1117 12th Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)

4134 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)

W & M Bar-B-Q Burger
3104 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)


Nicholas / June 27, 2010 4:29 AM

Have overwhelming desire to find chili to dump rice into O_O" although I'll probably find the chili here to be disappointing. Also want coconut gelatin filled bread!!

Thanks for that link of hyperbole and a half, the skills in paint are of undeniable skill.

ps - yours isn't bad either haha, at least you color inside the lines...

Cassaendra / June 27, 2010 7:36 AM

Having only gone to Zippy's 4-5 times in my 25 years growing up in HI, I'm way out of the norm. Zippy's in Kahala didn't exist then (grew up in Aina Haina) and I rarely went out to Hawaii Kai, at least for Zippy's.

Their chili was so much a staple that it was the main fundraiser back in the day (~$3 for a big bucket) along with selling huli huli chicken tickets - - if you love char. ;)

Since I've moved away, I try to make one trip to Zippy's when I visit. There are too many places to eat when I visit, even at 5-6 full meals a day, that it gets bumped off the list.

Portuguese bean soup is one of my favorite soups my mother made. I would also eat it with a side of rice and if she made potato salad, that too. :P

I love your stories in HI. It is part of why I'm making plans w/ my father to go back home for a visit and perhaps swing by for a few days in Japan to visit family there too. :D Thanks!

kim / June 27, 2010 5:00 PM

You've proven to me that Hawaiians looooove sweets. :) With all these good eats, can this little island be comapared to ours IYO (in your opinion)? Be careful what of what you say :P

michelle / June 28, 2010 10:05 AM

Seriously - i am in the WRONG industry. I need to travel and eat for a job!!!!

missy / June 28, 2010 1:44 PM

I saw so many Zippy's while i was there. damn. i cant belive i didnt stop at one. the name Zippy's just didnt appeal to me. much regret now. i love chili!!!

roboppy / June 28, 2010 2:40 PM

Nicholas: I colored waaay inside the lines. I must get..MORE SKILLS...and maybe a table.

Cassaendra: Argh, I wish I could've tried that barbecue chicken! Sounds awesome. And I like that Hawaiians have fundraisers with CHILI and CHICKEN.

A trip to Hawaiian and Japan sounds awesome! I wish I had family in those places, or some kind of family ties. I don't even have much family in Taiwan anymore, so I don't have a major reason to visit...besides that I wanna eat a ton of stuff.

kim: Hawaii doesn't have the same kinds of sweets as we do in NYC, but I think they beat us in..some sort of awesomeness. LIKE MALASADAS! Yeah. And mochi! But they don't have the kinds of choco chip cookeis I love. Or lots of gelato. BUT SHAVE ICE! OH MAN they have that. Argh. So much tastiness.

michelle: Oh boy, you should see what i'm doing this week...going to Portland and eating a lot for work! I'm lucky, yes. Aside from the health problems I'll have down the road. Eep.

missy: I wouldn't think to stop into Zippy's if my friends hasn't said "YOU MUST EAT AT ZIPPY'S!" And I do like trying regional chain restaurants.

Clarrie / June 28, 2010 3:15 PM

Just a note 'lemon cheese' is a type of preserve (like lemon curd). So it's likely that the pastry contained that, rather than cheese in the dairy sense.

Man, jam is confusingly named sometimes.

Marvo / June 28, 2010 4:43 PM

You're welcome.

Another one of the secret ingredients in Zippy's chili is peanut butter. Or at least that's how the legend goes. I think the other green thing in your saimin was watercress or bok choy.

The Zippy's we met at is probably the best because it's the newest location and has a brighter atmosphere than other Zippy's restaurants. And it has a sushi bar and an aquarium. Aquarium...SQUEE!!!

Oh wait, I should point out to your readers that the aquarium and sushi bar have no culinary relationship. The fish in the aquarium are just for show and not used on or in the sushi.

Thanks again for inviting me and if I'm ever in New York I will take you up on your offer.

Eileen / June 29, 2010 3:11 PM

I absolutely love scones and would admonish you for not getting any, except the guava bun, haupia bun, and lemon cheese bun look & sound ridiculously delicious/exclusively Hawaiian.

roboppy / June 29, 2010 8:56 PM

Clarrie: Ah, thanks for the info! I'll update my post. I'm surprised I haven't heard of lemon cheese before. DAMN YOU, CHEESE IMPOSTER.

Marvo: PB? Iiiinteresting. PB and mayo, the magical duo.

Damn, did I totally miss that aquarium? I wasn't paying enough attention. :[

NYC meal, you can haz!


Eileen: Yup, I go for the Hawaiian goods. Although now I will always wonder if those scones would've changed my life...scone-wise.

Albany Jane / June 30, 2010 4:45 PM

Dude, ZIPPY'S!!! YES!

When I went to Hawaii as a pre-teen, my family went there an... impressive... amount of times within a week.

I L.O.V.E.D. their spaghetti sauce. Kinda meaty, kinda sweet. I thought the Apple Napples were okay, but there were many more delicious treats to be had at the bakery.

Steph / July 5, 2010 4:44 AM

That haupia bun looks DELICIOUS. I've definately had the two in separate forms before, but never meshed into one glorious form of carby wonder. This needs to be investigated further!

And your tummy did a great job handling this over abundance of work. Kudos. :)

roboppy / July 7, 2010 12:49 AM

Albany Jane: I still sort of wish I had an Apple Napple so I could say, "I ATE AN APPLE NAPPLE. YES, IT IS CALLED AN APPLE NAPPLE DON'T ASK ME WHY." Mmm, another time. At which point I will also try the spaghetti.

Steph: This world could use more haupia buns. Dear Bakers of the World: GIMME MORE HAUPIA BUNS. Please.

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