July 31, 2010

Honolulu, Day 7: KCC Farmers' Market, Chinatown, and Hawaiian Plate Lunch

OH MY GOD, IT'S MY LAST HONOLULU POST! [Cue flock of doves flying through a stream of sunshine.] As awesome as my trip was, I'm glad these posts have finally come to a close since they should've been done...a month ago. At least. Just to remind you, I visited Honolulu with Kathy from May 9-16. AND TOMORROW IS AUGUST, PEOPLE. Last week was busy since I spent a three-day weekend in Virginia, but now I'm back and have little excuse for my lax posting. Here I goooo.

Farmers' Market time
Farmers' market time!

Kathy and I got an early start to our last day in Honolulu (sniffle) at the KCC Farmers' Market, which takes place at Kapi'Olani Community College on Saturday mornings from just 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. It was pretty packed when we got there around 9, although it's probably packed the whole time its open. And for good reason: Besides fresh local produce, there's tons of great prepared food.

ginger sodas selection
Pacifikool.

First, some drinks from Pacifikool, a drink company that specializes in ginger syrups—Hawaiian, Thai, and agave-sweetened. I tried the Gingercooler ($3) made with Hawaiian ginger syrup, lemon, sweet basil, and carbonated water. A simple and refreshing combination made better with whatever magic goes into Hawaiian ginger. Maybe it's just the vacation talking, but it seemed to taste better than regular ginger.

local pizza! pesto pizza grilling pizza
PIZZA!

While I got the drinks, Kathy stood in line for North Shore Farms' neopolitan grilled pizza topped with pesto (made with macadamia nuts—hey, this is Hawaii), fresh slices of Big Wave tomatoes, creamy gobs of mozzarella, and basil slivers. It's my favorite pizza toppings combination, but I rarely eat it—methinks I could count the number of times on one hand—since it's not exactly a staple of pizzerias. (Why don't I just make it at home? Perhaps there's a pizza party in my future.) The crust was medium thick and had an appealing slight chewiness with a crispy bottom. If you don't try this when you visit the market, you fail. Kathy and I showed some restraint by just sharing one slice, but you know we could've eaten much more if we weren't trying to save stomach space.

strawberry mochi!
Strawberry mochi, for meee?

Kathy brought me to the fresh strawberry mochi stand, only to find out that the a woman in front of us had just bought the last box. :( To express my grief, I flung my body to the ground while shaking my fists and wailing, "AAAAAAWWWW SHIIiiiiiITT" and this all took place in my mind.

big bag of kale
KALE!

Then I saw the BIG BAG OF KALE and all was forgotten. It lived up to the sign: It was a honkin' huge bag of kale.

fried green tomatoes
FRIED.

And then it was time for a snack from the Two Hot Tomatoes stand.

menu
Menu.

Aside from their namesake fried green tomatoes they also offer fried zucchini and sweet island onion rings.

fried green tomatoes, fried zucchini, onion rings
YOU CAN ALMOST TASTE ITTTT.

So I got "all of the above" ($7). The onion rings were my favorite, but they were all good because they were all coated in the same light, crunchy, craggly batter. The creamy wasabi lemon and basil lime dipping sauces made them even better.

barbecured abalone
Abalone!

I regret not trying the barbecued abalone. Two pieces for $6? Why did I skip this? I love abalone, but I've only eaten worthwhile amounts of it in Chile, where it's inexpensive and plentiful.

ShaveDice shaving the ice shave ice with lemongrass
ShaveDice.

For dessert, I tried a small bowl of Pink Cadillac (lemongrass) shaved ice ($3.50) from Blue Lotus's ShaveDice. If it were served in New York City it'd be worth recommending, but in Honolulu I'd say it was just okay. The ice, while quite fine, wasn't as fine as the other shave ices I've had, and there were some patches of non-syruped ice. The lemongrass flavor was refreshing, though.

taro mochi taro mochi innards
Taro mochi.

For second dessert, I tried taro mochi (5 pieces/$3), fried taro-flavored mochi balls combining chewy and crispy (one of my favorite texture combos) in every bite.

Fort Ruger Market
More...food...is...coming...

We left the farmers' market to get a typical Hawaiian plate lunch from the nearby Fort Ruger Market. No, I wasn't diving into another meal—I was saving it for later! PINKY SWEAR. I hadn't had a real Hawaiian plate lunch yet during the trip—not even on the Plate Lunch Tour—so this was my last chance.

The market may not look welcoming from the outside, but there's magic inside! Magic!

Mmm, awesome menu
Deli menu.

They don't make delis like this in New York City. Kalua pig! Pork laulau! Beef stew! Three kinds of poke! Ahi jerky! Haupia! A gabillion other things I want to eat!

I ordered Hawaiian Plate A, which came with kalua pig, pork laulau, pipikaula, lomi salmon, and haupia, and asked for poi instead of rice since I had never tried poi before. I also got a side of ahi poke, which was fan-fuggin-tastic...but more on that later. As Kathy and I had plans to eat second lunch with her family, I saved the plate lunch for later.

musubis
Musubis.

I didn't try any of these musubis by the cash register, although I sort of wanted one. A chunk of butter mochi, on the other hand, also conveniently located by the cash register for all my impulsive needs, did find its way into my purchase. The name is rather self-explanatory: It's mochi made with...butter. And other things. Check out this recipe at Ono Kine Grindz. It's like regular mochi, but eggier, milkier, and fattier. And to make things even better, outside of the dense, slightly chewy, smooth mochi is a light, crispy crust. IT'S. SOVERYGOOD. I ought to make a pan for my birthday.

Chinatown-ing

Chinatown
We are officially in Chinatown.

After going back to Kathy's house we joined up with her parents and sister to roam around Chinatown. Kathy told me Chinatown isn't very safe at night, but during the day it's fine.

99 Coffee Shop
99 Coffee Shop.

We popped into Vietnamese restaurant 99 Coffee Shop for noodly goodness. It looked like it hadn't changed much in decades. I'm down with that.

spring rolls
Spring rolls.

But before noodles, crispy spring rolls (chả giò) with noodles, herbs, and lettuce leaves. One of the tastiest members of the "fried things" family ever.

noodle soup and stuff
Bun mang vit.

I ordered the "only available on weekends" bun mang vit, rice vermicelli in a light broth with bamboo shoot slices, and steamed duck and a raw shredded cabbage and onion salad on the side.

duck and cabbage stuff
Mm, cabbagey.

The noodle soup didn't leave much of an impression—the cabbage salad ended up being my favorite part, after being doused in the accompanying fish sauce-y...sauce. (My knowledge of Vietnamese food is pretty crappy, and I'm fully aware that my descriptions will never improve unless I actually start taking notes. HAHA NOTES whatever. My veins fail to pulsate with the blood of journalistic ambition.) I've never had shredded cabbage as part of a Vietnamese meal before, but now I want it at every meal.

fermented fish paste?
Mm, shrimp paste.

I also liked the lil' pot of fermented shrimp paste. It's potent, pungent stuff; add a little dab to your food for a bit of funk.

raw stuff tomato and stuff noodle soup another noodle soup dish some noodle soup dish
More noodle soups.

And here's the other stuff that was on the table. Mountainous assortment of of raw veggies and herbs, tomato broth-based bun rieu, shrimp paste log-filled bun suong, and shrimp cracker-topped hu tieu mi hai vi. You can read much better descriptions of these dishes at Kathy's blog. I do love the veg-and-herb pile component, which allows me to ungracefully shove wads of mint and basil into my mouth. That's my preferred method of eating herbs, ye know: wad shoving.

And now, random scenes in Chinatown.

Chun's Meat Market
Chun's Meat Market.

Devil Pig! Probably delicious.

papaya salad
Papaya salad.

Freshly made papaya salad! Probably also delicious.

produce
Produce.

Fruits and vegetables! Neither of which I ate enough of during the trip. Oops.

Somewhere in Chinatown
Passageway...

Through Maunakea Market Place we ended up...

more shops n things
More shops n things.

...Here!...

Thang Coffee and Bubble Tea
Thang!

Okay, this is what we came for: Thang Coffee and Bubble Tea. Kathy says they make the best fruit smoothies in the city and their avocado smoothie is her favorite drink on the island.

avocado shake
Avocado smoothie.

We split an avocado smoothie with tapioca pearls ($3.50)—it'd be hard to finish a full cup on your own. The smoothie was super thick, just a touch sweet, had a light avocado flavor, and lived up to the smoothie name with its baby-butt-smooth texture. A great refreshment on a hot day. Or, you know, any day. I found the tapioca excessive for being in an already thick-as-concrete beverage, although I say that as someone who doesn't particularly enjoy boba tea. (I did when I was younger, but at some point I got tired of chewing gobs of tapioca that would randomly block the flow of the liquid I so craved. Like, dammit, I'm thirsty, balls, get out of the way, ok.)

Back To That Plate Lunch

Hawaiian plate lunch
YAY, IT'S TIME!

Shortly before Kathy and I had to go to the airport, I finally tucked into that Hawaiian plate lunch I had been saving all day. Clockwise from top left: lomi-lomi salmon, haupia, pork laulau, poi, and kalua pig. Methinks it was also supposed to come with pipikaula, but maybe the guy at the market left it out since I asked for poi instead of rice. OR MAYBE IT JUST WASN'T MEANT TO BE. Which is fine since I only had enough stomach space to take a few nibbles of everything.

I forget the name of this...
Lomi-lomi salmon.

Lomi-lomi salmon is like a diced tomato salsa with salmon bits mixed in. Can't say I've ever had that combination before. This version tasted mostly like tomato since it didn't have much salmon in it. It was a refreshing accompaniment to...

pork close up
PORK CHUNKS!

POOORK! LOTS OF PORK. (Okay, two kinds of pork.) Salty pork. The pork wasn't succulent, but I was happy enough with it.

poi
Poi.

I thought I'd like poi since it's a staple food made of mashed taro and water, and hey, I like taro-flavored things (mostly in the form of ice cream and chips)—but no. No. Now I know what unflavored mucoidal taro tastes like: sort of sour and bitter, like something past its prime, and nothing that instills a desire to eat more than a forkful of it. I seem to be hypersensitive to bitter foods though, so you might think differently.

poke
POKE!!

All was forgotten when I ate the ahi poke. Oh sweet jebus. Chunks of raw poke mixed with chopped raw onion, green onion, seaweed, sesame oil, and salt. Rarely have I ever eaten raw fish with such abandon. I don't think I could ever enjoy delicate pieces of sashimi as much as chopped tuna infused with salt and sesame oil. The poke was mighty refreshing until my mouth was overcome with raw onion taint, which made everything in my mouth taste oniony for a few hours. But it was totally worth it.

haupia mochi peanut butter mochi strawberry mochi
Happy Heart Mochi, we meet again.

I tried the other flavors of Happy Heart Mochi I didn't mention in my previous post: haupia, peanut butter red bean, and strawberry red bean. The chocolate haupia mochi I ate first was my favorite, but these were all great.

Goodbye, House

fridge
Fridge.

Kathy's fridge was custom made to seamlessly fit in with the rest of the kitchen. Ain't it sweet? I think there's more freezer space on the side.

Kathy's house
Living room.

Here's one last look inside the house, designed by Kathy's dad. It's damn lovely, even while still under construction (mostly the outside); I hope to visit again when everything's finished.

cool trees
Forest.

And one last look outside the house. Lush forest galore. Wiggly branches tree, come to meee.

And...IT'S OVER! THE TRIP IS OVER! BACK TO REALITY! NOOOO!!! :(

...I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, even as I fumblingly grasped for descriptions of stuff I could barely remember. Many thanks to Kathy and her family for taking such good care of me and giving me the best introduction to Honolulu a food lover could ask for. And megathanks to Kathy for driving us everywhere (I'm pretty sure she doesn't enjoy driving) and putting up with me being totally lazy and lolling around in the passenger seat.

Next, I'll try to quickly recap the best things I ate over the past two and a half months of not writing about New York City.

Related

Honolulu, Day 6: Happy Hearts Mochi, Champion Malasadas, Waikiki Beach, Curry House, and Bubbies Ice Cream
Honolulu Day 5, Part 2: Dinner at Town, Dessert at Nobu
Honolulu Day 5, Part 1: Sconee's, Zippy's, and W & M Bar-B-Q Burger
Honolulu, Day 4: Korean, Cakeworks, Diamond Head, and Grandma's Chicken Curry
Honolulu, Day 3: Five-Location Plate Lunch Tour, Plus Desserts
Honolulu, Day 2, Part 2: Shave Ice at Waiola, Icee at Uncle Clay's, Food Coma at Kats Sushi
Honolulu, Day 2, Part 1: Malasadas from Leonard's, Japanese Snacks from Shirokiya, and Hokkaido Bread from Panya
Honolulu, Night 1: Dinner at Grandma's House

Addresses

KCC Farmers' Market
Parking Lot C, Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)

Fort Ruger Market
3585 Alohea Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)
808-737-4531

99 Coffee Shop
174 North King Street, Honolulu, HI 96817 (map)
808-537-4276

Thang Coffee and Bubble Tea
1120 Maunakea Street, Honolulu, HI 96817 (map)
808-524-3409

Posted by roboppy at 1:41 AM

Tags: Chinatown, farmers' markets, Hawaii, Honolulu, Kathy

Comments (18)

I'm not sure whether to be sad your Hawaii posts are over, or relieved haha.

That said, those hot dog musubis look like miniature butts stuck on balls of rice. :)

Posted by: Nicholas at July 31, 2010 3:24 AM [#]

I think "cragly" is one of the best words I've seen lately. Well done!

Posted by: Marsha Calhoun at July 31, 2010 1:25 PM [#]

Robin! I am so sad to see the honolulu posts end! I am planning our first ever trip to hawaii in september and you were totally one of my top resources. =(

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: gtrine at July 31, 2010 4:04 PM [#]

Hey Robyn,

Don't you think those masubis by the cash register kind of looked like that fake plastic food you see in Asian food courts? I think it must be because they're wrapped in plastic wrap which makes them shiny.

Posted by: Angeline at July 31, 2010 10:20 PM [#]

For the poi, if you mix the lomi lomi salmon into it, it tastes a whole lot better! This was a trick that my boyfriend's sister taught me to ease me into eating poi.

If you come back to Hawaii again, take a side trip to Hilo on the Big Island and you will find ginormous strawberry mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen. I did a post about it: http://www.thetastyspot.com/?p=1354

Posted by: Cleone at August 1, 2010 5:12 AM [#]

Hi Robin,

If you like shaved ice, you should come down to Penang (Malaysia). We have two types served here: ais kacang - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ais_kacang and cendol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cendol

Your Hawaiian trip sounds awesome. It makes me want to visit Hawaii one day.

Posted by: Sue C. at August 1, 2010 7:50 AM [#]

Nicholas: ....NOW ALL I SEE ARE LITTLE BUTTS.

Marsha: Hehe, glad you like it. :) I love me some craaags.

gtrine: You're welcome! I hope the trip planning goes well!

Angeline: The plastic wrap does make them look...plastic-y. But under the plastic DELICIOUSNESS. Or tiny butts.

Cleone: Damn, those mochi look awesome. ;_; I will get my giant strawberry mochi someday!

Sue: I'd also love to get me some Malaysian food besides the shave ice. :) I went to Malaysia once when I was little; unfortunately I don't remember much. When you go places with a Chinese tour group, all you eat is Chinese food. Waaah.

Posted by: roboppy at August 1, 2010 12:06 PM [#]

Ginger you know I have never thought of it like this .. I mean ginger ale sure but as a cooler.. make a martini tooo.. hmmm wheels turning.

Posted by: brooke at August 1, 2010 10:03 PM [#]

Mmmm, there's a Filipino dish that's fried mochi and taro, like donuts, called bitso bitso (aka bitsu bitsu). One of my aunts makes it with so much taro that it's a vibrant purple color. I love pork laulau, too. Now I'm craving some. And it's 1:30 in the morning.

A Hawaiian hot dog place just opened up here in Phoenix, and it's pretty good, but I wonder how it compares to authentic Hawaiian dogs. They serve Hawaiian ice, too--had the wedding cake flavor (really vanilla-y), and it was awesome. Some of the ice was a tad bit gritty, but it was mostly awesome. I also wonder how that compares.

Posted by: Julie at August 2, 2010 4:33 AM [#]

It's funny. I also got sick of maneuvering my straw around bobas in my drink. I realized that once I started sucking bobas up to shoot them at things... brick walls, other cars... I was done with bobas.

Posted by: Kristina at August 2, 2010 4:12 PM [#]

I love the seamless fridge trend. I think it'd work especially well in small spaces.

The pizza looks delicious! I would totally eat that, but without the cheese of course.

Oh and fermented shrimp paste....ah, such an Asian delicacy! Definitely an acquired taste. I remember my grandparents would put a dab in their rice porridge and have that as breakfast. No wonder the Westerners think we're weird.

Posted by: adelyn at August 3, 2010 6:22 AM [#]

SO much mochi in your post and I love it. It looks like Hawaii is a deeelicious place to be.

Posted by: Sewon at August 3, 2010 10:46 AM [#]

Oh gawd...you just made me totally regret...not going to Hawaii...I mean there is still time - I'm planning a month long sojourn to Australia for next September...maybe I can work in a short stopover in Hawaii for food. Short...ha...might end up moving there instead. :)

I love Malay shaved ices...and boba tea...but I just had a marshmallow treat from Starbucks for lunch and their caramel light frapp and now I need some protein.

Posted by: Judy at August 3, 2010 1:17 PM [#]

omg your pics of the mochi make me want to freaking cry!! So does that close-up on the pork!!

The pizza looks like it's drowning in funky toppings. I guess that's Hawaii for ya that ingeniously invented pineapple pizza!

Looks like you had a wonderful eating trip. If I ever go to Hawaii (hopefully in the near future), I will consult your blog and may possibly Email you and Kathy xD

Posted by: Eileen at August 3, 2010 1:35 PM [#]

Julie: I've never had bitso bitso before, but I'll keep my eyes out for it. I'm also due to eat a Filipino meal...it's been a while since the last one!

I don't think I had an "authentic" Hawaiian hot dog, more like a hot dog that was in Hawaii. So I googled hawaiian hot dogs and found pukadog.com. Hot dog in a bun-sized loaf?

Kristina: Haha, I avoid the boba too, after a while. And then I realized I should've gotten the drink without...the boba.

adelyn: The kitchen is so slick. Everything blends in together. My kitchen will never look that cool!

Mm, I'd make fermented shrimp paste part of my balanced breakfast, except I don't eat breakfast.

Sewon: It's totes delicious, and it has...RAINBOWS.

Judy: If you can stop in Hawaii, I definitely recommend it. Wish I could go to Australia!

Eileen: I wouldn't characterize the pizza as Hawaiian, besides that it used Hawaiian ingredients. :) Pesto, mozz, basil, and tomato--all very Italian-friendly! And yesss you should go to Hawaii!

Posted by: roboppy at August 4, 2010 12:51 AM [#]

Next time you visit Chinatown, you should check out Hong Kong Noodle House. Yumminess.

And I'm somewhat sad that you didn't like poi, although it took me a long time to appreciate it's poi-ness. It usually isn't bitter though...maybe it was old?

Posted by: Yuzuman83 at August 5, 2010 9:34 AM [#]

Yuzuman83: Oh no, maybe the stuff I ate was past its prime. :[ Definitely had a flavor...that was...funky.

Posted by: roboppy at August 8, 2010 12:13 PM [#]

drool~

Posted by: sophie at August 8, 2010 5:16 PM [#]

Post a comment

Your comments won't get published until I approve them, which could take up to a week. Sorry! :( Unfortunately, getting to your legit comments, which I love dearly, requires wading through bucketloads of spam. I apologize in advance if I accidentally delete your comment during one of my spam-killing sessions.

If you comment under your business's name, I will unpublish your comment. I'll unpublish anything that looks overly self-promotional or doesn't appear to be from a real human. This only applies to 0.5% of you guys; as for the rest of you, stay awesome.

If you have something to ask me that's unrelated to this entry, please email me instead.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


stuff here

Search

previous entries

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

» 07/29/13: Classic Coffee Shop, Home of My Favorite Tuna Melt (Plus 7 Other Tuna Melts I've Eaten This Year)

» 06/30/13: In Remembrance of David Jones, My Favorite Memories from Virginia

» 06/02/13: Visiting Norway (Bergen and Oslo) from June 8 to 16

» 05/27/13: My Favorite $10 Dish: Pulled Pork Rice Plate from Taboonette

» 05/19/13: Belated Intro to Taipei, or "What's That Smell?"

Help out roboppy?

If you do want to help me out monetarily, here are some easy non-obtrusive ways to give back:

- Buy stuff through my Amazon ID!: This is the BEST WAY to help me out without throwing money at my feet. I buy most of my material goods from amazon.com, and it would help me shittons if you bought stuff through my link.
- Buy t-shirts through my Threadless Street Team thinger
- Get webhosting with Dreamhost.com and enter roboppy@gmail.com as the referral

Thank you so much for your help!

Site feeds galore

 Subscribe in a reader

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Twitter

My Latest Posts on Serious Eats

Facebook

Camera Info

May '10: Canon 7D with a Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC macro lens
Aug '07 - May '10: Canon 20D
June '06 - Aug '07: Canon Rebel XT
Before June '06: Canon SD 450
I "post process" all my photos in Photoshop to make them suck less. Of course, you need a camera to take semi-decent photos first, but without Photoshop, I am nothing.

links

Please don’t hate me if I haven’t included you. I tried to whittle this down to a manageable list, but there are just too many food blogs out there that I like! I shall update this list every so often.

Blogs

A Hamburger Today
A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei
The Amateur Gourmet
An American in Ireland
Appetite for China
Baking Bites
Beef Aficionado
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Bionic Bites
Blondie and Brownie
Boots in the Oven
The Boy Who Bakes
Brave Tart
Candy Blog
Cha Xiu Bao
Chubby Hubby
Chuck Eats
Comme un Lait Fraise
Dan Delaney
David Lebovitz
Deep End Dining
Dessert Comes First
Dumneazu
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Eat to Blog
Eat Your Kimchi
The Eaten Path
Eating In Translation
Eating Asia
FastFoodr
Fifteen Pickles
Food In Mouth
French Revolution
Fries With That Shake
Grab Your Fork
Great Food Photos
Goldilocks Finds Manhattan
Hello Sandwich
I live in a Frying Pan
i nom things
The Impulsive Buy
Just Hungry
Kathy YL Chan
The Kitchen Pantry
Law and Food
Lingbo Li
Lingered Upon
LUNCH
Maps and Fragments
Me So Hungry
Michele Humes
Ms Adventures in Italy
My Camera Eats Food
My Inner Fatty
No Recipes
Noona Blog: Seoul
One Wall Kitchen
Ono Kine Grindz
The Paupered Chef
Paris Breakfasts
Real Cheap Eats
The Scent of Green Bananas
Seoul Eats
Slice
Smitten Kitchen
So Good
Street Foodie
Sui Mai
Suicide Food
Sustainable Table
Swirl and Scramble
Tamarind and Thyme
The Tasty Island
Thursday Night Smackdown
Tommy Eats
The Ulterior Epicure
umami
U.S. Food Policy
The Wandering Eater
We All Go Poopie
World to Table

Non-Blogs

Brooklyn Chowder Surfer
Edible Queens
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down
Serious Eats
VendrTV

Recurring Eating Companions

These friends have lent me their stomach acids on numerous occasions.

Chichi
Colin
Diana
Eric
Greg
Kåre
Kathy
Melissa
Morten
Olivia
Tristan
Veronica