Welcome to a special edition of Nerdie Foodie! This week is a continuation of my Nerdventures in O’ahu, Hawai’i as I highlight some of the local cuisine and some familiar ones. ICYMI, you can check out Part 1 here. Let’s go!
On the first full day to fuel me up for the day, we wanted to try some local food for breakfast. I had the unfortunate hindsight to leave my suitcase full of clothes wedged between two people from my travelling group. So in the end I had to wait for everyone to wake up and by the time we left the apartment, we ended up eating McDonald’s for the first breakfast. The only difference in Hawaii is that they add a cup of pineapple to their breakfast meals! I thought this was a nice touch!
Speaking of pineapples, I could not resist getting myself a Dole Whip from the Dole Plantation! Accompanied by a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries on the side of course! Who says you can’t have dessert with your lunch? It was one of the best cold pineapple desserts I have ever tasted! The original Dole Whip nerds!
Now if you are the type of traveller who likes to try the local cuisine, definitely check out a dish called Loco Moco. Many restaurants, cafés, and diners all have their own take on the Loco Moco which consists of eggs, beef/hamburger patty and gravy all on top of a bed of steaming white rice. My first taste of this deliciousness was at the Rainbow Drive-In (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube), located just outside of Waikiki in Kapahulu, Hawaii (yes the same Rainbow Drive-In that Guy Fieri from The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives visited Season 8, Episode 11).
Their version of the Loco Moco consisted of two sunny side up eggs, two hamburger patties, brown gravy, white rice, and a scoop of macaroni salad on the side (whatever sauce they use for their mac salad is so addicting!) all for $8.50 USD and very filling. I wiped that plate clean!
The Paniolo Loco Moco: beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, onions, white gravy, two eggs however you want them, and bacon all on top of steamed white rice all for $12.95 USD!
Eat the Street Hawaii
While my travel companions and I were there, it just so happened that the Eat the Street food truck festival (Website, Facebook, Twitter) was being held near the Ala Moana Mall. This time it was Mardi Gras themed.
And yet, I still haven’t had a beignet. But what I did discover were some awesome local food trucks!
First up, Grow Aloha: Earth & Turf! They had a selection of deep fried organic Portobello mushroom poppers, deep fried okra, and deep fried mushroom risotto cakes!
They were out of the risotto cakes and okra, so we tried the mushroom poppers. They were delicious and still maintained their juiciness even after being deep fried! Check out their Facebook page here for updates on where they’ll be appearing next!
Nosh, a food company that makes Brazilian Pão de Queijo (hot cheese bites). Think cream puffs, only filled with cheesy goodness and a slightly chewier shell. They are gluten free and come in a variety of flavours such as jalapeno and guava! I know it sounds weird but the guava and cheese actually taste really good together. Check out their Facebook page here!
And then there is the Waimanalo Country Farms lemonade truck.
You can choose from 5 different flavours: strawberry, pineapple, mango, original, and li hing. We ended up getting strawberry and pineapple! They were so refreshingly tasty and it took me two days to finish the entire thing, so definitely worth the money! The mason jars are huge and adorable to boot! I definitely brought mine home as a souvenir!
Speaking of snacks, if you haven’t tried the Portuguese doughnuts (with no holes, think of a Boston crème doughnut or a really large Timbit) called malasadas, then you have not lived. At Leonard’s Bakery (Facebook, Website), these hot, doughy delicate and fluffy doughnuts can be filled with custard, dobash (chocolate), haupia (coconut), or left unfilled, and coated with plain sugar (original), cinnamon sugar, or li hing. Seriously delicious and fluffly! IT’S SO FLUFFY!!!!
I could have stayed at the Polynesian Cultural Centre for their big luau dinner, but @NerdyCruz suggested to try the luau at Paradise Cove (Facebook, Twitter). So I decided to book their roundtrip shuttle to and from the luau and not have to worry about transportation at night.
They greet you at the entrance with a drink (non-alcoholic or alcoholic) and a photo at the gates of Paradise Cove. You have time to check out a few of the activities from learning how to hula dance, to trying your hand at paddling in an outrigger canoe!
I made 2 new friends that night, Karen and Skip! They were the nicest couple and they let me join them for dinner for the night. We tried our hand at the outrigger canoe before we got to see the roasted pig ceremony. The food was delicious (that Kahlua pig was pull apart tender and I actually liked the poi) and the company was fantastic! The night time show of dancing was beautiful as well and really complimented the whole event. You also get a pre-paid gift card to use at the luau. Depending on which dinner package level you paid for, each has a different amount that you can spend at the bar and gift shop.
Overall, I had a fantastic time and it was a great way to end my trip to O’Ahu.
Aloha and stay nerdalicious!