Om Nom Nom Oahu

Now that my jet lag is under control from my red eye back to Toronto, I want to share some of my most memorable food moments from my week in the Aloha State. 

First of all, this being my first time ever visiting a Polynesian island, I am blown away by the amount of culture and history in this geographically isolated part of the world. The local fare is a marriage between all the Native, Asian, and Western cultures that have resided on the island for centuries. And the result is fucking delicious. Coming from a city like Toronto, where world-class, authentic, international cuisine can be found at every corner, I am admittedly a bit of a stickler when it comes to food. To clarify, I give a shit about flavours and quality of ingredients, I don't care for pretentious, overpriced food trends. 

Whenever I travel, I make a point to eat as local as possible because I did not hop on a 10hr plane ride to eat cheeseburgers and hot dogs I can find back home. So, my Hawaiian diet mainly consisted of fresh produce, fresh seafood, fresh pretty much everything (minus jerky and spam lol).

 My first brunch meal in Kapolei (West part of the island) was pokè, duh. I opted for a bowl with Tako (aka octopus) and Hawaiian Ahi, topped with fish roe, avocado, pickled veg, and furikake. 

My first brunch meal in Kapolei (West part of the island) was pokè, duh. I opted for a bowl with Tako (aka octopus) and Hawaiian Ahi, topped with fish roe, avocado, pickled veg, and furikake. 

 Mar (@MarlineYan) and I also washed our bowls down with some probiotic bevvies and a handful of macadamia nuts (best nut in my opinion, comment below with your favourite!)

Mar (@MarlineYan) and I also washed our bowls down with some probiotic bevvies and a handful of macadamia nuts (best nut in my opinion, comment below with your favourite!)

 My friends and I watched the sunset every single day on the island. On this day in Honolulu, my girl Tricka (@wisdombodied) who lives in Waikiki took me to her go-to spot for the best açai bowl ever! This one had fresh pineapple, mango, and kiwi over shredded coconut, locally made granola, and an açai-banana base. It was the perfect cold sweet treat that accompanied an equally sweet view of magic hour on Waikiki beach. 

My friends and I watched the sunset every single day on the island. On this day in Honolulu, my girl Tricka (@wisdombodied) who lives in Waikiki took me to her go-to spot for the best açai bowl ever! This one had fresh pineapple, mango, and kiwi over shredded coconut, locally made granola, and an açai-banana base. It was the perfect cold sweet treat that accompanied an equally sweet view of magic hour on Waikiki beach. 

 Being the pineapple fiends that we are, Mar and I HAD TO visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and got the Dole Whip with fresh pineapples. For those of you who have never tried this legendary soft-serve treat, it has a creamier-than-sorbet consistency but it's much lighter than ice cream. It tastes like sweet, ripe pineapples. A little too sweet for me to order one on my own, but I stole more than a few bites from Mar. Plus the Dole Plantation had pineapple everything so it was definitely worth the visit. Pineapple candles, lotion, aprons, umbrellas, hello kitties, it was what the kids would call "sewwwwww kayuuuute", otherwise known as "so cute".

Being the pineapple fiends that we are, Mar and I HAD TO visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation and got the Dole Whip with fresh pineapples. For those of you who have never tried this legendary soft-serve treat, it has a creamier-than-sorbet consistency but it's much lighter than ice cream. It tastes like sweet, ripe pineapples. A little too sweet for me to order one on my own, but I stole more than a few bites from Mar. Plus the Dole Plantation had pineapple everything so it was definitely worth the visit. Pineapple candles, lotion, aprons, umbrellas, hello kitties, it was what the kids would call "sewwwwww kayuuuute", otherwise known as "so cute".

 RAMBUTAN! The moment I knew I loved Tricka for LIFE was when she offered me this exotic tropical fruit of my childhood. I am from Macau, a humid little coastal city in the Southern part of China. It has been DECADES since I had a Rambutan this sweet. It's similar to a lychee; the juicy, white flesh is soft and under a thick, weird-looking peel. The perfect snack after snorkelling with rainbow swarms of fish in Waikiki all day. 

RAMBUTAN! The moment I knew I loved Tricka for LIFE was when she offered me this exotic tropical fruit of my childhood. I am from Macau, a humid little coastal city in the Southern part of China. It has been DECADES since I had a Rambutan this sweet. It's similar to a lychee; the juicy, white flesh is soft and under a thick, weird-looking peel. The perfect snack after snorkelling with rainbow swarms of fish in Waikiki all day. 

 I know so far it seems like I have a crazy sweet tooth, but I really don't love sugar. Salt, however, is another story. I LOVE salty, umami flavours. And this Musubi had that. After hitting up a local Farmer's Market for coconut tapioca, I insisted we visit a local favourite - Musubi Cafe Iyasume. I got the Eel+Tomago (Egg)+Spam Musubi and was glad we did. I've had amazing musubi in Toronto, but I wasn't disappointed with this one especially for how cheap it was. Again, ate this while watching a majestic sunset on Waikiki beach.

I know so far it seems like I have a crazy sweet tooth, but I really don't love sugar. Salt, however, is another story. I LOVE salty, umami flavours. And this Musubi had that. After hitting up a local Farmer's Market for coconut tapioca, I insisted we visit a local favourite - Musubi Cafe Iyasume. I got the Eel+Tomago (Egg)+Spam Musubi and was glad we did. I've had amazing musubi in Toronto, but I wasn't disappointed with this one especially for how cheap it was. Again, ate this while watching a majestic sunset on Waikiki beach.

 Possibly my FAVOURITE food moment on Oahu was visiting the Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in historic town of Haleiwa. It was a food truck pit with wild cocks (okay okay wild roosters) running around and glaring you down. It was a fine line between fascination and fear being around these obnoxious birds. There was a quiet stream nearby and a cluster of picnic tables for seating.  I got the bestseller, which was the Scampi plate. It came with a dozen garlic, butter, lemon shrimp and two scoops of rice topped with more garlic, butter, and lemon. It was a butter-y mess of fresh seafood and starchy, fluffy carbs. Savage Keren was out in full force, I ate with my hands and licked every shrimp clean. My mom would be proud. :)   Thanks to everyone who recommended this place. You have changed my life forever. 

Possibly my FAVOURITE food moment on Oahu was visiting the Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in historic town of Haleiwa. It was a food truck pit with wild cocks (okay okay wild roosters) running around and glaring you down. It was a fine line between fascination and fear being around these obnoxious birds. There was a quiet stream nearby and a cluster of picnic tables for seating.

I got the bestseller, which was the Scampi plate. It came with a dozen garlic, butter, lemon shrimp and two scoops of rice topped with more garlic, butter, and lemon. It was a butter-y mess of fresh seafood and starchy, fluffy carbs. Savage Keren was out in full force, I ate with my hands and licked every shrimp clean. My mom would be proud. :) 

Thanks to everyone who recommended this place. You have changed my life forever. 

 Marline and I discovered a local grocery store that sold local pokè by the pound and we went HAM.  I made some Limu Tako Tacos (aka Octopus tacos) with local kimchi and lettuce boats. It was sooooo refreshing.

Marline and I discovered a local grocery store that sold local pokè by the pound and we went HAM.

I made some Limu Tako Tacos (aka Octopus tacos) with local kimchi and lettuce boats. It was sooooo refreshing.

Our essential Luau experience took place at the Polynesian Cultural Centre, where we learned about allllll the different islands that make up Polynesia and then feasted on ALOT of pork and taro and then watched an amazing musical production called HA: Breath of Life. So many shirtless men dancing... anyways, this meal inspired me to buy my own Hawaiian sea salt to make kalua pork and luau pork at home!

 On the last day, we decided to end our trip with a BANG and hit up a community favourite in Kapolei called Koa Pancake House. For this farewell brunch for two, we got Macadamia Pancakes, Loco Moco, and a triple decker turkey BLT with roasted potatoes (because another lady ordered it and the basic chick in me couldn't resist). It was aggressive, our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs.   The Macadamia Nut Pancakes were fluffy like clouds with crunchy chunks of actual macadamia nuts throughout. I am usually Team Waffle, but I have to say these pancakes were done so well.  The Loco Moco was by far my favourite part of this trio. It's basically hamburger meat over white rice, drenched in rich, brown gravy, and topped with over easy eggs. The yolk porn was real with this plate. And I am 100% going to try and recreate a healthier version of this with my WestSide Beef burgers.   The sandwich and potatoes were surprisingly good. I had some at Yokohama beach after and was so glad I had the impulse to order it. 

On the last day, we decided to end our trip with a BANG and hit up a community favourite in Kapolei called Koa Pancake House. For this farewell brunch for two, we got Macadamia Pancakes, Loco Moco, and a triple decker turkey BLT with roasted potatoes (because another lady ordered it and the basic chick in me couldn't resist). It was aggressive, our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs. 

The Macadamia Nut Pancakes were fluffy like clouds with crunchy chunks of actual macadamia nuts throughout. I am usually Team Waffle, but I have to say these pancakes were done so well.

The Loco Moco was by far my favourite part of this trio. It's basically hamburger meat over white rice, drenched in rich, brown gravy, and topped with over easy eggs. The yolk porn was real with this plate. And I am 100% going to try and recreate a healthier version of this with my WestSide Beef burgers. 

The sandwich and potatoes were surprisingly good. I had some at Yokohama beach after and was so glad I had the impulse to order it. 

So that concludes some of my best bites Oahu. I am already itching to go back.

Have you been to any of the Polynesian Islands? What was your favourite food memory? Share below pleaaase!!