A special thank you to Homer J. Simpson for the title to this post.
While Rick and I have spent much of our time enjoying the land that is Hawaii, we have not in fact spent much time sampling its culinary wares. We corrected that this evening in a style that could only be described as EPIC.
Following one of our hikes the other day, we were offered a ride by a cabby for $5 each. The trip would normally be about $30, so this seemed like quite the deal. While I’m not one to normally get into a stranger’s car (which is so much a lie, I can’t even begin to describe), Rick and I debated the intelligence of the act, assigned posterior probabilities to various outcomes given the prior information and professional judgement at hand, and democratically voted on the result. Or, we realized we were hot and any outcome would be better than waiting any longer for the bus.
It turns out that the cabby was a fountain of information. The best of which included details on a local eatery, AND a local bakery that we. Just. Had. To. Try.
The eatery is known as Ono Hawaiian Foods and can be found at 726 Kapahulu Ave, in Honolulu. It’s about a 30 minute walk from Waikiki, which we discovered later in the eve when we were compelled to walk home to try to settle our ever so full bellies.
We ordered two ‘sampler’ dishes; the Chicken Long Rice Plate and the Combination Plate, as well as the Poke ($14.35, $18.15, and $8.00 respectively). The amount of food was more than enough for both Rick and me.
Between the two sampler dishes and the Poke, we had
- Chicken Long Rice (a soup very much like chicken noodle soup, but with more gelatinous and clear rice noodles)
- Kalua Pig (a salty pulled pork dish)
- Laulau (pork cooked in taro leaves)
- Poke (pronounced POH-kay, is a raw tuna salad)
- Pipikaula (a dried beef dish)
- Lomi Salmon (what I can only describe as a salmon and tomato salad)
- Haupia (coconut pudding)
The best part was learning how to eat the food. It wasn’t just as simple as ‘insert in mouth, and chew’. There was a process that needed to be learned. And the best part about learning, was the teacher. In this case, our instructions came from a 4 foot maybe 10 inch woman, affectionately known as Auntie, who came out from the kitchen with such gusto and energy, that we were both left smiling from the experience. She very quickly instructed us that we needed to ready our taste buds by sea-salting some onions and dipping them in poi. The Lomi should also be dipped in the poi. Finally, the meats should all be eaten by first dipping them in a hot sauce made with slices of chilis, and then dipped in the poi. Now, the first time I tried poi, I ate it on its own and was not impressed. This time around, using it as a dip, I loved it. LOVED. IT.
Each dish was amazing. However, the best dish by far was the Laulau. The pork was so tender, and the leaves so delicious, that just on their own (i.e., without the spicy sauce and poi) they left you drooling for more. AWESOME!
Of course, the trouble with good food is that one tends to keep eating until they can’t breathe. We were no exception here. So as we were finishing up our final bites, the waiter informed us that there was a bakery down the street. This of course was the same bakery that our cabby had told us about. So, despite our better judgement, and our significantly expanded waists, we paid our bill, said goodbye to Auntie, and waddled off down the street to Leonard’s (located at 933 Kapahulu Avenue, just down the street from Ono). There we ordered the not-a-donut Malasadas. Two of them cost a whopping $1.99, and Oh. My. Gawd. So freaking delicious. And they were served warm. WARM PEOPLE. Light and tender, covered in sugar, and filled with heaven. Or in Rick’s case, heaven in the form of custard. And all for $1.99. Cheapest mouth-gasm ever.
To get a sense of how good the Malasadas were, here is Rick’s play by play, caught on video.
Ultimately, this will go down as one of the best meals EVER. Sadly, I am writing this in agony. I ate way too much, and my stomach is not impressed. But it was so worth it. Definitely check out these establishments if you want to ever treat yourself to something awesome.