Ahhh… wedding accomplished! Now Sweets and I have some touristy wandering time to ourselves that doesn’t involve wedding errands.
Fortunately for us, we have time with our favorite local, Lance, who also was our fixer for our culinary tour through Osaka this summer. Not only is Lance a regional expert in Japan, but Kaneohe on the windward side of Oahu is his hometown.
In addition to taking us to Pah Ke’s in Kaneohe, the best Chinese Restaurant I’ve ever experienced, he took the time to give us a tour of Honolulu’s Chinatown.
We started it off on the right foot with a stop at Ishimoto’s Poke Stand. The varieties of poke were quite astounding with a variety of raw seafoods tangled up in seaweed and spices. We sampled tako poke, and a spicy maguro poke, while also gazing on the eye catching the crab and mussel varieties.
Splendid Table produced a Honolulu focused podcast a couple of weeks ago that prepared me for the astounding variety of produce at Chinatown. However, the aquarium like variety of bright local fish available in the cases is still breath taking. Bright yellows, oranges, and blue decorated fish are all available whole next to a variety of leg sized pieces of gleaming maguro.
The whole journey through the fish mongers had me muttering under my breath about my need for an ice chest to pack fish home with us.
Chinatown has several collected market places that one must duck through a doorway to find. Here, multiple vendors collect indoors to show off their collections of shrimp, seafood, fresh meats, and produce. Our timing in Oahu doesn’t make a lot of fresh tropical local fruits available, though we did spy some rambutan and lychee.
We finished our walk through with a stop for dim sum. I enjoyed picking out some Hawaiian takes on this Chinese tradition. The fried taro nest with embedded scallops were definitely a favorite. The taro produces a light flaky exterior when friend that is much like the delicate texture of panko bread crumbs. Mopped up in soy with chili sauce brings out a taste similar to tender yet crunchy pie crust.
I highly recommend a tour of Chinatown to any foodie who finds themselves in Oahu. If you don’t have a local friend, many culinary tours are available by perusing the Honolulu Weekly. Here’s two we found advertised this week:
- Cook’s Tour of Chinatown Get an insider’s guide in Asian cooking on a morning tour ($15; 8:30–10:30am) or dine out with “Taste of Chinatown Eateries” in the afternoon ($59; 11:30am–2:30pm). Learn about what to get and where to go. Comfortable shoes and elastic waistband recommended. Cash only. Reservations required. Corner of King and Smith streets. Every Sat. [email: eat_hawaii], 808-391-1550
- Culinary Walking Tour of Chinatown Get a history and geography lesson of Chinatown as you tour through some of the area’s restaurants, historic sites and shops. Begins at Chinese Chamber of Commerce, 42 N. King St.: Every Mon, 9:30am. $10. 808-533-3181
I imagine the benefits of an organized tour vs a self directed one, would be in having your produce questions answered. There are several varieties of fruits, vegetables and fish that one may not be familiar with. However, if you are a personality type that likes to jump in to a new experience, you’ll do fine on your own.
Aloha and happy eatings!
One Year Ago
This last week, my kitchen has been filled with rice crispie treats, and marshmallows galore! A truism that I forgot is that if making sushi is difficult- then the same goes for making fake sushi. I used rice crispie treats as the rice form, which was brushed with white chocolate to make it look more rice like. The toppings are a combination of fruit and marshmallow magic…