Aloha!

Oh dear – 2019…
Last post, Oct 2018…

So, how has everyone been? Haha

It has definitely been a long time since I wrote. What happened?
TL:DR – switched careers and now coordinating for executive leadership roles, got engaged in January 2019, and just been enjoying life as it comes!

Literally, that has been the quickest recap to the last seven-ish months (I’m not that interesting, sadly).

So, why the sudden urge to write again on my blog? Well, I traveled! And not to just some place – to THE place of paradise and relaxation. Yes, my blog friends – Oahu, Hawaii!

This trip was particularly special as I traveled with (my now) fiance along with his mother and his grandmother. It was everyone’s first time there – so a lot of Yelp-ing to find the hottest spots to eat. My brother’s friend (TY) was super helpful by recommending places to try as he is a local over at the island.

As we stayed on the island for 8 days, we did visit a lot of restaurants. With about ~40 restaurants on my list, I’ll write about my top three restaurants that I enjoyed while listing out a few of my other favorite restaurants with a summary of our orders + specialties. Let’s get started!

——

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
Shrimp Scampi w/ Rice

There’s all this hype about this shrimp truck. A few of my favorite YouTubers posting IG photos of the food here, so we thought we’d try. And boy… does it meet the expectation!

We got the original “Shrimp Scampi”, which comes on a plate with a dozen shrimp and two scoops of rice that is drizzled with garlicky goodness. The shrimp is cooked perfectly and seasoned well with the sauce and the amount of garlic is just right.

A lot of the people in the crowd was comparing the taste to Boiling Crab, but to me – Giovanni’s shrimp was a better fit as it did not give me the guilty feeling of consuming so much butter. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Liliha Bakery 

Butter Rolls w/ Guava Jam
Butter Rolls w/ Guava Jam

This place was recommended by TY. My fiance and I are big fans of loco moco and TY mention this is the place he goes to for his loco moco – so, the next morning after getting the recommendation, we headed over. There seem to always be a line forming outside of the restaurant (we went a few times throughout our trip) but they are very quick to get their customers seated (as they have both table or counter choices).

As a starter, you get four butter rolls with a side of guava jam. I don’t know what it is about butter, but these rolls were DELICIOUS – with a nice golden coat of toasty crunch and the right amount of butter on the rolls that it can be enjoyed with or without the jam.

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Loco Moco w/ White Rice

For our main, we ordered the loco moco. If you don’t know what a ‘loco moco’ is, it’s a popular contemporary Hawaiian dish that consist of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg then smothered in gravy. The loco moco here was definitely divine as my fiance and I are big fans of a smokey tasting patty, which Liliha did well. You also have the option to pick a different type of rice you would like the patty to be on top of. I preferred the original white rice, but you do have the option of substituting the rice with fried rice or brown rice.

Another dish we tried (and is a restaurant favorite) is the Oxtail Soup. If you had oxtail pho – it is a very similar consistency and taste, which hit the spot for me after days of swimming and hiking (sometimes you just really need a nice bowl of soup).

SIDE NOTE: On the bakery side, they have these delicious poi mochi donuts, which was the reason why we kept coming back to this location.


Helena’s Hawaiian Food
**TY recommended

This is a ‘hole in a wall” place that you know it’ll be good because of the number of cars and people waiting outside of the restaurant.When looking at the menu, there are options to order any dish individually or if you want to mix and match, there are combo sets you can order in regular or large quantities.

For our order, we decided to go with the Kalua Pig + Pipikaula short rib with rice combo set. We also added an order of the fried butterfish collar and boiled butterfish collar w/ Watercress (in case his grandma couldn’t eat something hard) – and everything was flavorful! We actually ordered to go, which included a tray of onion, haupia (coconut pudding), and a small to-go bowl of poi (porridge-like texture made from taro).


Sweet Home Cafe
Taiwanese Hot Pot

  • Broth choice: House Special + Healthy Herb (creamy/white soup base)
  • A fridge full of veggies, seafood, noodles on different color plates that identify the cost of each item
  • The sauce is self-serve on the side of the restaurant (didn’t realize that till the end of the meal)
  • At the end of the meal, a HUGE complementary shaved ice bowl 


TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie

Japanese noodles

  • Located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
  • Had the Tan Tan Udon – Spicy miso broth with ground pork
  • Noodle texture was good – chewy; seem thicker than normal udon noodles  
  • The appeal of this restaurant – the bowl size that the udon comes out of. But just your usual udon place


Don e Don
Korean 

  • Came here for the “Gamja Tang” – Pork neck stew with potatoes. Huge serving and a lot of meat!
  • Also ordered Pork Spare Ribs, which was full of tender meat, which is great to eat with a side of salad


Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

Japanese

  • Ordered the Special Kurobuta Pork Loin Katsu-don and 7oz Kurobuta Pork Loin Katsu
  • The thickness of the pork was about an inch and each piece melts in your mouth.


Heavenly Island Lifestyle
Breakfast & Brunch

  • Located next to the Shoreline Hotel Waikiki
  • As the location is next to the hotel, a very popular and busy restaurant. Also, advertise its focus on organic products.
  • Ordered the pineapple mimosa with the pork belly egg benedict and the island’s acai bowl

Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
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Dessert – Shaved Ice

  • Ordered the Strawberry Dream and Uji Kintoki (matcha based with mochi and red bean). Simple and refreshing!
  • Got to meet Uncle Clay, who is the sweetest and most humble uncle! To speak with him and be welcome by him was the cherry on top!


Chief’s Luau

Hawaiian + show

Chief’s Luau is not a restaurant, but I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND attending this luau to enjoy good food and AMAZING entertainment. Chief and his team know how to entertain their guest. Not only does your admission ticket include food and drinks, but you also get to participate in fun activities before the show: weaving your own headband, tasting pure coconut meat, airbrush tattoos, learn how to start your own fire!

The food is buffet style, which allows you to eat as much as your heart desires! The fruit punch is great and the bartenders that make the paid alcoholic beverages are generous. But, the highlight of the whole experience was the Polynesian dancing, the singing, and the demonstrations that Chief would do on the stage. I can’t say anymore as I do really hope you visit this place! It was so worth it.

——

Well, there you go! Ten places I would recommend on O’ahu. Again, totally optional but I found these places very enjoyable and dear to my heart (or my stomach I would say). As true Hawaiian culture – mahalo and aloha.

Until we meet again!

Cheers, Jane

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