It was long overdue: a hunt for the best poke on all of Oahu. It was something I had planned for myself way back at the start of the year, but my schedule hasn’t permitted at vacay in quite some time so I only just got back to Hawaii. Keeping in the light-speed manner of my life, this latest trip to Hawaii flew by and I didn’t get to all the poke places as there were fires splitting the island in half most the time. Even so, I found some good eats to share with you:
Lesson #1 from KCC: Hawaiians are early risers. The market opens at 7:30am and when I showed up at 8-something it was clear I was the slowpoke. But what I lacked in timeliness, I made up for in intent as my hands were filled with kalua pulled pork on taro buns, taro mochi, and iced Kona coffee within minutes. Some time at the Hawaiian Beekeeper’s Association tent resulted in taking home a few jars of full-flavored Christmas berry honey and I scored some super fresh cheese from the Naked Cow Dairy.
But the day’s highlight was the taro poke from Taro Delight. It was 100% vegetarian (obviously made with taro) but just as tasty as the real deal. In fact, when we pulled it out at a friend’s party later that weekend, no one realized it was veggie until we told them. Timing, long lines, and budget made it so I didn’t get to try many of the products but I’m looking forward to Ma’o Organics, North Shore Cattle Company, and Kukui Sausage on a future trip.
Down the street from KCC is Fort Ruger market, which has been recommended to me countless times. It’s a small mom-and-pop shop in a residential area but they make the poke to order and, after checking out other customer’s purchases, it seems the butter mochi and plate lunches are pretty popular too. I tried out the tako (aka smoked octopus) poke with a few fixings and thought it was pretty solid though Tamura’s still takes the cake for me.
Trying to get my fill of Hawaiian food before I took off, I followed some Twitter advice and stopped by Haili’s food truck for my last meal. The lunch truck has lots of offerings but, as a means to get max out during my last meal, I went for a big plate lunch. And by big I mean a few meals rolled into one including: Kalua pig, chicken Laulau, chicken long rice, poke, Lomi salmon, and haupia. Check out the pic above to get a gander; and, if you don’t know what some of that stuff is, just take my word: it translates as deliciousness.
To spread the love of my latest food finds on the island, be sure to check out this continuously updated map of restaurants in Hawaii.