Food Finds: Windward Oahu

1) Waiahole Poi Factory

For those looking to expand their taste buds we promise you'll go pupule (poo-poo-leh or crazy) for Waiahole Poi Factory's poi - so popular that this stereotypical (non-grass) shack in Waiahole Valley on O‘ahu's Windward coast typically sells out of their most popular items like the fresh, hand pounded and milled poi by early afternoon.

Get a head start on the locals and while you're there grab one of their heaping Hawaiian combo plates for an early lunch. At $10.50 a pop you can't go wrong with a mix of either Waiahole's squid luau, lau lau and beef luau or kalua pig - perfect for two to share. Grab a cool glass of iced mamake tea (an herbal iced tea, made from the Hawaiian mulberry plant, sweetened with sugar) to wash it all down. As they say in Hawai‘i, "da buggah broke da mouth."

An ‘ohana (family) business, Waiahole Poi Factory is owned and managed by the Hoe family and also offers guests a taste of Hawai‘i's culture and art. Their gallery, featuring must-have local masterpieces includes prints by well-known Hawaiian artists like Solomon Enos, poi pounders by Kanohi Enos, authentic native Hawaiian instruments and more.

If you've wandered through Waiahole Poi Factory before you're in luck - you no longer have to suppress your Hawaiian plate cravings till Saturday or Sunday. They're now open daily from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.


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2) Heeia Kea Pier

Lapping at the shores of He'eia, the He'eia Kea Pier is scenic spot that has hooked guests on their gourmet twist on plate lunch favorites such as misoyaki beef, beer battered mahi, guava chicken and luau stew.

If you're an early riser, hele (move) on over to Kane‘ohe before the sun is up to land He'eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli's early bird $5 breakfast special. Get there by 8 a.m. to anchor yourself a spot at the counter before the place is swimming with shorts-and-slipper-clad kama‘aina and the gang of retired "grandpas" who help open the place every morning.

These oldies but goodies love nothing more to than to strike up a conversation about what Windward O‘ahu was like in their "small kid time." And be sure to pay them the courtesy of asking for their recommendation before you head in to place your order. You can pretend to be surprised when they tell you it's the beef stew.


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