Oahu Food – The Good, The Bad and The Malasadas

Mary has, over on her site, described in great detail our experiences with the food and beverage services at the new Disney Aulani resort on Oahu. After reading through it, I have nothing more to offer. Except, how, in the name of all that is holy, can you mess up a mojito? Because my mojito was really dreadful. Not dreadful, as in the sense that the proportions of mint to lime being slightly awry, but so dreadful, that I wonder if I will ever be able to enjoy another mojito anywhere without reliving the horror engendered by that singularly bad cocktail. The bartender ought to have his bar rag ripped in half, and his shaker stomped flat, and forced to walk out of the bar in shame, kind of like Chuck Conners in the opening credits to Branded. Yeah, no one could squint quite like old Chuck, especially after you broke his sword.

So, my contribution will be to expand the sum of human knowledge as to other, non-Disney sources of sustenance on the island of Oahu. First the good news – there is actually decent food to be found if you persevere. Over on the North Shore there is a place that serves a pretty fair taco, and more importantly, a superior fish taco. One of the better fish tacos I’ve had since my last visit to Rubio’s, as a matter of fact. It’s called Killer Tacos, and while it would only be fair to respectable when compared to Southern Californian taquerias, it’s solid platinum for Oahu. Go, and feast on the tortilla encased goodness.

We had some Asian food, in this case Thai, from a stand in the Chinatown food markets in Honolulu. It too, was pretty good. Lots of other stuff in there looked middling decent also. And cheap. Portion sizes were substantial enough we were able stretch them out for another meal back in our hotel. But then again, we had a full kitchen in the room. Otherwise, you’re probably looking at whether or not you can stomach three-day-old fish curry without ill effects. I’m not actually recommending you keep fish curry at room temperature for three days and eat it – that would be irresponsible.

We sampled malasadas, twice as a matter of fact, and if Mary had had her way, we’d have gone back three of four more times. Deep dried doughy pillows that were a bit unexceptional until you slam some Li Hing sugar on those puppies, and then they ascend the highest heights of the trash food Everest to perch comfortably, if a bit greasily, in the Throne of All Things Deep Fried. Which means, non-methaphorically that Li Hing malasadas equals extreme goodness. Skip the custard filled ones unless you have a deep and abiding thing for gooey filled donuts.

The Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel at Waikiki is everything a beach bar should be. The bartenders are friendly, talented and the drinks are (for Hawai’i) reasonably priced. I’d hazard a guess that they could make a mojito that would make your toes curl in a right proper manner. This bar goes up on my all-time list of famous and infamous bars, which Mary tells me I should post about someday. And I will, someday.

And that’s it for the good news.

Now for the bad news. I like Hawai’i, I really do. And there have been times when I’ve had something to eat on the various islands that wasn’t bad. Now, granted, on this visit, our first to Oahu, we never did get down to Honolulu for some eats, other than the aforementioned visit to the Chinese markets. I am given to understand that there are some superior places to eat in the city. Maybe we’ll find out on some other visit.

One thing I can usually depend on when visiting a place, is to find out where the locals eat, and try that. This doesn’t always work, notable exceptions include Tokyo, where the locals’ idea of what a pizza tastes like, is not what something the guys down at Ray’s Original would recognize. Then there’s Eastern Ohio, where fried bologna sandwiches are very much an acquired taste, which I’ve never really had an hankering to acquire, thank you very much. Add to this list, Oahu, well, probably most of the islands, now that I think about it. Everything we ate on Oahu, at places that the locals patronize, with the exception of Killer Tacos and the malasadas, ranged from pedestrian to horrible with a side trip to dreadful thrown in.

I’ve now sampled several more examples of plate lunches than I should have bothered with, and I can state conclusively that they are not really for me. They shouldn’t be for anyone. Meals that consist of some sort of meat of subpar quality, macaroni salad, and the invariable two scoops of white rice, are just awful. There I said it and there’s really no way around it. I know it’s an island tradition, but they really need to start a high level panel or something to investigate and implement a new island tradition. Could I recommend something with at least a couple of molecules of something vegetable-like in the mix?

We also sampled the very, very, questionable delights of a local chain called Zippy’s. I saw it variously described as an island version of Denney’s, a place where the locals go for home style cooking, or a cheap and easy place to start off the day or finish the night. Our visit can be summed up in two words – truly atrocious. I had the special Zippy’s chili with rice. I can safely say that I have never experienced a bout of indigestion quite as bad in my life. It lasted for two solid days, and I tried everything in the book, including Alka Seltzer, Pepto Bismol, Prilosec, Tums, and standing on my head till all the blood rushed into my cranial cavity and I passed out. Even un conscious my internal plumbing continue to rumble and fizz. I’d mention what Mary had but it would just sound bitter and unpleasant, so I’ll skip it. Just don’t order anything that says pork roast. Better yet, just don’t order anything at Zippy’s period. Go to a convenience store and get on of those hot dogs that have been rotating on the rollers since God was a teenager. Better tasting and it probably won’t give your gastro-intestinal system so much of a fight.




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