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The word for local in Hawaiian is “kamaaina,” and to find out how to eat like a kamaaina, you have to ask one. On a recent trip to Honolulu, locals directed me to Kapahulu Ave, an unremarkable stretch of road in the shadow of Diamond Head, where the daily business of Oahu happens away from touristy Waikiki Beach. I got some of my best food tips on Waikiki Beach from a bartender at Duke’s Waikiki who drew me a map of Kapahulu on the back of a cocktail napkin. If you find yourself in Honolulu, play kamaaina for a day and take a trip down to Kapahulu Ave to one of these local foodie hot spots.

Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave.

Photos: Robin Bennefield

When I asked a local named Larry the best place to have an authentic Hawaiian meal, he said Ono Hawaiian Foods, without hesitation. He also told me that “ono” means delicious in Hawaiian. According to Larry, the lau lau is ono. So, I had to go and give it a taste. Ono has all the characteristics of a hole in the wall: it’s tiny; the staff tells you to sit wherever you want; and there are framed pictures of famous Hawaiians all over the walls. One non-local catches my eye: Richard Chamberlain of Thornbirds fame, which boosts its quirk level about 10 points in my book. I order the pork lau lau and I get a hunk of taro leaf-wrapped pork, accompanied by small bowls of raw onions, lomi salmon, dried beef, poi and hanupia. I get an explanation of what I’m eating from Toyo, the gregarious manager, whose mother started the local favorite over 50 years ago. The lomi is a salmon salad with tomato that tastes like salsa, the dried beef is like bits of well-seasoned beef jerky, the hanupia is a slightly-sweet, Jell-O-like coconut pudding, and the poi is the purple, tangy, gooey by-product of pounded taro root, which Toyo tells me is very healthy and good for digestion. He also explains that the lau lau, which reminds me of a Southern dish of collard greens and ham hocks, is typically steamed in a pit in the ground. But the thing that he most wants to tell me, when he finds out that I write for Travel Channel, is that Anthony Bourdain once sat 2 tables away.

Side Street Inn on Da Strip
614 Kapahulu Ave.

Photo: Robin Bennefield

Bourdain also visited the original Side Street Inn on Hopaka St., but I stopped into its outpost on Kapahulu one Monday afternoon only to discover that this is the best place to watch Monday Night Football — at 3 p.m. — especially if you are a Seattle Seahawks fan. A rowdy bunch gathered to watch football over pupu platters of Chinese fare like eggrolls and spare ribs, along with heaping plates of fried rice. I elected to try the Hawaiian take on sliders: Kalua pig sliders with healthy heaps of pulled pork on top of fluffy Chinese buns served with a sweet barbeque sauce. Talk about ono, especially with a lychee martini, my favorite drink in Hawaii next to the mai tai.

Waiola
3113 Mokihana St.

 

Photos: Robin Bennefield

Going for a shave ice is probably the best way to eat like a kamaaina, and some will tell you that the best place to have one in Honolulu is at Waiola just off Kapahulu. A shave ice in Hawaii is not to be confused with Italian ices or snow cones on the mainland. The biggest difference is the powdery ice — the consistency of snow. Hawaiians like to have their shave ice on top of ice cream, azuki beans, a Japanese sweetened bean, or tapioca pearls, and top it with sweetened condensed milk, known as a snowcap. Like most shave ice stands, Waiola offers a rainbow of exotic flavors like lychee, passion fruit, guava and kiwi. Cars cram the few spaces in front of the small store, as brightly colored as its cold cones. Listening to people order here is a little like listening to someone order coffee at Starbucks. There’s definitely a shave ice lingo. I opt for the more tropical flavors — lychee, pineapple and lilikoi, or passion fruit — on top of ice cream with a snowcap.

Leonard’s Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave.

Photos: Robin Bennefield

I love fried dough of any kind anywhere in the world, so there was no way I was going to pass up a stop at Leonard’s, known for its malasadas. The Portuguese-style warm balls of fried dough are sprinkled with sugar or filled with cream flavors like hanupia, that Hawaiian coconut pudding. Leonard’s first introduced malasadas to Honoluluans in 1952 and they’ve been beloved ever since. The old-school signage and tiny pink interior hint at the sweet yumminess inside. I order 3 malasadas, original white sugar, hanupia-filled and li hing mui sugar, a tangy, salty, sweet dried plum Chinese confection. They make me want to start saying ono instead of yum.

For more, local Hawaiian foodie suggestions, watch Andrew Zimmern turn kaimaaina in tonight’s episode of Bizarre Foods America: Undiscovered Hawaii at 9|8c.

 

Tonight on the season finale of Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern travels to the eclectic city of Portland, OR . While in Portland, Andrew visits the not-to-miss bakery of Voodoo Doughnut, along with Olympic Provisions, a quality meats shop that produces 12 kinds of salami!

See all the places that Andrew visits tonight in our Portland Travel Guide. Plus, go behind the scenes for a sneak peek of tonight’s Portland episode in our Portland Pictures slideshow.

Watch a Sneak Peek: Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut

Tonight on an all-new Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern travels to Northern California for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma, and jelly bean sampling at Jelly Belly in Fairfield, CA (outside of San Francisco). Get a complete list of what Andrew gets into tonight in our Northern California Travel Guide, and go behind the scenes with Andrew in our Bizarre Foods America: Northern California slideshow.

Watch a Sneak Peek: Grape Picking in California

Are there some restaurants and dishes that stick with you, and in a good way? Whether it’s mom’s home cooking, or the fantastic Lobster Mac-N-Cheese at Miami’s Prime One Twelve, some foods never leave you! So we wanted to know: What were Andrew Zimmern’s favorite restaurants and dishes from 2012? He responded with his Top 5 Places I Ate Last Year.

Bon appetit!

 

Tonight at 9|8c, Andrew Zimmern goes crabbing and fishing for eels on the Chesapeake Bay. On land, he visits Baltimore’s historic Lexington Market that’s reported to have some of the best crab cakes in Maryland. But what Andrew is really searching for here is Mary Mervis Deli to sample their famous beef tongue sandwich. While in Baltimore, Andrew also discovers that the city is home to a large Korean immigrant population, and he finds some of the most authentic Korean foods at Lotte Plaza Grocery.

Go behind the scenes of tonight’s episode with our Baltimore and Chesapeake Bay slideshow. Plus, get even more news from Andrew Zimmern — read his 5 Restaurant Trends Around the World.

Watch a sneak peek of tonight’s episode: Crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay

Tonight on an all-new Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern travels to the gastronomic city of Chicago. Andrew stops at EL Ideas, an experimental restaurant that offers imaginative foods, plus makes pit stops at Next restaurant, Joong Boo Market, Rare Tea Cellar and Supreme Lobster & Seafood Company.

Get a complete list of Andrew’s pit stops, including his Chicago accommodations, in our Chicago Travel Guide. Plus, go behind the scenes of tonight’s show with our Chicago’s Cutting Edge slideshow.

Watch a sneak peek from tonight’s episode: Chicago’s Supreme Lobster

Tonight on an all-new Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern heads to what several like to call the “Cheese State.” Yes. Andrew travels to Wisconsin, where he not only encounters cheese but Emu oil, Southeastern and Siberian-American cuisine, and a run-in with a few cows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s farm.

Watch a clip from tonight’s episode: Wisconsin’s Dairy Researchers

Plus, go behind the scenes with our Wisconsin Pictures slideshow, and if you’re planning a visit to Wisconsin, don’t miss our Travel Guide from tonight’s episode that lists all of the places Andrew visits, plus where to stay.

Tonight at 9|8c, Andrew becomes one with the great outdoors, fishing, digging for stinkheads, hunting and more. Catch a sneak peek of tonight’s episode in our Alaska Pictures slideshow.

Plus, watch a clip from tonight’s episode: Andrew joins a local in Sitka, AK, who dives for abalone, sea cucumber and octopus!

Last night on Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern traveled to the Hawkeye State. From the moment he landed, he was elbow-deep in pork! First he visited La Quercia, an Italian-inspired artisanal meat producer. Next, he traveled to Rustik Rooster Farm, where farmers have perfected the art cross-breeding (and then slow-roasting!) some of the most delicious pigs in America. Andrew’s trip to Iowa was one for the books — relive moments from his pork-filled journey, watch episode highlights and see behind-the-scenes photos. Then, be sure to tune in next Monday at 9|8c, when Andrew visits Alaska!

Follow Andrew’s travels with our new Bizarre Foods’ Organ Trail map.

Watch: Andrew visits La Quercia

Tonight at 9|8c on Bizarre Foods America, Andrew visits Parallel 17, known for pressing the “outer limits” of the culinary world with its ant larvae beignets (see video below) and silkie black chicken entrée. Venturing outside the city of Denver, Andrew receives several one-on-one lessons in preparing Rocky Mountain oysters, aka bull testicles.

Watch a sneak peek of tonight’s episode.

Plus, go behind the scenes with our Denver slideshow, and get the name of each restaurant, activity and accommodation that Andrew enjoyed while in the Mile High City in our Travel Guide.

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