Hawaii eats section
In an effort to find good eats around the island, we ventured to West Oahu. Located on a stretch of Farrington Highway, Waipahu is home to lots of popular eateries. Here's what we tasted during our recent visits.
— Edward Morita
Sari sari is the Tagalog word for "variety." Filled with generous cuts of pork, shrimp, squash and onchoi, this soup from Thelma's ($8.50) lives up to its name. What we really like are the tender cuts of pork that flavor the broth, making it full-bodied and fatty (in a good way). The pieces of squash absorb the tasty broth and literally burst in your mouth when you chew.
Thelma's Restaurant, 94-366 Pupupani St., 677-0443.
When we asked around for must-try eats in Waipahu, almost everyone pointed us to the fried noodles ($5.25 regular, $1.99 to add meat) from Leeward Drive-Inn. The chewy noodles are packed with shredded fishcake and char siu. Another good option: the homemade turnovers.
Leeward Drive-Inn, 94-209 Pupukahi St., 671-7323.
MAX'S OF MANILA
Max's may make the best fried chicken ever. The skin was golden brown and crispy, while the meat was succulent. As we cut into the chicken ($7.95 half, $13.50 whole), juices literally oozed out of the flesh, which made us want to eat faster so we wouldn't miss out on any of that juicy goodness.
Max's of Manila, 94-300 Farrington Highway, 951-6297.
Highway Inn serves all the Hawaiian standards and other local dishes. Whenever we go, we go for the fried akule plate ($8.25), with crispy skin and melt-in-your-mouth meat. Warning: It's impossible to eat this dish without using your fingers, so submit to your primal urges and dig in.
Highway Inn, 94-226 Leoku St., 677-4345.
"Iron Chef" Masaharu Morimoto made an appearance last week at Doraku Sushi, introducing a new miso soup, flavored with tonkatsu flakes, cilantro and jalapeño peppers.
Shelby's Sweets has closed its retail tea shop on Nimitz Highway, with plans to reopen in a new location in January. The new bakery, specializing in custom cakes, will be at 1019 Waimanu St. in Kakaako.
Mei Sum Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant, long in a sunny, windowed corner space on North Pauahi and Smith streets, will move to a more spacious Chinatown location at 1170 Nuuanu Ave. The phone number will remain 531-3268, and it will continue to offer tableside cart service all day, every day.
Chef Mavro has extended its popular Beaujolais Nouveau menu to Dec. 19. The three-course, $59 feast features suckling pig, paired with 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau. (The wine pairing is additional.) The price includes an appetizer, entree, dessert and three complementary courses: a pre-appetizer, pre-dessert and hand-crafted candies. Seating is by reservation only 6-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 944-4714.
Moana Surfrider will host a special keiki breakfast with Santa in the Grand Salon of Beachhouse on Christmas Eve from 9 to 11 a.m. Special keiki buffet, free photo with Santa, gingerbread decorating. Keiki $30, adults $39; 921-4600.
NEW TO THE SHAVE ICE GALAXY
Open only weeks, City Cafe (1518 Makaloa St., 398-7598) is generating buzz with its Taiwanese-style shave ice, featuring syrups like simple brown sugar and other favorites. Toppings like taro, mochi balls, tiny custard puddings and grass jelly are all homemade, as are the sandwiches and baked goods.
ó Mari Taketa