Honolulu Food Porn

I have a confession. There are a handful of blog posts sitting in a “drafts” folder because I didn’t finish them in time. I know, I know.

Rather than leaving them behind to collect virtual dust and neglect like toys in a Pixar movie, I’m going to plug them into the blog every so often as a throwback.


Ever since Christopher and I went to Hawaii in February, I’ve been having withdrawals like no other. I’ve written about how much I fell in love with the art, environment, and community in Oahu but I haven’t had the chance to talk about the food! Well, foodies of the world, this one is for you!

Pa’ina Cafe- Kaka’ako, Honolulu

If I lived in Honolulu, Pa’ina would definitely be my after school hangout. Open space, wide tables, variety of refreshing drinks, and poke bowls– What more do you need to kick back and chill? It’s a casual cafe known for their poke selections with the lovely single “$” on Yelp. Their poke choices include spicy tuna and even wasabi masago ahi! A variety of toppings are available alongside their adventurous assortment of poke,   like kimchee, tempura flakes, and seaweed salad.

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Koko Head Cafe- Kaimuki, Honolulu

Koko Head Cafe is one of the restaurants that depresses me for not living in Oahu.

Their all-day brunch menu provides a comfort for locals and Asian-Americans alike with their kimchee bacon cheddar scones, breakfast bruschetta with macadamia nut yogurt, breakfast bibimbap, and more! As if falling in love with their food wasn’t enough, their staff assuredly welcomed us as though we were entering home.

I highly suggest asking what their dumpling of the day is! Koko Head is not only famous for brunch but also for their dumplings. I know dumplings may sound unconventional for breakfast, however, they somehow work at Koko Head!

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*drool* Currently wishing I was there for the cornflake french toast… *drool*

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Lucky Belly- Downtown, Honolulu

This has to be the most photogenic ramen house I’ve ever been to. The natural light softly beaming into the restaurant complemented its cleanly laid out wood and brick fixtures.

Our server recommended the ramen among all of Lucky Belly’s Asian Fusion dishes. If he’s suggesting ramen in this Hawaii sun, must be good right?

It was. Their in-house made broth was full of rich creaminess that warmed all the right spots in my belly as I drank it up and ate its belly (… its pork belly…. its lucky pork belly.)

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We also ordered the pork belly bao. Mm… I can still taste the freshness of this perfect combination of veggie delectableness and belly fat.

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Leonard’s Bakery– Kaimuki, Honolulu

Christopher and I asked ourselves “What’s the hype about? What are malasadas?” Dozens of people told us Leonard’s is a must-go-to spot. We made our way to find the answer to our questions and let me tell you, the hype is real and deserved.

Malasadas is a fried Portuguese dessert that became popular in Hawaii because of Leonard’s. They’re similar to American donuts– fried dough coated with sugary goodness.

You can order different types of coated malasadas and custard to go inside.

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Goofy– Waikiki, Honolulu

I didn’t know how much I liked taro until my breakfast at Goofy’s (thank you Sam@Empire for the recommendation!) I ordered a Kalua pork eggs benedict with diced fried taro and greens on the side and it was the perfect combination of breakfast comfort food with an islander twist.

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Be sure to get here early, by the way! It’s near the major hotels in Waikiki so it’s pretty popular. We waited a good 45 minutes that morning but this charming restaurant was worth the wait.

“You cannot stop the waves but you can learn to surf”

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin- Waikiki, Honolulu

This Japanese-Hawaiian treasure serves a wide variety of tonkatsu plates. As if the fried delicacy wasn’t exciting enough, one of their items was a curry katsu loco moco.

Yup, I said it. Curry. Katsu. Loco. Moco. What other words do I need to tell you? You can’t go wrong when filling up your belly with a loco moco but… a curry loco moco served with katsu? Mm… Bonus points there.

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I’ll be back for you soon, Oahu. My tummy will be ready for more.

-ChiChai@Empire

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