I recently traveled to Oahu and stayed in Aulani for 2 weeks. My whole family gathered for a long-awaited family reunion. Altogether we had 6 adults and 2 children in our party and got the luxury of laying our heads to rest in Aulani's 2 bedroom villa. It was an amazing trip. One that I'll never forget. Throughout our trip, we got to eat at a lot at different dining establishments. We didn't eat much at the restaurants in Aulani, mainly because of our budget and also because we were out exploring the island most of the time. Yes, yes, yes. The Rat family are explorers. We are sorta like the Wild Thornberrys.
The Wild Ratberrys traveled to a majority of the island in the short time that we had there. Being short on time, it was really good that we had a party of 8. For every food establishment we visited, everybody ordered something different and we could taste a wide range of what that establishment had to offer. That allowed me to try a lot of different food. There's still a lot of food that I've not tried in Oahu, but out of all that I've devoured, I've decided to compile a list. Bear in mind, this list is not ranked. Everything in this blog post is amazing, including its writer. Ratketeers, here are the 7 dining establishments that I highly recommend when you visit the beautiful island of Oahu.
Pho & Company is just a 15 minutes drive away from Aulani. When I'm hungry at night, this is my go-to restaurant. I'll drive down to Pho & Company, get a Well Done Brisket Pho to go and head back to the resort. They only offer Large Sized Pho when you take-out, but that's enough to feed 2 adults in our household. I don't know how big your appetite is, but in this petite, extremely good looking Asian household, it is enough to fill us up and get us ready for bed. $10.50 to welcome the ZZZ monster. Add the summer rolls to the picture and you are looking at a really fulfilling hibernation session. The Pho served up at Pho & Company has definitely become a staple for the Wild Ratberrys when we visit Aulani.
2) My Cafe
Just a short drive away from Pho & Company, you can find My Cafe. We stumbled upon this joint with the help of Yelp. We've just had a meal at Denny's and decided to go for something sweet. Pancakes kept popping into mind. Yes, I know that we can get pancakes from Denny's, but I can get that in Denny's Japan too. I wanted something that I could only find in Oahu, so I opened up the Yelp app, searched for pancakes around Kapolei and a few minutes later, we were at My Cafe. The power of technology. Love it! The first thing that I'd recommend you do when visiting My Cafe is to make a reservation. This place was packed. It's a small joint with not too many tables, so do call in advance.
We waited for about 20 minutes and got ourselves an empty table. The pancakes on the menu looked really good and I wanted to try all of them, so I ordered the Flight of Pancakes to share. The Flight of Pancakes included Cookie Butter Luva, Lilikoi Cakes and Choco Taro Haupia. You can't go wrong with this. All three pancake flavors tasted amazing. The pancakes were fluffy and every pancake had it's own distinct flavor. They were so good that they made me wanna head into the kitchen to kiss the tattooed chefs. Love from one tattooed rat to another. I ended my dessert eating spree with the PBB & H. Peanut butter, banana and honey smoothie! Need I say more?
3) Mike & Billz Fire Grillz
For this entry, we'll be working our way to another dining establishment in Kapolei. Mike & Billz Fire Grillz is a food truck and it can be a little hard to find, if you are not a well informed rat like me. Get your pen and paper out Ratketeer! You can find Mike & Billz Fire Grillz within the compound of Self Storage by Kmart. It's a really short drive from Pho & Company. From Pho & Company, drive away from Kapolei Theatres, keep going straight and Self Storage will be on your right. It sounds a little complicated, but it is definitely worth it. Once you get to Mike & Billz Fire Grillz, you will be able to fill your tummy with sexy food like the ones that you can see below.
We ordered the fish and the Kim Chee Steak with Shrimp and everything was amazing. The sauce on the fish was brilliant and the fish was cooked to perfection. It had an amazing flavor that will explode in your mouth. The addition of berries to the sauce gave the dish a real kick. However, with that being said, the fish was not the champion of this food truck. That's just amazing. There's another dish that I like better than the fish which almost got me into an orgasmic state. Mike & Billz Fire Grillz is well known among the locals and all of them rave about the Kim Chee Steak. I completely, totally agree with them a hundred percent. The Kim Chee Steak was the bomb! There's only one word that comes to mind when describing the food served up at Mike & Billz Fire Grillz. Orgasmic!
4) Ted's Bakery
It's time to take this scrumptious adventure to another part of the island. This time, we travel up to North Shore. A super friendly and helpful Cast Member working in Aulani recommended that we visited Ted's Bakery, if we ever drive up to North Shore and we did. Before we continue with this blog post, I would like to show some love to Sam Cole. Sam recommended that we try the plate lunches and the pies from Ted's Bakery. His exact words used to describe the pies were, "Slices of heaven." We didn't quite get the chance to try the plate lunches because we were already quite full from eating at a food truck that we discovered by chance, but we did try that "slice of heaven" which he talked so passionately about.
Ted's Bakery is famous for it's Original Chocolate-Haupia Cream Pie, but I was in a 'pineapply' kind of mood. The tropical side of me came back to life when I escaped the winter of Japan, so I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me for not trying their most popular pie. I went with the Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cheesecake instead and it was exactly like how Sam described. The base of the pie was not too dry and not too soggy. It was perfect. The pineapple and cheesecake flavor came together to create this silky smooth dance in my mouth, while the little bits and pieces of macadamia nuts in the pie added that little bit of crunch. It was indeed, heavenly. If you ever find yourself in North Shore and have a severe case of sweet tooth, this is the place to go to. Next time, I'd be sure to try that Chocolate-Haupia Cream Pie that so many people are going crazy over.
Remember the food truck that I wrote about earlier? The food truck that got us kinda full before heading to Ted's Bakery? This is the culprit. On our way to Ted's Bakery, we stumbled upon a little food truck village in North Shore. There were a few food trucks within this area and me being the greedy rat that I am, had to stop and take a look. One food truck that caught my attention was The Elephant Truck. I'm a sucker for South-East Asian food and food trucks, so naturally, I decided to dine here. The beautiful surroundings also played a part. With a giant smile on my face, I handed my money over to the lady running The Elephant Truck and ordered a Larb Gai and a Thai Iced Tea.
I've lived in Thailand for a little part of my life and I was pleasantly surprised by The Elephant Truck. In fact, I was blown away by it's Thai Iced Tea. A lot of Thai Iced Tea have gone through this rat's digestive system and I would like to say this. The Thai Iced Tea served up at The Elephant Truck is the best Thai Iced Tea that I have ever had in my life! Many Thai Iced Tea that I've tried before were super sweet, but this one was not. It was creamy, refreshing and at the perfect level of sweetness for this rat. The Larb Gai was also really good. After living in Japan for a while and having tried Thai food in many parts of the world, I had almost given up on Thai food served outside of South-East Asia, until I tried this. It was authentic. It was light, citrusy with the right level of spiciness. It tasted as good as any Larb Gai that you will get in Thailand. Thank you The Elephant Truck. You have managed to capture and protect the essence and authenticity of Thai food, even when you are a million miles away from it's home. Kop kun krap!
Nestled between Ted's Bakery and The Elephant Truck lies Pupukea Grill. All three of them are on the same road and quite close to one another, so you might want to plan your dining adventure accordingly. For the Wild Ratberrys, we all visited North Shore on a different day just to try out what Pupukea Grill had to offer. Pupukea Grill is well known among surfers in that area and me being the super fit and sexy surfer that I am, had to find out what the fuss was all about.
All 8 of us traveled to Pupukea Grill on empty stomachs. We read a lot of good reviews on Yelp and wanted to try as many different dishes as we could. As you can see from the pictures above, we ordered a lot of food. Everything was really good. They were fantastic, but there was one dish that wiped them all out. Say hello to Spicy Tuna Quinoa. The king of this pipeline.
The Spicy Tuna Quinoa was brilliant. There were avocados, seaweed and a ton of fresh veggies. The tuna was fresh and pieces of it just melted in my mouth. The sauce was amazing. It added that spicy oomph and didn't take away from the wonderful ocean flavor of the tuna. Add all this goodness to the superpowers of Quinoa and you've got yourself a super healthy and delicious meal. It is no wonder that surfers love this place. This will definitely perk you right up and get you ready for the next wave. Add an Acai Smoothie to the meal and you'll have all the nutrients you need to battle a shark. I was just joking. Please don't do that. For the health conscious, Pupukea Grill will definitely hit the spot. For those who don't care about eating healthy, Pupukea Grill will show you that healthy food can also be divinely delicious.
We didn't travel much to Waikiki for this trip, but we did travel in that direction twice, just for KCC Farmer's Market. KCC Farmers Market opens every Saturday from 7:30am to 11am at Kapiolani Community College. This place is just filled with all kinds of amazing food. They got lemonade stands, ice cream, popcorn, rice plates, noodles, meat, seafood, everything. Whenever I travel to Oahu, I make sure to hit KCC Farmer's Market and every time I head to KCC Farmer's Market, I always start my eating adventure at Kona Abalone. Think of these succulent pieces of seafood as appetizer.
After warming up my tummy with abalones, everything else becomes fair game. I would walk around KCC Farmer's Market and get whatever that tickles my fancy. However, this double trip to KCC Farmer's Market was a little different. The first Saturday we were there, my sister stumbled upon a little tent called Nosh which serves up Pao de Queijo. Pao de Queijo are Brazilian Hot Cheese Bites. She got herself one, took a bite and got so excited that she quickly ran towards me and stuffed the remainder down my throat. It was fantastic. It was like nothing that I've ever tasted before. We have cheese bread in Singapore and Japan, but this was really something else. The bread was so so soft and it's flavor was simply breathtaking. It had a cheesy flavor that was strong, but not overpowering. It was well balanced. Turn it into a sandwich and voila... you've got yourself bite-sized magic. After gobbling down the Hot Cheese Bite that my sister rudely forced down my throat, I decided to get myself another one. It was so good that I couldn't stop thinking about it when we headed back to Aulani, so we headed back the Saturday after, just for me to fix my Pao de Queijo craving. They were that good!
KCC Farmers Market is a great food adventure by itself. There's just so many different types of food on display. There's something for everyone here, so set that alarm, wake up early and go pamper your stomach. Trust me, it will be really thankful after.
So, there you have it. 7 places to grab a bite in Oahu outside of Aulani. Which ones would you like to visit when you travel to Oahu? Type that out in the comments section below. I would love to know what you think. Thanks for reading and happy eating!