BY GUEST BLOGGER, DANIEL LEE
Aloha from our beautiful beachfront home-away-from-home in Oahu’s North Shore! Pristine blue ocean, waves crashing, fine stretches of sand bending around the curves of the island… yup it’s everything you can expect to see on a Hawaii postcard and more!
Witnessing such beauty on an empty stomach can be quite challenging so upon arrival, our family immediately stocked up on a steady supply of Poke or raw seafood salad marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and seaweed green onions. You can get a delicious Ahi Hawaiian style Poke pre-made with Ahi Shoyu and creamy scallop wasabi from Tamura’s Market for $7 USD each.
Now navigating the island of Oahu with a family of seven means transportation needs to be thoroughly planned in advance. A minivan from Enterprise was our best option and ran up a tab of about $250 USD for a week.
Driving along the coastline of North Shore, it’s easy to find surfers and cars-strapped-with-surfboards making their way to the water. We couldn’t resist stepping out of the minivan midway and witnessing Hawaii’s oceanic waterfalls as the big waves came crashing on the beaches. Reportedly waves go as high as 50 feet during peak-surf season! It’s no wonder why surfers (definitely the brave ones) consider North Shore as the surfing mecca of the world.
Food trucks galore!
Amongst this hard-to-miss settlement of food trucks in the Haleiwa community, we discovered Giovanni’s garlic scampi which is perhaps 90% of the reason for why people queue up at this graffiti-filled truck. Also the juicy, tender, made-to-order Korean Kalbi bbq beef ribs from Honos was one of my favourites.
Shrimp Shack which was featured on Food Network’s #BeachEatsUSA is a true seafood indulgence! Speaking with the boss lady on why there’s three flags (Canadian, Australian and Pirate) planted atop her yummy mobile, she says that she wants to lovingly represent those people who frequent here the most — including yes, pirates.
We forked up $59 USD and was deliciously rewarded with a cornucopia of…
- Snow & Dungeness Crab cakes
- Garlic mussels in wine
- Shrimp with garlic (that butter sauce is heavenly with rice!)
- Fried clams with cocktail sauce
- Surf & Turf with caramelized onions
Then there was the Shave Ice — Matsumoto style — that’s right. Mochi, condensed milk, shaved ice and ice cream are made for marriage, I tell you!
We ventured to Haleiwa Town to appease the kids and also the kid in us! After navigating the long line-up, I ordered the Ichiban Special (USD $6) — green tea flavour, ice cream, azuki beans, condensed milk + mochi deliciously presented in an edible waffle bowl. Sitting outside on the benches with the other residents while listening to local musicians melodically fill the air waves was pure foodie hedonism.
Life in Hawaii, from the comforts of our minivan was extremely relaxing. The pastel coloured houses lined up in various neighbourhoods resembled the look and feel of culture similar to that of Indonesia and even the Philippines. Tropical island vibe does have certain cultural closeness across the board — it seems.
With our continuous series of snacking and scenery, we made our way to the legendary Lāʻie Point. Standing on a rock platform jutting out into the blue waters, it was as if the opposing waves — through the sands of time — sculpted this giant piece of rock into a spear-tipped dune. With a vantage viewpoint of North Shore’s coastline, Lāʻie Point is one of the best places to witness the endless washing of waves — and of course, take Instagram-worthy shots!
Next stop was the Polynesian Cultural Centre. It came with high recommendations from our friends and even the flight passenger sitting beside me raved all about it. We took a canoe tour across this 42-acre themed park and living museum, showcasing villages from the 6 Polynesian countries — Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand and Tonga.
Our canoe guide, Joseph (a co-op student from the nearby university) was absolutely hilarious and made us appreciate the wonders of Polynesian culture and their savviness in navigating the Pacific ocean on their canoes using old school GPS — astronomy.
While here be sure to stay for shows that happen every hour in the different villages. Tonga was my favourite, evidenced by a shot of me rocking the traditional Tongan Taʻovala waist mat as a volunteer onstage… I always say yes when presented a chance to step out of my comfort zone! Its surprisingly rewarding just how much fun we can have from an unforgettable episode of self-embarrassment.
Good food, culture and island vibes will resume as the second part of Discovering Hawaii continues — stay tuned!
DANIEL LEE // Hell hath no fury like Daniel when he hasn’t had his bowl of noodles. Or rice. He (usually) makes better life decisions when he’s adequately fed. Our guest blogger is a wannabe techie, zen master, world traveller — help him validate his motto of “less is more” when it comes to life (and food) by following @danieeeleee on Instagram. Home base is Toronto.