STAY INSPIRED with a Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

Hawaii


The Honolulu Fish Auction is the only fish auction in the United States and is definitely worth waking up early to get there by 5:30 a.m. when the action starts.

Honey Chipotle Salmon with Fresh Pineapple Salsa
Honey Chipotle Salmon with Fresh Pineapple Salsa
SEE RECIPE
Macadamia Nut Tilapia Citrus Salad
Macadamia Nut Tilapia Citrus Salad
SEE RECIPE

see all recipes

Watch chef prepare inspired dishes from the world of seafood!
Macadamia Nut Tilapia with Grilled Fruit & Vegetables

DISCOVER HAWAII

with Anne-Marie Nichols, Author of the Blog, This Mama Cooks! On a Diet


Hawaii: Honolulu Fish Auction

Hawaii: Honolulu Fish Auction

The Honolulu Fish Auction is the only fish auction in the United States and is definitely worth waking up early to get there by 5:30 a.m. when the action starts.

The auction is open to the public, but make sure to wear rubber-soled, closed-toe shoes and a jacket. I borrowed some rubber boots at the United Fishing Agency, since I showed up in flip flops — oops.

Luckily, I’m married to a guy who’s an experienced sports fisherman. Paul immediately pointed out the various species of fish to me and started posing questions to one of the buyers, John Hernandez of John’s Fresh Fish. John explained how the auction process works, what type of fish species are available, and what kind of fish he was looking into purchasing for his clients in LA and New York.

Soon afterwards, we met general manager, Brooks H. Takenaka. Brooks grew up in a fishing family, but his parents didn’t want him to work in the family business. So, he went to college to get a marine biology degree — and ended back up in the fish business!

Brooks spent a great deal of time with us, pointing out the quality of the fish and what the buyers are looking for when they examine the pieces cut out of the tail and the core sample. He also showed us what the information on the tag means and how the fish are tracked from boat to auction to store or restaurant to ensure food safety and compliance with the FDA.

Brooks’s passion lies in promoting the Hawaiian fish industry and educating consumers about the importance of sustainability and the health benefits of fish. He also works within the fish industry, helping fish boat owners comply with best fish harvesting and storing practices, so they can get top prices for their catch while providing consumers with the freshest and safest fish.

Brooks was incredibly friendly and willing to answer any questions we had. He even brought me a jacket, since the room was rather cool. (Though after being uncomfortably hot for several days in Honolulu, hanging out in the 50-degree auction room was refreshing — until my feet started to go numb, that is.)

Make sure to visit www.hawaii-seafood.org to learn more about the auction, the Hawaiian seafood industry’s sustainability efforts, their safety practices, and the benefits of seafood in your diet.

Honolulu Fish Auction 
Pier 38 – 1131 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu, HI
(808) 536-2148
Starts at 5:30 a.m.
http://www.hawaii-seafood.org/auction/

Hawaii: Honolulu’s Chinatown

Hawaii: Honolulu’s Chinatown

After we left the Honolulu Fish Market Auction, we headed over to Chinatown for a dim sum breakfast at the Golden Palace Restaurant. We ordered several types of shrimp dim sum, along with favorites, like sticky rice and sesame balls. The dim sum was tasty and cheap.

Afterwards, we visited the numerous food markets around Chinatown featuring produce, fish, meat, and poultry. It’s also a place to get a quick snack of Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Pilipino food at the various food stalls.

Golden Palace Restaurant
111 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 521-8268

Honolulu’s Chinatown
http://www.chinatownhi.com


Young’s Fish Market

Young’s Fish Market

On our first day in Honolulu, we wanted to eat where the locals eat – no hotel pancakes and waffles for us! We also planned to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and other Pearl Harbor historic sites, so wanted to find a place that was on the way.

After consulting Google Maps, we settled on Young’s Fish Market. When it opened in 1951, Young's Fish Market was what its name implies – a store that sells fish. However, the founder, Wilfred Young, started to sell Chinese, then Hawaiian, food to offset the slow times between fishing seasons.  Today, Young’s Fish Market is a Hawaiian/Chinese restaurant that serves up local-style food in a casual deli setting.

We arrived around 9:30 a.m. and were told that the laulau wouldn’t be ready for another hour. So, we took off and did a little thrift-store shopping for aloha shirts. (Between the vintage and designer aloha shirts we found at the thrift stores and at Bailey’s Antique and Aloha Shirts store (we ended up having to buy a carry-on bag at the Salvation Army to get them all home!)

Coming back, we noticed that two large, native Hawaiian police officers were enjoying an early lunch, so we knew we were in the right place.

On the counter-ladies’ suggestion, we ordered mini plates (the regulars are huge) of laulau pork with lomi lomi and poi and a mini plate of kalua pork with lomi lomi and rice. Paul also ordered a small container of ahi shoyu poke and a side of squid luau. To translate:

Pork Laulau – pork wrapped in taro leaves and steamed. There are also versions made with butterfish, chicken or beef, or a combination of fish and meats. Delicious and tender.
Kalua Pig – roast, shredded pork – a bit salty, but good.
Lomi Lomi – made with tomatoes, onions, and small pieces of salmon. Many people put this in their poi. This became one of my favorite side dishes in Hawaii, as it was tasty as well as healthy.
Poi – a pudding-like starchy dish, made by pounding boiled taro roots and mixing with water until it reaches a smooth consistency. Hawaiians like it with sugar, salt, or even soy sauce. Try it once, and then forget about it. Blech! But, don’t let it put you off anything else made with taro. We had taro bread, taro pastries, and even taro hummus on our trip, all of which were terrific.
Poke – pieces of raw fish, usually ahi tuna or octopus (tako), traditionally garnished with Hawaiian salt, green and white onions, and sesame oil.
Squid Luau – squid and luau leaves cooked in coconut leaves until tender. Their version was cooked into a hot, almost-black mush that was out of this world. Our favorite dish at Young’s.Young's Fish Market
1286 Kalani St., Ste. 101, Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 841-4885
http://www.youngsfishmarket.com

FIRST DAY: Dinner at the Azure at the Royal Hawaiian

FIRST DAY: Dinner at the Azure at the Royal Hawaiian

Our first night in Honolulu, my husband, Paul, and I were jet lagged, but wanted to acclimate ourselves to the local time zone quickly by staying up as late as possible. Our stategy was booking late dinner. Being less than willing to drive anywhere, we placed a dinner reservation at Azure located at our hotel, the Royal Hawaiian. It wasn’t a hard to decision to make, since it’s one of the finest restaurants in Honolulu.

When making your dinner reservation at Azure, ask for an outside table, so you can enjoy the view of Waikiki beach. Since our reservation for 8 p.m. was made just a few hours before, we were seated inside, which was also lovely, especially when the gorgeous blond hostess walked by. (Well, for Paul. I was too busy trying to figure out if she was six feet tall without her heels on.)

If you arrive early, take time to stroll around the Royal Hawaiian for a little window shopping. Or you can enjoy a drink at the Mai Tai bar outside, as we did several nights later.

The hardest choice of the evening was to pick a wine. We love reds, but knew we should have something lighter that would go with seafood. Our waiter recommended a chilled Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec 2011, which was the perfect wine to wean off the heavy reds we’re used to drinking.

Then, what to order? Seafood, of course! I knew I wanted the Braised Kona Abalone small plate with charred Brussels sprouts, red wine, Parmesan, and duck fat pasta. It had been years since I’d eaten abalone and I was excited to try it again, as I told our waiter. He said that all the abalone in Hawaii is farm-raised and small. Very different from the wild-harvest abalone I had eaten as a teen in California in the late ‘70s.

Paul wanted to order Azure Chilled Seafood Plate of oysters, giant prawns, king crab, Kona lobster, abalone, Hawaiian ahi sashimi, served on ice with horseradish with vodka sauce and soy-wasabi sauce – and so did I. So, we decided to share our dishes and ordered the Sake Steamed Manila Clams with Enoki mushrooms, chilies, smoked pork belly, and Meyer lemon gremolata from the Small Plate Menu. For our final dish, Paul chose the opah, a fish we never see on the mainland, from Azure’s Local Seafood Menu.

To finish off our meal, we enjoyed a few more glasses of the Crios Malbec (we had finished the bottle), along with a serving of Waialua Flourless Chocolate Cake with ruby port-chocolate ganache and raspberry sauce.

It was a magnificent way to start our time in Hawaii.

Azure Restaurant 
At the Royal Hawaiian Resort
2259 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 921-4600
http://www.azurewaikiki.com/

Royal Hawaiian Royal Luau

Royal Hawaiian Royal Luau

I was of two minds about going to a luau before leaving on our trip to Oahu as I had visions of Fred Flintstone asking me to “pass the poi” and fat tourists in grass skirts and coconut bras. While I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Fred, no way am I going to wear a coconut bra!

Even so, I thought I had to go to a luau at least once, so Paul and I booked a reservation at the Royal Hawaiian’s Royal Luau. They call their luau a Aha ‘Aina, which translates to a gathering for a meal. In this case, it’s an oceanfront, sit-down dinner show based on Waikiki’s history. It covers the unification of the Hawaiian islands by King Kamehameha, the fall of the Hawaiian royals, World War II, the ‘60s surf era, and a celebration of contemporary Polynesian culture. (If you’re interested in learning more about Hawaiian and Polynesian history, make sure to visit the Bishop Museum, too!)

The Aha ‘Aina  is held every Monday evening on The Royal Hawaiian’s Ocean Lawn, so you can enjoy a backdrop of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head. As you enter the area, you’re given leis and a tropical drink. You find your table, sit down, and introduce yourself to your neighbors. (Ours were a young, charming Air Force couple who were on vacation between deployments.) Then, you can walk around the grounds and observe native young men and women demonstrating traditional activities, such as bark cloth making, pounding poi, and repairing fishing tools. 

Guests are then called to a sit-down dinner with the sound of a pu or conch. Then, the storyteller shares the significance of lei giving, the ocean, and taro while you dine. Starters were Poi and Lomi Lomi Salmon and Kalua Pig, followed by a Portuguese Bean Soup and Big Island Greens and Poke Salad of ahi, tako (octopus), shrimp, edamame (soy) beans, salad greens, and Ho Farm’s colored tomatoes served with a wasabi vinaigrette.

The main course was Sake Braised Short Ribs, Ha-ma-kua Oyster Mushrooms with Kona Lobster Tail, with Bridge Farm Scallion Potato Mash and Braised Sugarfarm Bok Choy. For dessert, we were served the Royal Hawaiian Signature Pink Haupia Cake with toasted coconut, mango guava, and Liliko‘i puree. Everything was elegantly served and delicious, though the portions were on the small side.

There was also an open bar throughout the Aha ‘Aina, which served mixed drinks, wine, beer, and every tropical drink you could imagine. You could also order coffee (which was excellent at the Royal Hawaiian) with dessert.

After dinner, the performance featured traditional and contemporary music, Hawaiian and Polynesian dancing, ukulele playing, and a fire and knife dance by a huge, rather intimidating (but handsome) Samoan man. Your parting gift was Hawaiian-harvested salt (and another mixed drink from the bar if you were quick about it). Afterwards, the evening’s performers were available for photographs and questions.

Dates and Times: Every Monday evening from 5:30 – 9 p.m.
Price: $169 Adult, $97 Child (5 – 12 years), nominal seat-only charge for children under 5 years.
Resort Guest Price: $159 Adult, $89 Child (5 – 12 years), nominal seat-only charge for children under 5 years.

There’s an additional charge for premium seating by the front of the stage. Also, rates are exclusive of tax, but inclusive of gratuity, of which a portion is allocated to pay for various expenses other than the wages and tips of their employees.

The Royal Hawaiian
2259 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815   
(808) 923-7311
http://www.royal-hawaiian.com

 


Inspiration destinations

Destinations
Cyprus
Cyprus
Mediterranean Mama Fish Taco
Venice
Venice
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia w/Lemony Asparagus Risotto
Portugal
Portugal
Mediterranean Crusted Salmon with Smoky Chick Peas
Southern California
Southern California
Stefan’s California-Style Fish Tacos
Finland
Finland
Stefan’s Potato Crusted Cod Over Ragout
Sicily
Sicily
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Rigatoni Roasted Peppers and Olives
Vancouver
Vancouver
Sugar Snap, Corn, and Basil Salad with Applewood Smoked Salmon
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Smoked Salmon Wrap
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore Noodles with Asian Spice Tilapia
Marseille
Marseille
Endive and Beet Salad with Herb Crusted Cod
Miami
Miami
Herb Crusted Cod Salad with Key Lime Dressing
Mexico
Mexico
Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Sopes
Anguilla
Anguilla
Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Kale & Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
Key West
Key West
Herb Crusted Cod Salad with Key Lime Dressing
Italy
Italy
Mediterranean Herb Crusted Salmon with Tomato Pepper Risotto
Hawaii
Hawaii
Macadamia Nut Tilapia with Grilled Fruit & Vegetables
Morocco
Morocco
Multigrain Tilapia with Red Pepper Coulis
Ireland
Ireland
Smoked Salmon Wrap
Thailand
Thailand
Coconut Crusted Tilapia Spring Rolls
Seychelles
Seychelles
Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapia with Sweet Potato Curry
New Orleans
New Orleans
Multigrain Tilapia with Red Pepper Coulis
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
Potato Crusted Cod Tostones with Smoky Mojo Sauce
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
Applewood Smoked Salmon, Warm Potato-Apple Salad, Ale Dressing
Greece
Greece
Lemon Pepper Tilapia Recipe with Greek Orzo Salad
St. Lucia
St. Lucia
Fresh Mango Salsa Tilapia Wraps
France
France
Herb Crusted Cod with Roasted Tomatoes & Artichokes
Bali
Bali
Coconut Crusted Tilapia with Gado Gado Salad & Peanut Sauce
Spain
Spain
Romesco Sauce with Grilled Vegetables
Baja
Baja
Fish Taco Recipe: Honey Chipotle Salmon Tacos with Pepper Slaw

SEARCH FOR A
SEA CUISINE® RECIPE

TRAVEL TIPS