The Pig & The Lady – Honolulu

The Pig & The Lady - Honolulu

Our final meal in Honolulu turned out to be my favorite of the entire trip. From start to finish, The Pig & the Lady impressed us with its fun, fearless, and thoroughly delectable Southeast Asian-inspired fare.

The Pig & The Lady - Honolulu

Chef Andrew Le and his mother, Loan “Mama Le” Le, initially launched The Pig & The Lady as a pop-up restaurant and farmers market stand before finding a permanent home in Honolulu’s Chinatown. While Chef Le trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Mama Le is strictly self-taught. When the two collaborate in the kitchen, pure deliciousness happens.

The Pig & The Lady - Honolulu

The restaurant’s porcine theme is echoed throughout the space, from the napkin holders to the menu. The wet snouts and curly tails set a playful tone all around.

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Helena’s Hawaiian Food – Honolulu

Helena's Hawaiian Food - Honolulu

For traditional Hawaiian fare prepared with homey flair, The Astronomer, Luscious, and I lunched at Honolulu institution Helena’s Hawaiian Food.

Opened in 1946 by Helen Chock, this unassuming spot was the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Regional Classic Award back in 2000 for its “quality food, local character, and lasting appeal.” It was easily one of my favorite meals from the trip.

Helena's Hawaiian Food - Honolulu

Helen’s grandson Craig Katsuyoshi currently runs the restaurant, and judging from the weekday crowds, he’s doing a tremendous job. The wait for a table was fierce at this nearly-70-year-old spot.

Helena's Hawaiian Food - Honolulu

The menu here is really quite something, offering a delicious crash course in Hawaiian food history. Upon perusing the bill of fare, we three decided to order one of everything (almost), using Jonathan Gold and Roy Choi‘s spread as our guide.

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Honolulu Sweets: Shave Ice, Fancy Cakes, Cream Puffs and more!

Shimazu Store - Honolulu

Between me and Luscious, it’s hard to say who has the bigger sweet tooth. One of my fondest memories of my girlfriend’s insatiable capacity for desserts was when she visited me in Philadelphia back in 2007. Even though it was the middle of winter, she couldn’t go a day without three scoops of gelato from Capogiro. Once, she even visited the store four times in a 12-hour period! Truly, I’d never been prouder to call her my friend.

Needless to say, when we get together, every dessert in our line of sight gets mauled—neither a crumb is left on the plate nor snow left in the cone. While in Honolulu, she took us on a tour of her favorite sweets shacks—here’s what we stuffed down our gullets:

Shimazu Store - Honolulu

There is a lot of shave ice to be savored in the Land of Aloha, but no one piles it quite as high as the folks who run Shimazu Store.

Shimazu Store

Larger portions means more surface area for sugary syrupy action! The Astronomer and I shared one drizzled with coconut, passion fruit, and my favorite, li hing, while Luscious went for soursop and lychee. As hefty as they were, we polished these off without any trouble.

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North Shore Grindz: Shave Ice, Chocolate-Coconut Cream Pie & Huli-Huli Chicken Edition

Matsumoto Shave Ice - Haleiwa, HI | North Shore

In addition to eating our weight in garlicky shrimp while on Oahu’s North Shore, The Astronomer, Luscious, and I also dug into two sweets and an additional savory: shave ice at Matsumoto, cream pie at Ted’s Bakery, and local-style rotisserie chicken at Ray’s. All three are highly recommended if you ever find yourself in these here beautiful parts.

Matsumoto Shave Ice - Haleiwa, HI | North Shore

When Mamoru Matsumoto first opened M. Matsumoto Grocery Store back in 1951, he peddled wares on a bicycle, while his wife Helen managed the store. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1960s that the Matsumotos began operating a shave ice stand within the store. Today, the couple’s son Stanley and his wife, Noriko, own and operate the business.

Matsumoto Shave Ice

On sunny days, the store sells up to 1,000 shave ice, according to Matsumoto’s website. With over 40 homemade syrups, as well as ice cream and azuki beans to complement it all, the combinations here are sticky, sugary, and seemingly endless.

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