In Hawai’i, there’s no person I enjoy eating with more than my mom. I’ve mentioned her numerous times in past posts, but you have no idea how much fun she is to eat with. Yesterday, over a morning meal of local papayas and avocados, she asked, “what should we have for lunch?”
Ideas were bounced back and forth, a proper meal at Mariposa, pho in Chinatown, or a lunch of sweets from various bakeries. Nothing seemed appealing enough, till mom suggested “how about a little of everything from everywhere?”
Why, that sounds lovely!
So we drove around town, to old favourites, and new shops, turning “lunch” into a four-hour affair. You see why mom is so awesome?
First stop: Mana Bu’s. I first read about this relatively new musubi shop (or “musubi temple” as some friends refer to it) in the Star Bulletin back in August.
The simple and clean aesthetics of the shop is unusually refreshing. An impressive variety of musubis are lined along the shelves, each with its own “name card” indicating the ingredients and their origin. Such a concept might not be new in, say, NYC, but it’s a first for Hawai’i :)
Mom is a frequent customer, and a very loyal consumer of the Sekihan Okowa. This musubi is made from a mix of Hakubai sweet rice, and Tamanishiki rice, with local sea salt, red bean, and black sesame seeds.
We picked up a few of those, and one of the “10 Grains – Spicy Ahi” musubi. Prices are more than reasonable, with the musubis averaging $1.50 and desserts $2.00.
They were sold out of most sweets, including the strawberry mochi I’ve heard so much about. But oh well, that’s simply another reason to make a return trip!
We ate the musubis in the car, on the way to my favourite Korean plate lunch spot, Palama Market. Yummy’s used to be our family go-to place for Korean takeout, but since Palama Market opened up a few years back, we’ve taken our business here. Better food, lower prices, what more could you ask for? My dad loves the Korean fried chicken, and I’m a fan of the fish jun, but somehow my mom managed to convert us all over to the Bi Bim Kook Soo, which we now order 90% of the time.
Cold slippery somen noodles, a little sweet, a touch vinegary, and lot spicy. This is the one dish I should have been eating throughout the hot NYC summer. With one eye on the noodles, I couldn’t help but keep the other eye on some pancake flipping action at the counter just a few feet away from the table.
It was a husband and wife operation. The wife would pull sticky, borderline slimy, dough from a big plastic bowl, form it into a ball, make a dent and pour in a spoonful of a powdery substance. Then she rolled it back into a ball, and plopped it onto a well greased griddle.
The husband took over from there, browning both sides and taking orders from a soon to be gradual line up of customers.
My mom caught me looking and commented, “ooo, that looks good. Should we get? Let’s get it.” Always the obedient daughter, I walked up and returned with a single griddled ho duk. Success!
I was a bit too eager, and burnt my tongue and finger, upon biting into the hot ho duk. The mochi esque exterior breaks into this marvelously hot syrupy filling of honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and toasted sesame seeds. SO DELICIOUS. Life is good when you have dessert :)
Soon afterwards, we took a stroll inside the market, picking up various groceries and ingredients for dad’s oxtail soup (post to come :) At the entrance to the market were two ladies handing out samples of “Magic Rice Pop.” Every thirty seconds or so, a loud ::POP:: would go off, and a single rice cake would fly out of the metal contraption and into a plastic bin. I swear, it was mesmerizing to watch.
We bought a fifteen pack for $2.99 – a pretty nice deal. The crackers are made from a slightly sweetened (just a tiny, tiny bit!) flour mix of corn, rice, wheat, barley, and millet. They’re a bit boring at first. And then they grow on you. And before you realize it, you dip your hand into the bag, and (shamefully) realize that the entire bag is gone.
Next we headed to Nisshodo Mochiya in Kalihi for some post-dessert, dessert. It was mom’s idea. My sweet tooth didn’t stem out of nowhere ;)
I’ve been back for four days, and have gone to Nisshodo three times. I’ve been suffering from mochi deprivation on the east coast. What we desperately need in NYC is not another overpriced tapas bar, or underground cocktail spot, but a MOCHI HAVEN. Is that really so much to ask for?
As usual, I could not decide what to have, so took the most efficient route and ordered one of every mochi left in stock for the day…
…and then a half pound of kinako dusted Chi Chi Dango for my sister. Never hurts to have extra ^_^
Let’s break the mochi down, shall we?
Tsunami Mochi – Lima Bean Filling
Peanut Butter Mochi
I sadly cannot recall the name of this one – but it’s filled with azuki beans.
This last one isn’t a mochi creation, but curiousity got the best of me and I didn’t want to pass it up. A thin sugar dusted cake with soft sakura jelly – very, very lovely, but in the end, I’d pick mochi over this any day.
It’s been busier than expected on this “relaxing” vacation. But it’s the good sort of busy. Plenty of family time, hanging out with old friends, and meeting great new ones. The rain has lightened up, I managed to drive without any major accident, had a fantastic dinner with Ross at Amuse just this evening, and am lunching with my favourite Punahou home ec teacher tomorrow.
It’s a wonderful week indeed.
1618 King St
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813
1670 Makaloa Street
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96814
1095 Dillingham Blvd Ste I5
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96817