Hawaii has a lot of ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurants and shops that you don’t hear about unless you have a connection with people who have lived here their entire lives. In Hawaii, these people are referred to as ‘locals’. Fortunately for my husband and I, we have been able to make friends with some very humble and giving locals who have shared some of Hawaii’s hidden secrets with us and now I want to share them with you. Be prepared to have these hidden gems awaken your taste buds and knock your socks off! These restaurants are real tongue teasers and will leave you begging for more.
The first restaurant I want to share with you is a handcrafted lemonade café called Wow Wow Lemonade. They are conveniently located in the heart of Wahiawa on your way to the North Shore- where professional surfers ride the waves at Pipeline, Waimea, and more. Their lemonade is made from fresh and local ingredients to support the ‘aina’ people on island (locals). They are also a green company and encourage the use of glass jars, which they sell and will refill at a lower cost when you return to their shop. My husband and I love their strawberry pina colada lemonade aka their ‘lava flow’.
The second restaurant I want to share with you is called MauiMike’s and happens to be located right across the street from Wow Wow Lemonade. They have the most amazing fire roasted chicken you will ever taste. They serve chicken that is fresh never frozen, and natural with nothing artificial. Our top two favorites are the Maui Wowie and the Shredded breast with rice. The only sauce worth trying is their honey mustard to go on top of your sandwiches and on the side. I highly recommend you ordering both and sharing with a friend or loved one!
The third restaurant I want to feature is a ramen noodle house called Goma Tei located in the Pearlridge mall. They have the most delicious spicy sesame broth and to die for gyoza; stuffed meat dumplings. I am not a big fan of meat, so I always order the number 4, which is a vegetable tan tan ramen bowl filled with bok choy, mushrooms, carrots, and more. If you like meat then you have to order a number 2, which is a char siu tan tan ramen.
Last but certainly not least on part one of my favorite restaurants is Hokulani bakeshop. Hokulani is located in the Pearlridge mall, just a few shops away from Goma Tei, so you can grab a bite to eat and then get dessert afterwards. Hokulani was featured on Cupcake Wars and they have some unique flavors that you can only find in Hawaii, like the Lilikoi with Lemon Cream Cheese, which is my personal favorite. If you like fresh fruit flavored desserts with a creamy accent, then this is the one to get! I can say with true certainty that their top 5-cupcake list is extremely accurate in reference to which cupcakes are the best. I have sampled all but one…the Classic Vanilla with Vanilla Butter Cream. I haven’t tried it because I feel I can get that flavor at almost any bakery that exists, so when I say to get one from their top 5-cupcake list, you have to trust me!