The International Market Place provides plenty of goods to buy and goods to eat, but there was one meal in particular we wanted to try. It’s called Puka Dog — it’s like a hot dog, but the fluffy bun is toasted on the inside and is actually wrapped around the hot dog and filled with your choice of sauces. Fluffy, toasty, salty goodness. They outline ordering instructions pretty clearly, so don’t be intimidated! We really enjoyed the lilikoi sauce.
After taking some time at the Market Place, we walked back to our hotel when it started to rain a bit. Hawaiian rain isn’t bad at all. It’s just like any other tropical rain, but it could put a damper on plans when it gets heavy as I’ll note later. Regardless, it didn’t stop us from grabbing our first pina coladas of the trip!
The next day, we walked by Ono Cheese Steak which somehow intrigued us. We walked in to have some sandwiches, but as good as it was, there wasn’t really any solid Hawaiian flair here. If you’re craving a cheesesteak, it’s not a half bad spot to go to.
After this, we took a walk along the Waikiki beach shoreline and just soaked in the view. The water is so clear… we were tempted to just dive in. Waikiki is where the city folk are and also a bulk of tourists. If you prefer less of a tourist destination, I’d suggest driving out or staying in North Shore where it’s a bit more quiet and rural.
That evening, we found ourselves at Giovanni’s Pastrami where the bride and groom had arranged a private party area for us to catch the Pacquiao fight. Can’t miss this even when we’re on vacation! The service was great and so was being able to have an entire area for us to catch the big show.
A little down, but still happily on vacation, we got dressed to hang out with family then went to lunch at Side Street Inn for Mother’s Day. Let me tell you… DELICIOUS. We found out about this place thanks to an Anthony Bourdain show, and it really did not let us down. Order their special fried rice and the fried pork chops. You won’t regret it. We still dream of the fried rice as it had the ability to tickle every single tastebud on our tongues. Yup, my mouth is watering.
The rest of the day was spent at the beach soaking up some of that Vitamin D that peaked through the clouds for a good chunk of time. Yes, pina colada included. So necessary.
Any other free time we had, we spent leisurely strolling the streets and eating goodies like Spam Musubi found at the local ABC Store. Leisure time is definitely key to an island vacation, and we definitely took advantage of it when we could.
We definitely did a lot of eating on this vacation, but there is still one more spot I have to note. This spot was KOA Avenue which was located right behind our hotel. They served $5 classic Hawaiian dishes such as the loco moco and Portuguese sausage with rice and eggs. We went here for breakfast practically every day, not only for the amazing deal, but also for the very Hawaiian family feel. It’s a small shop that made us feel more like we were visiting an island than a city. Being from Los Angeles, it’s nice to catch a break.
Also, one of the best souvenirs you can take home are some Honolulu Hawaiian Cookies. Absolutely delicious shortbread cookies that also come in different flavors and chocolate-dipped! They’re my go-to souvenirs to bring home, and my go-to souvenirs to ask for whenever family travels there (and they offer, of course :).