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Boiled Peanuts in Hawaii

Boiled peanuts in Hawaii.

Boiled peanuts in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Sharon Maeda.

Why Boiled Peanuts in Hawaii Are So Popular

Most long time Hawaii residents won’t think twice about it. But whenever tailgating or barbequeing, there’s hardly a time where you won’t find this pupus (i.e., appetizer). And this pupu is the boiled peanut. For most visitors, they won’t know what boiled peanuts really taste like. But when they do, it is almost a certainty that they will definitely like them. It’s safe to say that boiled peanuts and their succulent flavor are a part of the everyday comfort foods in the Aloha State. This is the story of boiled peanuts in Hawaii.

Boiled Peanut Nostalgia

Most people believe the first Chinese immigrants introduced boiled peanuts into Hawaii. Many older local residents also fondly recall the days of the old termite-infested Honolulu Stadium in Moili’ili. This was where street vendors would sell boiled peanuts. They were one of the things you must eat when watching a high school football game in the beloved “Termite Palace.”  After the games, you would see the stadium stands and the areas beneath them littered with thousands of empty peanut shells. It was, without a doubt, an essential part of the ambiance and experience of attending footballs games there.

Where to Get Them

But for some reason, boiled peanuts have not gained the same type of recognition as other pupus in the Aloha State. Most of the attention has gone to the Hawaiian appetizer, poke . This is raw tuna chunks that people mix with seasoning, local seaweed and Maui onions. But despite its lack of recognition outside of Hawaii, you’ll find places selling boiled peanuts almost everywhere. This includes local supermarkets and mom and pops stores. However, most people will tell you find the best boiled peanuts are in places that specialize in them. These would be places such as Alicia’s Market in Kalihi, Fort Ruger Market in Kaimuki, Chris’ Peanut Shop in Waimalu and Waipahu. There’re also Marujyu Market in Pearl City and Ono Seafood in Kapahulu and more.

How to Make Them

Actually, boiled peanuts are relatively simple to make. Basically, all you need is some raw, unshelled peanuts. You wash them thoroughly. Allow them to soak for a while. Then boil them in water with Hawaiian sea salt, star anise and other spices for at least an hour. While the ingredients may be the same, the skill of putting these simple items together is the key. Additionally, you never know what secrets and techniques that professionals are employing to make their boiled peanuts stand out again the competition. So you just might be better off, time and taste-wise, going down to a store that specializes in boiled peanuts whenever you plan to try them in the Aloha State.

Big Island Beaches

Big Island beaches.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach.

Big Island Beaches – Quality Not Quantity

When people think of  Hawaii, they imagine beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. But it’s ironic that the island with the same name as the state does not have an abundance of beaches. This is because the Big Island is the youngest of all the Hawaiian Islands. And it’s still growing due to constant volcanic activity. As a result, the remains of volcanic lava flows still make up much of the island’s coastlines. But there are still a number of beautiful Big Island beaches. Below are just some of them. A number of Big Island beaches may be fronted by private hotel properties. Nevertheless, all beaches in the state of Hawaii are open to the public.

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the Big Island. You can find it just  south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It’s not that great a place to swim. But it’s one of the best places to see the rare honu or Hawaiian green sea turtles on the shore.

Hapuna Beach

This is the largest white sand beach on the Big Island. This famous beach is next to the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. There are ample parking, restroom and picnic facilities nearby.

Big Island beaches.

Hapuna Beach.

Anaeho’omalu Beach

This stretch of beach on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island is next to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott. The beach is very popular among locals and tourist alike. Here, you can rent kayaks, water bikes and body boards. It’s also a good location to snorkel, scuba dive or sunbathe. There are ample parking, picnic facilities and restrooms at this beach.

Kaunaoa Beach

This is a crescent shaped beach of pure white sand fronting beautiful sand calm waters.  Many feel that might be one of the best beaches in the entire state, if not in the entire United States. The beach stands in front of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The area only has limited public parking spaces. So you’ll need to arrive early to get one of these few spaces.

Kaunaoa Beach.

La’aloa Beach

People know this beach as Disappearing Sands. It’s one of the few white sand beaches in the Kona area of the Big Island. This popular beach has gotten its name because its sands occasionally disappears because of tidal shifts or strong surf. But the sands always return.

Onekahakaha Beach Park

This place is not really a beach. But it’s still a good place to swim in its small, shallow sand-bottomed tidal pool. You can find it near the Hilo Airport. It’s a favorite among locals and one the safest swimming areas along the coastline. It also comes with great views of Hilo Bay.

Exotic Fruits of Hawaii

Exotic fruits of Hawaii

Exotic fruits of Hawaii on display.

When you think of the Aloha State, many think about the exotic fruits of Hawaii and the foods you can eat. Almost everyone knows you can enjoy coconuts, pineapples, guavas, mangoes and papayas in the Aloha State.

Examples of the Exotic Fruits of Hawaii

But there are actually even more exotic fruits of Hawaii than those. For example, many aren’t aware of an oval fruit with five distinctive ridges resembling a star. Quite naturally, people call it a starfruit. Others know it as the carambola. In addition to Hawaii, you can find it in areas like the Philippines, Indonesia, Tahiti, Guam as well as in South America and the Caribbean. It has a waxy exterior and turns yellow when ripe and has a juicy semi-sweet tart taste.

Mountain apple, one of the exotic fruits of Hawaii

Mountain apples.

The Mountain Apple

Another local delicacy is the mountain apple. While red in color, it’s really not an apple and it doesn’t really look like an apple. In other places, people call it a Malay rose apple. The Hawaiian name for this fruit, of the syzygium family of flowering trees, is ōhiʻa ʻai. The fruit is referred to as a canoe plant because it was originally brought by the ancient Polynesians who originally sailed to Hawaii by canoe. Unlike regular apples, it does not have a crunchy feel when you bite into it. Instead, it has a softer, but still very succulent sweet taste.

Breadfruit tree.


The Breadfruit

There is also the breadfruit. People call it that because, in Polynesia and other tropical climates throughout the world, they eat like a staple. Polynesians eat breadfruit like Europeans eat bread and Asians eat rice. The breadfruit grows on a tree from the mulberry family and one can find it throughout Asia and the Pacific. And like bread, you will have to bake the breadfruit in order to really enjoy it.

The Apple Banana

One of the local favorites is the apple banana. Yes, you can get bananas practically anywhere. But you can’t get apple bananas everywhere. Farmers grow apple bananas in many places in Hawaii. Once you see and eat it, you’ll immediately see the difference. The apple banana is shorter and has a more tart like taste than a regular banana. Most locals prefer the taste of the apple banana over the regular banana. You might too.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to find these exotic fruits of Hawaii at the larger local supermarket chains. Your best bet is to find them at the many local farmers market throughout the state.

Homestyle Cooking in Hawaii

Homestyle cooking in Hawaii.

The Manago Hotel and Restaurant.

Hawaii has more than its share of places where you can get great homestyle cooking. Of course, each island has its own version of mom and pop restaurants. Here, many generations of local families have savored their favorite style of home style cooking. Food and travel inevitably always go hand-in-hand. So there is no better way to learn about different cultures than by partaking of their foods. This would be  especially of the type of dishes that they grew up with. Here is just a sampling of places you can get great homestyle cooking in Hawaii.

Homestyle Cooking in Hawaii Island

On the Big Island of Hawaii, there is the sleepy little town of Captain Cook. Here, you can find a casual restaurant at the Manago Hotel. It may be one of the most iconic mom and pop places to eat in the entire Hawaiian Islands chain. Nearly a hundred years old, the restaurant takes you back in time. This is because it truly has the look and feel of the old coffee plantation days. The food is simple, reasonably priced and literally tastes like how your mom used to cook it. We recommend you try their pork chop as it is one of the favorites among local residents.

Kauai Homestyle Cooking

On the Garden Isle of Kauai, a popular places for breakfast has been the Tip Top Motel Café & Bakery. As noted in its name, the restaurant is a part of a motel that also has a bakery. While the restaurant has the ambiance of a small cafeteria, the food definitely won’t look or taste like that. As an example, your typical cafeteria won’t serve dishes like banana macadamia nut pancake, oxtail soup, saimin or loco moco. But you can certainly get them as signature dishes at Lihue’s Tip Top Café Motel & Bakery.

Homestyle Cooking on Oahu

One of Hawaii’s most beloved comfort food is saimin. Saimin is Hawaii’s own special version of Japanese ramen. For the uninitiated, saimin looks like ramen. But people in Hawaii will tell you that it definitely doesn’t taste like it. One of the best places to get saimin in its most classic and purest form is at Palace Saimin. You’ll find it in the Kalihi area of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. All they serve here is saimin along with its traditional accompaniments, such as won ton and barbeque sticks. Fortunately, in the opinion of many people in Hawaii, they do it quite well.

Maui Homestyle Cooking

One can find Sam Sato’s in the quiet and unassuming town of Wailuku on Maui. It has been regularly serving comfort food to many generations in the local community. At this long time island landmark, you can get a wide range of local style foods. Examples include plate lunches, saimin and manju, a Japanese style pastry with sweet bean filling. But come early as the restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch. Perhaps, the most popular dish at Sam Sato’s is their dry mein. This dish comes with fried noodles, char siu pork, bean sprouts, green onions, broth and Sam Sato’s famous seasoning.

Want to visit any one of these restaurants offering homestyle cooking in Hawaii? Need deals on Hawaii interisland flights and packages to travel to these places? If so, check out this website for some of the most competitive rates anyone can find on the Internet.

Celebrating New Year in Hawaii

Celebrating New Year in Hawaii

Exploding fireworks during New Year’s Eve in Hawaii.

Why Celebrating New Year in Hawaii is Unique

Hawaii celebrates the New Year in a way uniquely different from the rest of the country. More so than the rest of the US, Hawaii’s population is much more culturally diverse. It’s heavily impacted by Asia-Pacific influences. This is not surprising considering its geographic location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In particular, Chinese and Japanese traditions have shaped how Hawaii residents celebrate the arrival of the New Year. Here are ways for celebrating New Year in Hawaii.

How Hawaii Celebrates

In past years, any newcomer to Hawaii would be surprised over the tremendous amount of fireworks on display in Hawaii, particularly on the main island of Oahu. More so than anything else this is what made celebrating New Year in Hawaii so different. Many individuals would ignite their fireworks on private properties. But because this created fire hazards and smoke, fireworks have been virtually banned in Hawaii. Now people can only explode very small amounts. Honoring longstanding Chinese traditions, people still ignite modest amounts of fireworks to ward off evil spirits for the oncoming year.

New Year Parties and Foods

As in everywhere, there will be parties galore in Hawaii to celebrate the New Year. The star of such parties will always be the foods that families generously dispense. You definitely won’t get those get itty bitty hors d’oeuvre and canapés here. And if you served them, you probably won’t get anybody coming to your next New Year’s party. Hawaii residents like their food and lots of it.

As with many things, what distinguishes Hawaii’s New Year party food is its diversity. Serving sashimi or slices of prime raw yellow fin tuna is a New Year’s party staple. Most serve it on a bed of minced lettuce or cabbage, with a horse radish and soy sauce dip. Once the clock hits midnight on the New Year, it’s a Chinese tradition to eat jook. This is a rice porridge garnished with slices of chicken, preserved duck eggs and pickles. While on the day of January 1st, it’s a Japanese tradition to serve the traditional soup of ozoni. It’s a homey chicken broth with a sticky, but sumptuous, mochi or rice dumpling in it. Consuming of such ethnic comfort foods helps to ensure good fortune for the oncoming year. But being in Hawaii during this most festive time of the year, shows you’ve already had some good fortune, right?

Staying at Hawaii Resorts

Hawaii Resorts

View of Waikiki resorts.

When planning  vacations, some may consider the advantages of staying at Hawaii resorts versus staying at hotels. But what are the fundamental differences between staying at resorts as compared to staying at hotels? Are there difference and advantages? This tries to explain them as well as how they can benefit you, the potential traveler to Hawaii.

Differences between Resorts and Hotels

Generally speaking, a resort offers more things to do within the confines of its property as opposed to a hotel. These things includes:  spa, pools, restaurants, activities, tours, shops, services and more. The overall idea behind a resort is that you will be spending more time on the property than at a hotel. As a result, resorts tend to be larger and more complete properties. And because they typically offer more amenities and services, may be somewhat more expensive than hotels.

Options for Hawaii Resorts

The Aloha State has many options for Hawaii resorts as it does for hotels. One of the largest of them is located within the Waikiki area, the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It comes with a large complex of shops, restaurants, banquet, meeting room facilities. Recently, Disney has established itself in west Oahu in the form of the Disney Aulani Resort & Spa. The same is true for resorts on the other major Hawaiian Islands. Resort hotels, such as Hyatt, Marriott, Four Seasons and other major brands can be found in the Ka’anapali, Wailea and Kapalua areas on Maui. On Kauai, resort hotels from comparable brands can be found in the Hanalei and Poipu areas. On the Big Island popular resorts can be found along the Kohala and Kona coasts.

Hawaii resorts.

View of hotels along Ka’anapali Beach on Maui.

Why Should You Choose a Resort over a Hotel?

Perhaps if you plan to stay in single location, staying at a resort might be an ideal way to spend your Hawaii vacation. Stay at a resort that has it all, beaches, spas, golf course, restaurants and most everything you want out of your vacation. Why go to anywhere else?  But if you’re planning to be out on the road a lot visiting all that Hawaii has to see, maybe a hotel would be a better place for you. But whether you choose a resort or a hotel, our Hawaii Interisland Flights website has a wide range of options for you.

Manapua, Hawaii’s Dim Sum

Hawaii's Dim Sum

An example of Hawaii’s dim sum, manapua.

Manapua, Hawaii’s Dim Sum

What’s manapua? Well it’s Hawaii’s dim sum. Manapua tastes somewhat like Chinese dim sum. But it has a somewhat different taste. To some it’s a meatier and fuller version of Chinese dim sum. People in Hawaii also serve it in a manner quite different from traditional Chinese dim sum.

Typically, manapua is a steamed pork-filled bun. If we were in China, some would generally refer to it as char sui bao. But manapua could also include other types of dim sum dishes. In Hawaii, this would include pork hash (sui mai), pepeiao (fun guo), half moon (gok jai) as well as rice cake (bak tongoh).

Manapua Nostalgia

Older residents of Hawaii can remember the days when the friendly neighborhood manapua man would come by your house. He would carry two large metal cans, each balanced on the ends of a long wooden pole. The manapua man would carry the stick on the backside of his neck. Those were the days. The iconic manapua man would walk down your street. He would shout out the words, “manapua, pepeiao, manapua pepeiao!” This would always get your attention. After this, he would you sell you fresh manapua that was still warm from his covered metal cans.

Unfortunately today, the colorful manapua man no longer sells manapua. But you can still get manapua at various mom and pop establishments throughout the state. Hawaii’s dim sum, manapua, remains a favorite among local people. Many office workers buy them for meetings and breakfasts similar to how people buy doughnuts on the mainland. Char Hung Sut and Royal Kitchen are some of the more popular manapua places in downtown Honolulu. There’s also Libby’s in the Kalihi area of Honolulu. We encourage you to try them for an early morning treat in the Aloha State.

Koa, Wood of Hawaiian Monarchs

koa wood

Clock and wooden nene geese made from koa wood.

The Uniqueness of Hawaiian Koa Wood

Acacia koa is one of the most prized woods in the world. But people in Hawaii more simply know it as koa. It naturally grows nowhere else in the word except in Hawaii. The ancient Hawaiians used this fine medium density hardwood to build canoes, paddles, spears and surfboards. Koa wood quality is somewhat similar to black walnut.  At one time, the wood was so sought after, it was known as the wood of kings. Additionally, craftsmen valued the wood for its shining luster after they finish and polish it. Today, people also prize koa wood for use in ornate woodworking as well as in very high end furniture. As a tonewood, craftsmen also use koa for making ukuleles.

Where to Find Koa Today

One can find the best koa wood today on the Big Island of Hawaii. They typically grow at higher elevations between 2,500 to 6,000 feet above sea level. However, this was the same elevation where there were many cattle ranches. As a result, ranchers cleared many of the koa forests when they started ranching operations the area. Additionally, what makes this tree harder to grow is that cattle like to eat the seed pods from this tree. Feral animals such as wild boars also like them. These factors make it even harder for the trees to reproduce.

Restoration Efforts

Today, Federal, state and private agencies are making an effort to restore the koa forests in Hawaii. They are planting new trees for both commercial and conservation purposes. This is good new for a number of reasons. Those that love the beauty of Hawaii’s forests will certainly appreciate this. Also, those that admire the beauty and the art that people can create from koa trees will also be grateful.

Hawaii Time Zone Difference

There is a 2 to 3 hour Hawaii time zone difference with the mainland west coast.Hawaii Time Zone Difference

Many often inquire about the Hawaii time zone difference compared to where they are right now. Let’s say you’re living on the US mainland.  During Daylight Savings Time, there is a 3 to 6 hour time difference between Hawaii and the US mainland. This is the period from the second Sunday in March to first Sunday in November of each year. Compared to the US mainland, Hawaii Standard Time (HST) is:

  • 3 hours behind Pacific Daylight Time,
  • 4 hours behind Mountain Daylight Time,
  • 5 hours behind Central Daylight Time and
  • 6 hours behind Eastern Daylight Time.

During Standard Time, the respective time zone differences would be one hour less.

Time to Travel from the US Mainland

If you’re traveling from the US mainland to Hawaii, while the trip could be as long as 10 to 12 hours depending on the number of layovers you have, some of that time could virtually be made up since you will be “gaining” time by flying westward. For example, if you flew from Denver to Honolulu departing at 8:00 am on a 7 hour direct flight, you would be arriving in Honolulu at around 12:00 noon, just in time to get a nice lunch at Honolulu International Airport when you land.

Time Zone Differences Between Hawaii and Other Countries

The time zone differences between Hawaii, Asia and some Pacific Basin nations are even larger because such countries are a day ahead. Japan and South Korea are 19 hours ahead of Hawaii; while China and the Philippines are 18 hours ahead. Sydney, Australia is 21 hours ahead of Hawaii; while New Zealand is 23 hours ahead of Hawaii.

It’s a Long Journey, But It’s Worth It

The island paradise of Hawaii is known to be the most remote location anywhere in the world. Traveling to Hawaii involves, for most people, flying over long distances and moving through multiple time zones. But for virtually all who visit the Alohas State, the long journey is certainly worth the effort.

Multi Inter Island Travel in Hawaii

Landing in Honolulu one of the places to visit on your multi inter island travel in Hawaii.

Landing in Honolulu on an inter island flight.

Many say that no trip to Hawaii is complete unless you’ve seen more than one island. Such a trip could include visits to Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Big Island of Hawaii. Each island offers its own unique attractions whether they are mountains, coastlines, restaurants, foods, lifestyles, culture and more. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to plan your upcoming multi inter island travel in Hawaii.

Multi Inter Island Travel in Hawaii by Air

The easiest way to travel from one island to another is through a carrier that offer Hawaii interisland flights. Such carriers include Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air and Mokulele Airlines.  All offer daily scheduled flights. Hawaiian Airlines offers inter island flights to all of the major Hawaiian Islands on an all jet fleet. In addition, Hawaiian Airline offers regularly scheduled flights from US mainland and a number of international points. Island Air offers twin engine turboprop service between Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii. Mokulele offers single engine turboprop services to all the islands including smaller airports not served by the other carriers. This includes areas like Hana, Kapalua and Kamuela.

Most inter island flight are very short in duration and the longest flight is only about an hour. All of the carriers offer numerous daily fights throughout the day. So not only are the flights short in duration. But you also have a lot of options for when you want to schedule them. Additionally, the flights are not that expensive and can be as low as $70 one way.

One benefit of using Hawaiian Airlines or Island Air is that you can book multi island packages on one itinerary. On the other hand, most other carriers or other online travel websites will require you to book a totally new itinerary for a multi island vacation package leg. Or you will have to separately book the interisland leg directly with the interisland carrier. This website also allows travelers to book multi-island flights and vacation packages on one itinerary. Furthermore, the same is true for any website owned and operated by Panda Travel ®.

Multi Inter Island Travel in Hawaii by Sea

There are only two passenger ferry boat operators in Hawaii. One carrier, Expeditions, provides daily service between Lahaina, Maui and Manale Harbor on Lanai. While the other carrier, Sea Link of Hawaii, provides service 4 times a week between Lahaina, Maui and Kaunakakai, Molokai.