Why we’re still in love with Hawaii
The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is the first point of call for most Hawaiian vacations, but whether it’s your first visit or your fifth this year, there’s always something interesting to see, do, and eat.
Just beside downtown Honolulu, SALT at Our Kakaako is a vibrant city block packed with interesting bars, restaurants and shops. On the third Friday and Saturday of the month, it is also home to the Pa’akai Marketplace, which celebrates native Hawaiian arts and crafts with stalls and performances.
SALT is also the perfect place to start or end an afternoon checking out the street art from the international Pow! Wow! Hawaii festival. The festival takes place in February, but the street art can be seen all year.
Take part in a salt ritual at the Moana Lani Spa at the Moana Surfrider, where a traditional Lomi Lomi massage begins by holding a pretty bowl of salt and releasing all of your negative thoughts and energy into the minerals.
That evening, after having worked their magic on your muscles, your therapist takes your salt down to the beach and releases it into the ocean.
Those who are into that sort of thing can also enjoy a sunrise ritual with salt water on their skin.
A Ho’ala ceremony for the renewal of mind, body and spirit takes place on the beach in front of the Moana Surfrider just before dawn on Wednesday mornings.
Open to everyone and free of charge, the ceremony starts with traditional Hawaiian chants before people walk into the water in silence to immerse themselves and embrace a mindful and cleansing start to the day.
And those looking for a souvenir they can sprinkle on their food, can pop into any ABC Store for Hawaiian sea salt. Between the black lava, red clay and other colourful salts, they look good and can season your food when you get back home.
PICK A POKE
One of the best things to eat in Hawaii, this raw fish salad is found everywhere from top restaurants to service stations and liquor stores.
The Royal Hawaiian’s executive chef Colin Hazama says his favourite Honolulu poke spots include Ono Seafood and Fresh Catch and, when it comes to poke, fresh is best. “Fresh poke will be smooth to the palate and firm to the touch,” he says. “Frozen fish has a grittier texture.”
And while most people think of Ahi (yellowfin tuna) when they think poke, you can also try salmon, shrimp, scallop and other seafood varieties.
Honolulu’s dining scene is going from strength to strength with old favourites being joined by hot new restaurants.
One of the most highly anticipated openings of the past year, Senia in Chinatown brings together chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush who met working at the three Michelin starred Per Se in New York.
Senia’s mix of fine dining and local food is not only memorable, it won’t break the bank – you can have dinner and dessert for around $60.
Next door, The Pig and the Lady remains a favourite with Honolulu foodies and, last October, executive chef Andrew Le opened another restaurant, Piggy Smalls at Ward Village, where it’s easy to believe the It’s All Good pink neon sign as you tuck into fresh Vietnamese fusion food.
Meanwhile, at Chef Chai you can not only dine on dishes by one of Hawaii’s best regional chefs, Chai Chaowasaree, on full moons you can be serenaded by Robert Cazimero.
As one of the Brothers Cazimero, Robert played a special part in the resurgence of Hawaiian music in the 1970s and hearing him share Hawaiian classics and put special spins on songs such as Rainbow
Connection makes for an unforgettable night.
POKE, A RAW FISH SALAD, IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS TO EAT IN HAWAII AND IS FOUND EVERYWHERE