LET THE SUN­SHINE IN

Sun, surf, sand and shop­ping – Honolulu has it all

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - COVER STORY - AMANDA WOODS

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.

GET SALTY

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.

DIN­ING OUT

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

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