Michelle Karr-Ueoka is up for a 2014 James Beard award as Outstanding Pastry Chef. Here's what to eat at her new spot, MW Restaurant, to experience her excellent take on Hawaiian cuisine.
'Hawaii' on Serious Eats
The claim to fame at Orchids is their Coconut Cake. It's legendary, and easily the best on the island of Oahu. But that's not all they do well—here are our 5 favorite sweets.
The concept of omiyage—bringing home gifts and souvenirs to friends and family after any trip or vacation—is deeply rooted in local Hawai'i tradition. We like our gifts to be of the edible variety, and that's what we give back in return. See ten of our picks in the slideshow!
Pastry Chef Ross Alaimo has been with the Mauna Kea for over two decades and is known for creating noteworthy sweets that place a quiet but ever present emphasis on the numerous local fruits and ingredients unique to Hawaii.
Light years from malasadas, shave ice, and all the sweets that are often associated with Hawaii, is Fendu Boulangerie. Tucked away in the residential neighborhood of Manoa Valley, it's one of the few places on the island that specializes in European-style breads, pastries, and sweets.
In Honolulu, if you're looking for sweets, you'll probably hear mention of La Palme D'Or. It's hidden on the back side of Ala Moana Shopping Center and is one of the best patisseries in town. Here's what you should eat there this summer.
The cheeseburger at the iconic Four Season's Hualalai is a bite of paradise that will remind you of what's good in life.
This recipe is a twist on the popular chocolate haupia cream pie popularized by Ted's Bakery on O'ahu's North Shore. Unlike the Ted's pie, this version whisks 72% cacao dark chocolate directly into the haupia and serves it up in a chocolate graham cracker crust.
Hawaiian Style Cafe turns out behemoth portions of authentic local cuisine. You might even be booking your trip after you see the sweet French Toast, pork omelet, Kalua Hash, and more for breakfast here.
Next time you're on Hawaii, the big island, rent a car and grab your buddy. This tour will take you from Kona's sunny coast down to the southernmost point in all 50 states (and the bakery situated there), around to the rainy side of the island (for comfort food, natch) and the city of Hilo, and up over the high hill-town of Waimea, before landing back down on the Kohala coast for some shave ice and beer.
If you live north of about Arizona, the weather this time of year is probably already tempting you to move to Hawaii. And, well, so is the food. Oahu is the mullet of dining destinations: buttoned-up and business-like in the city-centric south end and party in the north end, where the surfer culture supports a sea of shrimp trucks. And don't forget Spam musubi. And just Spam everything.
It's not just for tourists—Ala Moana is a main meeting point and shopping spot for many locals, myself included. To sweeten the deal, the food options at this shopping center will put any others to shame.
On a hillside in Maui, a former Boston culinary student turned organic coconut farmer is selling homemade vegan ice cream.
If the beautiful but bustling beaches of Waikiki leave you yearning for a little more local flavor, hop on the bus for a short ride out to Kapi'olani Community College. The Saturday Farmers' Market there is filled with local farmers hawking everything from live abalone to papayas to containers of taro hummus.
The frosting is what this cake is all about. The chef and owner, Gloria McMeans, gets the lilikoi, or passion fruit, fresh from her friend's garden. The fruit's bright, tart acidity and distinctive tropical sweetness give the frosting a delicious flavor that simply pops on your tongue.
Hawaiian food has developed from a wonderful mix of native and foreign cuisines. And that doesn't just apply to savory foods, but sweets as well. One must-stop spot to experience this sweet mix is Diamond Head Market & Bakery in Honolulu.
A vacation on the island of Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) presents something of a paradox for food lovers. If you have access to a kitchen or can afford resort dining it's a dream, but good low-end, hole-in-the-wall places are few and far between. And that goes for pizza, especially. With some help from Albert Grande of Pizzatherapy.com, I found Slice-worthy pies at Kona Brewing Co.
There are so many more than "just" ten sweets one must try when in Honolulu, my hometown. I think this list could easily be thirty or even forty long. But we'll start with ten—you must begin somewhere!
Unassuming, humble farmers' market pizzas in Honolulu are topped with homegrown tomatoes, fresh pesto, and homemade mozzarella. But these simple ingredients add up to one the most expensive pies I've ever sunk my teeth into.