After a long exhausting day in Hilo, we quickly descended upon Honolulu. Frankly this is the island where we were warned that there would be too much to see and not enough time to do it. Of all the ports I had focused on Oahu with most of my planning. What a beautiful morning, as we sailed into Honolulu the skies were clear and with 16 hours I felt we were going to nail that list..... How wrong I was
After dealing with the insane rush off the ship we hoped things would be better as the long day would allow people to stagger off the ship, thankfully that was the case and by 10 after 7 we were on our way to our rental car. Our plans today included the following
Hike the Diamond Head before 9am (see the first picture)
- Leonard's Bakery for malasadas
- Shrimp from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck up on the North Shore
- Visit the Iolani Palace
- Pali Lookout
Queen Emma Summer Palace
- King Kamehameha Statue
- Turtle Bay Resort (we were told since were going to be up on the North Shore we should try)
- Matsumoto Shaved Ice (Last minute addition)
- Costco (after being told not to buy things from the Mauna Loa Factory we had to hit Costco to get snacks and what nots)
After getting lost in traffic and stuck in gridlock we managed to make it to the Diamond Head at around 8:30 am and there was a 15 min+ wait to get into the full lot in order to somehow get a parking spot. Not cool at all so we decided to skip the hike.
On the way down the Diamond Head we decided to head to Leonard's Bakery to get some malasada's. Malasada's are yeast based dough balls where at Leonard's Bakery they are fried in Coconut Oil and judging by the time it took to get them they must have been made to order.
By my count it was approximately 40 minutes to line up before you could walk back out.
At Leonard's the Malasada's are available in both a "filled" and a non filled version.
I ordered a half dozen of the following varieties
- Chocolate filling (Tasted Like Nutella, was very very yummy)
- Custard (Like a Boston Cream Doughnut, was also very yummy)
- Mango (Flavour of the month, was told it tasted like artificial flavouring, yet someone at dinner mentioned that they enjoyed it)
- Haupia (Coconut) - Had this a day later and the filling had went south after sitting out overnight
- No filling cinnamon flavoured - Went bad as the Haupia cream contaminated this some 30 hours after being made
- No filling icing sugar flavoured - Went bad as the Haupia cream contaminated this some 30 hours after being made
All in all generally speaking the Malasada's were scrumptious, although Charlie says they remind her of the mini doughnuts from the PNE and didn't really interest her. Overall I would stop by Leonard's Bakery again if the lineup was not 30 + mins. I would rate the overall Leonard's Bakery experience as a 8/10, they were good but not worth waiting that long. Although it was sunny out the wind was really blowing and Charlie had to resort to a sweater to stay warm.
Beautiful view from the Pali Lookout, granted it was very very windy up there but absolutely gorgeous.
What a wonderful road it was to drive up on the North Shore, granted an accident could back traffic up for hours!
At long last Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, this location is no longer a roving food truck but a permanent fixture with seating and coverings in place.
They have 3 types of shrimp we decided to split a plate and ordered the shrimp scampi, the aroma while we were waiting was absolutely amazing.
One dozen shell on shrimp cooked in that garlic sauce, I am not a seafood person and I easily polished off six of these shrimp. In Vancouver we are blessed with fine seafood and it is equivalent to that, if you reside in a part of a world where high quality fresh seafood is not available you would be all over this. I would rate this a 9/10 and would order again if I was in the area. We passed numerous stalls offering up fresh shrimp, fish and fruit as well.
One of the roadside fruit vendors, no 6 papayas for a dollar like in the Hilo Farmer's Market, so we passed.
One of the many beaches that cover the island, the sand was warm and the water was clear.
Our third culinary stop for the day was Matsumoto's Shaved ice. I've had shave iced before in Singapore and normally shave ice is shave ice. This was a last minute addition to the schedule as we were in the area.
About a 10 minute wait in-line to get into the store and order your shaved ice dessert. It was mighty warm outside and you were salivating as you watched people walk out.
Automated machines running continuously to satisfy the appetites of everyone in line.
I ordered the "Green Tea Special" much more appealing than the normal syrup on ice, this had Azuki beans, Vanilla Ice Cream, Condensed Milk, and Green Tea syrup. I dare say this is the best shaved ice dessert that I've ever had, one I will most definitely try to make myself at home 10/10
After gorging ourselves on food we headed back to Honolulu to check out the giant Hilo Hatties, this Aloha shirt is the world's largest. 400XL
Charlie wanted to see the King Kamehameha Statue and for some reason I kept thinking the Duke Statue in Waikiki, so we drove in circles down one way roads trying to find the place and eventually we found the statue.
Due to our adventures up on the North Shore we did not get back into Honolulu until about 6pm, it turns out the Iolani Palace closes at 4pm so that had Charlie grumbling about people working on Hawaii time.
We decided to end our day by doing some shopping at the Ala Moana Center, the 3rd largest outdoor mall in the US. By early evening the wind had really picked up and it was rather chilly in this outdoor mall as we attempted to find some sustenance.
View from the bar
Dining room view, not the largest eating space but very efficiently laid out. Secretly we hoped the Ramen would be authentic and not fail like Ajisen.
Tan Tan Ramen - Yes the menu said spicy but boy was it every spicy, so tasty and not salty the char siu was above average and it was a generous portion of tasty noodles. 9/10 Would put it up there with Kintaro in Vancouver except with less MSG and salt.
Tonkatsu Shoyu Ramen - Charlie almost ordered a spicy one as well but saw the word spicy and ordered this. The broth was very flavourful and the Tonkatsu was not overdone. 9/10
After dinner we did a little bit of shopping before returning the car and heading back to the ship. This was a long day, we did not get to see all the attractions we wanted to and the traffic was insane on the most part, lots of driving all over the island.