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Finding Exotic and Unusual Foods in Hawaii


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#1 Kiem Hwa

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 05:07 PM

I was living in LA for a little while, and while I was there I fell in love with the variety of foods that can be easily found there......but not here in Hawaii.

For instance, there is a plethora of Middle Eastern cusine, including Persian, Lebanese, and Mediterranean styles. While I am aware of a few Greek restaurants here, what I really want are some falafel kebabs or some Persian food: meat kebabs, Zereshk-Polow (Saffron-Basmati rice with Barberries), and Fesenjam (Pomegranate-Walnut Chicken).

Perhaps I haven't yet searched far or wide enough yet, but does anyone know of these types of restaurants or where I can even buy ingredients to make Middle Eastern (and also Indian) foods myself? (e.g. Pomegranate syrup, Tahini, Falafel mix, Tandoori spices)

#2 Kiem Hwa

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 05:10 PM

Unrelated to Middle Eastern cuisine....

A little while back, in McCully Shopping Center, there used to be a Japanese Crepe Shop... that is no longer there. Did it move or close? Is there anywhere else that Japanese Crepes can be found in Honolulu?

#3 glossyp

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Posted 08 February 2005 - 06:57 PM

Perhaps I haven't yet searched far or wide enough yet, but does anyone know of these types of restaurants or where I can even buy ingredients to make Middle Eastern (and also Indian) foods myself?  (e.g. Pomegranate syrup, Tahini, Falafel mix, Tandoori spices)

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Middle Eastern food is not easily found in Hawaii though the reviewer at the Advertiser did a review of Casablanca in Kailua last week. I didn't read the entire review so I'm not sure what the precise cuisine (or if there is one) of the restaurant. I would recommend a visit to Down to Earth for the groceries you are seeking. They have many of these and will gladly order for you if there is something you want. They have 3 locations on the island, one on King Street, one in the Pearlridge SC and one in Kailua. IMO, the King Street has the most diverse selection of groceries.

Good luck! :smile:
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#4 Kiem Hwa

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Posted 09 February 2005 - 01:40 AM

Middle Eastern food is not easily found in Hawaii though the reviewer at the Advertiser did a review of Casablanca in Kailua last week. I didn't read the entire review so I'm not sure what the precise cuisine (or if there is one) of the restaurant. I would recommend a visit to Down to Earth for the groceries you are seeking. They have many of these and will gladly order for you if there is something you want. They have 3 locations on the island, one on King Street, one in the Pearlridge SC and one in Kailua. IMO, the King Street has the most diverse selection of groceries.

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Thanks glossyp! I'll check out Down to Earth ASAP. Also, I think there is an Indian grocery store somewhere in the King St/University area?

Here is that Casablanca review:
http://the.honolulua...4/en/en22a.html
I haven't tried this place out yet, but Moroccan Mint tea is great! Also, my experience with Moroccan restaurants is the atmospheres are usually quite romantic, and are also fabulous to rent rooms out for parties :biggrin:

#5 skchai

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 12:17 AM

If you are looking for Indian groceries, you should check out India Market, 2570 S. Beretania St. #105, right across the street from Down to Earth (and downstairs from Well Bento), which opened last year. Even more recently, Indian Emporium, 2239 S. King opened in the same area - it carries some groceries as well as Ayurvedic herbs, Bollywood DVDs, etc.

For Thai food, there is Thailand Market on 3424 Waialae Ave. (approx @ 9th Ave. I think, on the mauka side).

For Pan-Hispanic, Mercado De La Raza at 1315 S Beretania St (approx @ Keeaumoku, near Mekong I).

For Kosher, Mazal's Kosherland is on 555 N. King St., # 113.

Such places are real resources for the community - let's hope they can all stay around. . .

Don't forget about the big stores such as Daiei on Kaheka and 99 Ranch in Mapunapuna, which both carry a large range of SE Asia foods in addition to their Japanese and Chinese "base" offerings.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

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#6 PakePorkChop

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 02:50 PM

If, by Middle Eastern, you are speaking of Turkish, Persian, Lebanese, Syrian, and Israeli styles, the closest that I can think of is Zoe's on the North Shore. I do not know whether they remain in operation.

If you will accept Egyptian, Algerian, and Moroccan styles, see my article,
"Club Med: Spice, Rice, Everything Nice" at:

http://www.hawaii.rr...4_cmsrenice.htm

I was living in LA for a little while, and while I was there I fell in love with the variety of foods that can be easily found there......but not here in Hawaii.

For instance, there is a plethora of Middle Eastern cusine, including Persian, Lebanese, and Mediterranean styles.  While I am aware of a few Greek restaurants here, what I really want are some falafel kebabs or some Persian food: meat kebabs,  Zereshk-Polow (Saffron-Basmati rice with Barberries), and Fesenjam (Pomegranate-Walnut Chicken).

Perhaps I haven't yet searched far or wide enough yet, but does anyone know of these types of restaurants or where I can even buy ingredients to make Middle Eastern (and also Indian) foods myself?  (e.g. Pomegranate syrup, Tahini, Falafel mix, Tandoori spices)

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Edited by PakePorkChop, 16 February 2005 - 02:54 PM.


#7 SuzySushi

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 09:32 PM

I was living in LA for a little while, and while I was there I fell in love with the variety of foods that can be easily found there......but not here in Hawaii.

For instance, there is a plethora of Middle Eastern cusine, including Persian, Lebanese, and Mediterranean styles.  While I am aware of a few Greek restaurants here, what I really want are some falafel kebabs or some Persian food: meat kebabs,  Zereshk-Polow (Saffron-Basmati rice with Barberries), and Fesenjam (Pomegranate-Walnut Chicken).

Perhaps I haven't yet searched far or wide enough yet, but does anyone know of these types of restaurants or where I can even buy ingredients to make Middle Eastern (and also Indian) foods myself?  (e.g. Pomegranate syrup, Tahini, Falafel mix, Tandoori spices)

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Late to the party again... :wink:

No place I know of to get Persian food on the island (except possibly in someone's home), but you can find many Middle-Eastern ingredients at Down to Earth. I buy imported-from-Lebanon Indo-European brand tahini and pomegranate molasses there.

The Asian Grocery store at 1319 S. Beretania St. (right next to Mercado De La Raza at 1315 S. Beretania, (approx @ Keeaumoku) carries a pretty good selection of Indian spices, chutneys, etc.

For dining out, I can also second the recommendations for Casablanca (Moroccan) in Kailua, which does a fantastic bastilla as an appetizer, and The Pyramid on Kapahulu for Egyptian food (if you go at night, they have a belly dancer).

For a short while, the family of the owner of The Pyramid ran a Middle Eastern store nearby, but it didn't generate enough sales to make a go of it, so they closed it down. :sad:
SuzySushi

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