Eating local food is one of the things I look forward to most when travelling. Living in Toronto exposes you to so many different culture’s and foods, so it’s amazing when you get to try those foods in the country they originated from. I recently traveled to the Big Island, which seems to be one of the lesser known main islands that make up Hawaii, and I had the opportunity to visit several amazing spots that dished out some of the most delicious meals I’ve had. Below are three of the more memorable restaurants I had the pleasure of dining at while on the Big Island…
If you’re trying to eat healthy, this is not the place for you. Chicken-holic is a small little restaurant that my husband and I found on Yelp during our stay in Kona. It wasn’t the easiest place to find, as it is tucked around a corner and the sign isn’t immediately visible from the street, but it was definitely worth the trek.
Chicken-holic is best known for their korean fried chicken. The difference between regular fried chicken and korean fried chicken is that the latter is fried twice, which results in crunchier skin and less grease (surprisingly). There were several different styles to choose from and we decided to order the Garlic fried chicken and the Spicy fried chicken, which were both amazing. The chicken was crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside and was covered in just the right amount of sauce- not too much, not too little. My only tip when coming here is to order conservatively. The portions are huge and two orders of chicken was more than enough for two.
Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona
Have you ever tried Poke? If the answer is no, you’re missing out. I had the most amazing and buttery take on this Hawaiian dish at a little eatery located in Kailua-Kona called Da Poke Shack.
“Poke (pronounced Po-Kay) is a Hawaiian word meaning cut, cubed or sliced. Traditionally this dish is seasoned with Hawaiian salt, limu kohu (seaweed), Inamona (roasted kukui nut) and additional ingredients”
Poke consists of cubed fish pieces (ahi tuna is a traditional choice) which are flavored with sauce and can be served on a bed of white rice (a Poke bowl). Da Poke Shack offers many different kinds of flavoured Poke including:
- Pele’s Kiss (spicy)
- Dynamite (avocado aioli)
- Shoyu (soy sauce)
- Spicy Garlic Sesame
I’m not usually a fan of raw fish but the delicious flavours of the Spicy Garlic Sesame Poke made me forget what I was eating. Also, the fact that the fish is SUPER fresh (the Pacific Ocean is practically steps away) made such a difference in texture and taste.
Punalu’u Bake Shop, Na`alehu
This sun-filled bakery is located off of a scenic highway that goes through Na’alehu, a small town situated between Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The glass cases were filled with baked goods ranging from cream puffs to malasadas (a Portuguese doughnut that is very popular in Hawaii). The pastries were soft and fluffy and the jelly doughnuts I ordered were available in a range of flavours that included mango, chocolate and raspberry (pictured above).
The bake shop also sells sandwiches, macaroni salad and hamburgers for those that want to stop by for lunch. This was the perfect stop for a snack while making our way to Volcanoes National Park and everything was relatively well priced so I recommend swinging by if you are ever in the area.