Izakaya Nonbei – Honolulu, HI

Izakaya Nonbei has become one of my favorite Japanese restaurants. I don’t want it to get too popular but hey, I also want them to stay in business because they are so good! It’s really sad to see when good restaurants close down and a whole bunch have recently! Izakaya Nonbei has been around for a while and I have been there very few times, but I plan to go back very soon! If you plan to go, I highly suggest reservations.


Crab Avocado Salad – This salad was heavenly. The yuzu dressing they serve with the salad is out of this world. If you come during happy hour, they have it for a special price! Definite must-order.


Agedashi Tofu – good, solid dish

160731-3Shoyu Yakimusubi – I tried both the shoyu and miso. Not something I usually order but it tasted good!


Karei Karaage – this is another signature dish for the restaurant. Crispy fried flounder. The whole fish! It is so fried that you can basically eat the whole fish. It tasted good!


Nasu Kinoko – this was surprisingly my most favorite dish of the night. This dish was ordered at the recommendation of the waitress, it is eggplant stir-fried with different types of mushrooms. I’m not even a fan of eggplant and this was my favorite. The sauce it was cooked in was like a savory shoyu butter sauce. I just wanted a big bowl of rice and pour this on top of it. I’m salivating just thinking about it…this dish is enough reason to return. For real. Order it, you won’t regret it.

Sea Dragon BBQ Cold Noodle House – Honolulu, HI

Sea Dragon BBQ Cold Noodle House is located at the corner of S. King Street and Kaheka Street. The restaurant location has had a few turnovers in the past few years so we will see how this one goes. I actually went to this restaurant in December of last year and thought it was a nice Korean restaurant. I like that Korean restaurants are adding call buttons to every table, it is hard to flag down wait staff sometimes so this makes it very easy. I enjoyed the food here but I felt it was pricier than other Korean restaurants for the same food. I hope I remember more details as I post…


Assorted Ban-chan


Kimchee – good, standard


I believe this was eggplant and it was delicious!


Corn Fritters? It wasn’t that great.


Cucumber Kimchee


Vinegared Daikon Strips


Vinegared Wakame and Cucumber


Naengmyun – I got it spicy. Delicious! Nice and refreshing. I think you get the same from other Korean restaurants.


Kalbijjim – I guess this is the star of the show. This is not a cheap dish but feeds 2-3 people fine if you accompany it with the noodles. Like I have mentioned before, the dishes taste good but they are a bit pricier than I would like.

Recipe: Cheese Meatballs

Do you folks follow those recipe video pages on Facebook? They make the recipes look so easy and the videos are so short! I follow Cookat and I know it’s a Korean based video company and they make some yummy looking food. Koreans have been into cheesy everything lately and this recipe is no different. I want to get bigger skewers like the video has but I can’t find any in person…and I’m just going to eat it anyway so I did away with the skewers. Here are some pictures, link to their recipe and video follows below.


Meatball mixture ready to be mixed, rounded and cooked!

160727-02Here are the meatballs ready to go. I bought a fresh mozzarella ball and cut them into squares for these meatballs.

160727-03Sizzling away…look at the cheese coming through the cracks! That’s a mistake but isn’t it a lovely mistake to look at?

160727-04They use bleu cheese dressing on the balls in the video. I used some ranch but really dressing is not needed. The sauce you make for the meatballs is good seasoning enough.

Recipe: Cookat: Cheese Meatball Skewer

Cafe Pesto – Hilo, HI

I am going to end my Hilo food posts with my most favorite meal! Cafe Pesto is an awesome Italian restaurant in downtown Hilo. If the service was good, it would have been a perfect experience! But it’s okay, good food fits the bill for me.


Started off our dinner with a Hilo Sunrise – this is fresh lemonade with lemongrass, lime leaf and Island honey. It was delicious and comes with complimentary refills!


Complimentary Bread with Pesto Butter. Delicious! I was so hungry, that bread was devoured.

160725-04Smoked Salmon Alfredo

160725-05Grilled Chicken and Hamakua Mushroom Risotto

I don’t usually order risotto but something about this dish made me want to get it. A lot of the food reviews seemed to like this dish as well so I went for it. I’m so glad I did, it was delicious! The chicken was cooked perfectly especially for chicken breast. I would definitely recommend this!


Volcano Mist Salad

I don’t usually post the appetizer last but I can’t help it. This was my absolute favorite dish of the trip. And I know what you’re thinking, what salad? Well, buried under the mountain of fried onions and tomatoes, there is a small amount of romaine lettuce…lol. This salad was so delicious. Smoked mozzarella, local tomatoes, crisped onion rings, a citrus balsamic dressing…it just all worked so well together. I was tempted to order this dish to go right before we came home. Mmm…can’t stop thinking about it.

Da Poke Shack – Kailua-Kona, HI

Da Poke Shack was rated the number one place to eat in the U.S. by Yelp. That’s big. That’s huge. Granted it was 2 years ago but I knew that I had to try this place out while in the Big Island. Was it good? Yes, definitely. They are a small shop along the highway, their set-up reminded me a lot of Ono Seafood. They are also next to a small building with very limited parking and only outside seating…which was barely any. We ate in our car. The line to get your plate was LONG. But the front service staff were patient and very kind. As I stood in line, I couldn’t believe the amount of kalua pig plates being ordered. No offense to anyone but I’m not going to Da Poke Shack to get cooked entrees. The poke bowl comes with two choice poke, one scoop rice and one side. I almost went for the plate since I was out there but I don’t think I could have eaten 4 choice poke, 2 choice side and rice. Ah, maybe next time…haha. A reason to return. Their prices are based on market price, their fish is never frozen, only fresh. The bowl was about $14 dollars while the plate was about $26.



From bottom left to right: Rice (you can get hapa or white, furikake is optional), Pele’s Kiss (spicy), Clams (this was a side dish! Clams!!), Wet Hawaiian (inamona). How was it? Delicious. I loved it, and the spicy one was actually kind of spicy. Wish we had a location here to try more. But lucky we do have Ono Seafood which currently ranks higher than Da Poke Shack on the 2016 list. 

Nori’s Saimin & Snacks – Hilo, HI

We made a grave mistake this night. We didn’t complete our research in full and missed out on bringing home omiyage from Nori’s Saimin & Snacks. Yes, this trip I missed out on my favorite Chocolate Mochi Cake. Maybe it’s for the better, I probably would have gobbled that thing down before sharing it with anyone. The food here? I like the variety on the menu but I am pretty sure it had plenty of MSG because I was thirsty all night. The workers are nice but they were very busy with very little help, it was a bit of a mess. And hot. So hot. I will not miss the lack of air conditioning at restaurants in Hilo, lol. This post will include some random other things since I didn’t have much to share from Nori’s.


Curly Ramen Won Ton – Large Special


Special bowls comes with one BBQ chicken stick. The chicken stick was hard, not great.

Next couple of pictures consist of the decor inside of Big Island Candies. I like how detailed they are!




It’s a bit random to share a shave ice picture but I really really enjoyed this one! I got it from Da Hawaiian Brain Freeze Shave Ice & Ice Cream. How can you go wrong? This is their Keiki Size. KEIKI. Cute they serve it with a genki sushi kine plate underneath. I got lilikoi with li hing powder. It was perfection. Perfectly shaved ice, nice syrup and the li hing powder was not at all sour and complemented the dessert so nicely. I would definitely return here!

Two Ladies Kitchen – Hilo, HI

There are a few staples you must hit up when you go to Hilo. Two Ladies Kitchen is a must. It’s very popular with both locals and tourists alike and for good reason, they make awesome mochi. Here’s a sampling of what I had…



Here’s what I ordered (from left to right): Peanut Butter (the flower shape), Butter Mochi, Fresh Strawberry Mochi (plus a free one!), and Lilikoi Mochi.


Start with my least favorite, the butter mochi. Hmm…gritty. I did not enjoy this one.


Yum! I love lilikoi and this mochi was nice and soft, tart and sweet. Delicious.


Their star winner, Fresh Strawberry Mochi. It definitely did not disappoint and I was so surprised they gave me a free one too! So good. I wish they were open more than the one day we went…I think I would have gone back daily..haha!

Kawamoto Store – Hilo, HI

The semester ended in May and I have rested until now. Well between then and now, I have traveled to Chicago for a conference and also took a long weekend trip to Hilo. Traveling can be tiring! But I must say, my timing is impeccable because I start a summer course tomorrow which will be an intensive three weeks. I will try my best to schedule some posts out! The next few posts will be from Hilo. I took a trip out there over the Fourth of July weekend and had a great time. Lots of driving. One day was driving out to Kona and the other day was out to North Kohala. Saddle Road used to freak me out a bit but I must say, it was a pleasure to drive through it this time around.

Today, I’d like to share an early morning breakfast we got from Kawamoto Store. Totally old school, totally delicious. I love okazuyas and wish we had more on the island that I could grab food from before work…on the way to work. I was pretty bummed when Gulick closed down on King Street. Kawamoto Store was delightful, the workers were all so nice and patient with us out-of-towners. I’m sure they could totally tell we were townies.


Ah…what did I select…


Spam Musubi, Shoyu Chicken, Fried Mahi and Fried Noodles


And you cannot go to an okazuya without ordering nishime! My breakfast was delicious! My least favorite was the fried fish but generally, you never know how it will be in fried form. This one was a bit dry for my taste. I loved the shoyu chicken, noodles and especially the nishime. They give good portions for good prices, it feels great supporting local.


Last picture of the day is from the drive on Saddle Road. People who know me know that I drive all the time so it was nice to be a passenger during this trip. I mean look at this awesome shot I got from it! No filter! Have a good one folks.