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Your Guide to Honolulu’s Dillingham/Kapalama Neighborhood

The neighborhood sidling up to the Kapalama Canal looks rather industrial, but don’t let that scare you off.



Photos: Ron Yeung



Stop by Ideta for a lunch or dinner of fresh, fantastic sushi. Love the sign on the building’s exterior, which probably hasn’t changed since 1969. The menu has udon, donburi, sushi and misoyaki butterfish, as well as seafood entrées. Don’t miss the tempura, which epitomizes all that tempura should be. The sushi here isn’t cheap, but hey, you get what you pay for.

620 Kohou St., (808) 847-4844. 



The most popular items are the cream-cheese malassadas and an pan rolls, but you can find 40 to 50 varieties of baked goods, made from scratch daily, including elegant, fruit-topped cakes ($25). “Most people buy a box of pastries on the way to meetings,” notes owner Elvin Lau. The bakery gets busy in the morning, so Lau suggests you call ahead with your order. “We’ll have everything ready for you.” 

Kapalama Shopping Center, 1210 Dillingham Blvd., (808) 848-8118. 



Try the lau lau or the kalua pig at this 56-year-old establishment. “I have a crew that does lau lau all day long—it’s a lot of prep, cleaning the leaves, wrapping and then cooking them,” explains Alan Young, president and second generation in the family’s business. They ship a lot of Hawaiian food to the homesick on the Mainland. Young notes, “We cook our kalua pig in an imu; you can’t fake that smokey taste!” Call ahead for orders, as well as for lunch takeout.

1286 Kalani St., (808) 841-4885.



This small supermarket caters to Koreans, Korean ex-pats and anyone doing a master’s thesis on kim chee. You’ll find OB beer, plum vinegar tea, dried sweet-potato stems and ready-to-go bimbap kits, as well as a nice deli section. Visit the cookery department to the right of the store entrance if you’re hunting for a teppanyaki grill or want to choose from among 50 kinds of rice cookers. 

Kapalama Shopping Center, (808) 847-4427.



Shop for a mu‘umu‘u, holoku (a loose, seamed dress with a yoke) or holomu (a long, fitted dress), here, as well as for wedding attire and accessories like hats or handbags. “We print our fabrics locally to get an exclusive look. People have their favorite patterns,” says Jill Cullinan, whose parents, Jack and Joan Andersen, founded the company in 1960. Dresses run about $175, and the selection is mind-boggling. The store caters to many performers, halau and brides.

1222 Kaumuali‘i St., (808) 847-4806.


PalamaFORECASTING: Keep an eye on the Dillingham/Kapalama area. “There’s a lot in play,” notes Alan Young, of Young’s Fish Market. “A second-tier on Nimitz is being discussed. And in the next decade, leases will be up on the land, which is Bishop Estate and Hawaiian Homelands.”



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