Exploring Kahuku

Too often, the trip from Honolulu to Kahuku is a well-beaten path from downtown to the comforts of a single resort.


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Chue Outtaphone and her husband, Home, of Home Farm, with their steamed sweet rice.

Farm Stand Find

Beware tourist trap farm stands in Kahuku that peddle store-bought fruit. The most authentic place is Kahuku Land Farm, which is run by farmers who lease their farmland from Turtle Bay. Of the six farms represented, our favorite was Home Farm, where you’ll recognize Chue Outtaphone by her tiny stature and giant smile. She and her husband, Home, sell two amazing snacks alongside their fresh fruits and vegetables. There’s the banana and steamed sweet rice, wrapped in a fresh banana leaf, which you can peel away like a candy bar wrapper. Or, try the grilled coconut cake, warm little orbs with a tiny touch of green onion inside. With a texture like mochi and a beautiful coconut flavor, they’re immediately addictive. “We’re Laotian, but they’re Vietnamese recipes,” Chue says. “We like to make it less sweet.” On Kamehameha Highway, east of Turtle Bay.


Antiques Road Show

“We’re Kahuku’s largest antique shop,” says Paul Wroblewski, smiling. “We’re also the only antique shop.” Aptly named “The Only Show in Town,” the place is perfect for anyone who enjoys a little kitsch now and then. The dizzying array of objects—from aloha shirts to air-raid sirens to spiky blowfish hanging from the ceiling—is stacked high on shelves. But be warned: this is not a stop for the thin-skinned. Wroblewski is just as likely to tease you as sell to you. Finding the shop is easy, look for the “glass float” sign perched on top of a rusting station wagon out front. On Kamehameha  Highway, near the shrimp farms. Tanaka Plantation Stores, 56-901 Kamehameha  Highway, 293-1295.


Saddle Up

Gunstock Ranch is the real deal. Driving up to this working farm, you’re as likely to see the owner’s kids shooting bb guns at the trees as you are to see anything resembling a tourist. Owner Greg Smith offers a bunch of interesting rides up the hillside to panoramic ocean views—a keiki ride for squirts as young as two or a sunset ride with a campfire steak barbeque. He is also a host to Island rodeos, when horse people from all over Oahu turn up to strut their stuff and compete for jackpots. For the next events anywhere on Oahu, visit thecowboycalendar.com. See all the rides offered at the ranch at gunstockranch.com.

Did you know:

When the Opana Radar Site first picked up the signal from incoming Japanese bombers on Dec. 7, 1941, Fort Shafter authorities disregarded the report as a “blip.” It’s not open to the public, but a sign on Kamehameha Highway, south of Kawela Bay, marks the site.
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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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