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Editor’s Page: All My Best

Eleven of my best small-kid-time memories that didn’t make this year’s list.


Christi Young

In 1991, astronomers from around the world gathered in the Islands to see the six-minute total solar “eclipse of the century”; Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze went surfing in Point Break; and Carolyn Sapp was the first Miss Hawai‘i to be named Miss America. (Note for trivia buffs, the first Miss Hawai‘i, Yun Tau Zane, was the first Asian-American to compete for the national title in 1948.) Also that year, HONOLULU Magazine published its first People’s Choice Awards.


Among the winners and losers listed in the 103 categories was MOS Burgers for worst fast food, and Liberty House at Ala Moana Center, which was voted tops for public restrooms—that is, if you could get to them: Ala Moana took home both the best and worst titles for parking lots. The following year, readers added their thoughts for the Local Celebrity They Would Want To Party With (Karen Keawehawai‘i), the Best Singles Bar (Row Bar, which also won as Best Place to Make a Fool of Yourself in 1991), and Sizzler took home the win for Best Salad Bar.


Flipping through 27 years of HONOLULU Bests made me think about the bests that mark my growing up on O‘ahu. Here is my personal list.


Best Manapua Truck Snack:


Photo: David Croxford


Funyuns. My husband, however, argues for the chow fun noodles that came in paper cones.


Best Childhood Snack with the Worst Makeover:

Nibb-its. Today, the bag is smaller, the barbecue chips are too square and they do not deliver the satisfying crunch of Nibb-its produced by Yick Lung.


Best Place to Play:

The former pineapple fields across from Mililani High School. My sisters and I used to pick heathery bunches of lilac weeds to take home, run through the dirt and climb up then slide down huge piles of gravel, causing mini avalanches that I’m sure puzzled the construction workers who were building the current Town Center of Mililani.


Best Drive:

The dramatic view along the East O‘ahu coast on the way to fish with my dad on the rocky cliffs of Makapu‘u.


Best Snack Mix-Up:

Uncooked saimin with the dashi packet shaken on top. Frozen cans of fruit punch.


Best Movie Experience:

Snuggling in sleeping bags in the back of the family station wagon to watch Back to the Future at Kam Drive-In.


Best Vending Machine Item:

It’s a tie. The real Coke bottles dispensed from a machine at Tasty’s Chop Suey in Kalihi in the ’90s and the Milk Nickel bars we used to fuel late-night cram sessions at the UH Mānoa dorms.


Best Place To Get Lost:

GEM. I could spend hours in the department store on Ward browsing the Japanese pen and eraser section alone.


Worst Place to get Lost:

Pay ’n Save. I once panicked and paged my parents. They were one aisle over.


Best Honolulu City Lights Decoration:

The holiday light display of a seedling growing into a Christmas tree in front of the Board of Water Supply thrills me every year.


Best Grocery Store with Four Names:

I’ve had conversations where family and friends refer to Don Quijote as Holiday Mart, Daiei and DQ interchangeably. No one has to explain.


Our Best of Honolulu list reflects longtime favorites, current trends and just fun finds that our writers discovered while exploring the city. Who made the cut in 2018? Find out in this year’s list.


I hope our list inspires you to make new memories in Honolulu.


Got a good story? Reach me at christiy@honolulumagazine.com

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Honolulu Magazine August 2020
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