Best of Honolulu 2012: Food

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Heeia Pier’s oio loco moco is one of our favorite twists on local grinds.

photo: elyse butler and matt mallams

Modern Twists on Local Favorites

Dig into ono new takes on some classic grinds.


Taro Delight is dips, dressings and spreads, all in one,” says creator Tom Purdy. Thicker than poi, Purdy’s dips are enhanced by flavors such as Thai curry paste, chipotle and sun-dried tomatoes. He also makes taro poke and a taro dish in the style of potato salad. Taro Delight is sold at farmers’ markets, Whole Foods, Down to Earth on King Street and Celestial Natural Foods in Haleiwa.


Shave Ice

When Hiroshi Fukui, chef of Hiroshi Eurasian Tapas, needed a dessert to finish off his nine-course kaiseki menu, he brought in Shimazu Store’s shave ice. Only Shimazu offers such contemporary flavors as red velvet, crème brûlée and mojito to drench a classic shave ice. 330 N. School St., 371-8899.


Loco Moco

At Heeia Pier General Store & Deli, the oio patty, flecked with water chestnut, melds boudin-blanc techniques with old-school fishcake flavor. Top it with brown gravy and a runny egg, and you’ve got yourself a nouveau loco moco winner. But be aware: Oio is only available when the fish are biting, so it’s not always on the menu. 46-499 Kamehameha Highway, 235-2192.


Staff Favorites

Martha Cheng:  At Nobu, pastry chef Rachel Murai’s application of modern techniques and flavor combinations (think black pepper ice cream) is subtle, just enough to thrill without detracting from the sweet satisfaction of an excellent finish to a meal.

Tiffany Hill:  Fresh produce, made-to-order food, short lines, ample parking. Thanks to the new Ala Moana Farmer’s Market, I’m eating more locally grown veggies.

Christian Vetter: The acai bowl from Jewel or Juice, with its nutritious blend of fruits, organic granola and drizzled honey, has become my default comfort food over the past year.

Readers' Picks

Best Buffet

Prince Court at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, 100 Holomoana St., 944-4494,

Best Grocery Store

Foodland, multiple locations,

Best Health Food Store

Down to Earth, multiple locations,

Best Place for Local Produce

KCC Farmers’ Market, 4303 Diamond Head Road, Parking Lot C, 848-2074,

Best Place to Buy Fresh Fish

Tamashiro Market, 802 N. King St., 841-8047,

Best Pastries

Liliha Bakery, 515 N. Kuakini St., 531-1651,

Best Burger

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, multiple locations,

Best Wine Shop

Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors, multiple locations,

Best Local Food or Beverage Brand

Hawaiian Springs Water,

Best Food Truck

Camille’s on Wheels,

Best Coffee Shop

Starbucks, multiple locations,