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50 Reasons to Love This City

Not to break out that tired phrase again, but we Honolulu residents really are lucky. It’s easy to take for granted how cool, how eclectic, how just plain great this city is, so we thought we’d take a few pages to list just a few of the reasons, both big and little, that we love this place.


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Bon Dance

Photo: Olivier Koning

1. Bon Dances

Andagi, taiko drums and the dance of joy—what more could you ask for?  There’s still one more chance to dance, on Sept. 20 at the Autumn Dance Matsuri at Hawaii Okinawa Center, 5 p.m.  For more information, call 676-5400.


2. Karaoke Bar Food

You wouldn’t think that a shabby karaoke lounge in a strip mall would offer dishes like whole crab with curry, miso butterfish or kim chee steak. But in Honolulu, it’s highly possible. Some of our faves: Shinsho Tei on Nuuanu Avenue, Sunflower Lounge in Aiea and Lisa’s House by the airport.


3. Sitting in a Monday morning meeting and discovering there’s still sand in your hair.


4. Everyone is Family

Hawaii—the only state where everyone has 57 aunties and 46 uncles.


5. Kikaida Fans

Now two generations and counting.

Photo: David Croxford


6. Crack Seed Stores

Good li hing mui puckers your cheeks, and seeing the seed scooped out from the glass jars of a tiny locally owned store is half the fun. Kon Young of the Crack Seed Store on Koko Head Avenue might as well be the patron saint of seed in Hawaii—he’s been doling out sweet and salty treats for almost 30 years.


Kahuku corn.

Photo: Rae Huo

7. Plate Lunches

The Rainbow Drive-In mix plate with chicken katsu, pork cutlets, two scoops white rice and mac salad. And gravy on the rice. And then a nap.


8. The Manoa Valley Theater

There’s something great about having a vibrant theater outpost in the middle of an old graveyard. What better place to stage the Rocky Horror Show?


9. Kahuku Corn

Maybe it’s the long drive. Maybe it’s something about the roadside stands. All we know is, nothing’s sweeter than Kahuku corn.


10. Picking Out The Real Lost Locations

The YWCA! First Hawaiian Bank! The Ala Wai! Recognizing the real-life spots where Jack and Kate are emoting has become a thrill on par with the actual plot line of the show—and usually easier to figure out.


11. Grumbling

It’s practically the state pastime: bemoaning all the cool stuff we don’t have in Honolulu. Ikea, Trader Joe’s, In-N-Out Burger. But watch out, with all the recent and upcoming additions—Whole Foods, Target, Beard Papas—we may soon be left with nothing for which to pine.


12. Rearview-Mirror Mahalos

We’re not imagining it, Honolulu drivers aren’t showing as much aloha these days. Yeah, we’re talking to you, punk in the Acura TL. That’s why we appreciate those courtesy hand waves—especially during rush hour—more than ever.


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Honolulu Magazine May 2019
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