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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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13. Luau!

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a backyard affair or a 15-pig extravaganza thrown by Kaumakapili Church (see page 65 to read more about the latter).

Photos: courtesy of the Honolulu Zoo


14.  The Honolulu Zoo

We ❤ it!

It’s easy to take the zoo for granted, but it recently earned an “America’s Best Zoos 2008” ranking by travel publication The Intrepid Traveler, for its diverse animal habitats, knowledgeable staff and educational programs. One good reason to revisit: One of the Sumatran tigers, Chrissie, is expecting cubs this month; it will be the first time in the zoo’s history that a tiger has given birth there. 151 Kapahulu Ave., 971-7171.

Photo: David Croxford

15. The Manapua Man

Nothing reminds us of growing up in Honolulu more than the “manapua man.” We’d wait for school to end, so we could run across the street to his van and order wax-paper bags filled with fried noodles, oily pork hash and rice cakes, paying him with whatever coins we could scrounge from our pockets. No visit was really complete without making at least one selection from his array of hyperactivity-inducing, sometimes politically incorrect candies—from Fun Dip to, yes, Bubble Gum Cigarettes. Thanks, Mr. Manapua Man.


Photo: David Croxford


16. Merchant Street

Walking along downtown’s Merchant Street is like stepping into 1920s Honolulu, surrounded by Renaissance-revival buildings like the Kamehameha V Post Office (now Kumu Kahua Theatre) and the Yokohama Specie  Bank (the Cole Academy). The frozen-in-time feeling is no accident; in 1973, the 70-acre district between Nuuanu Avenue and Fort Street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



17.  The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Yep, they’re officially considered part of the City and County of Honolulu. The French Frigate Shoals, Nihoa, Hermes Atoll—it might be tough to get a good plate lunch at these furthest reaches of the county, and the arts and cultural scene is frankly lacking, but we still love ’em. President George Bush does too, designating the string of islands a national monument in 2006.

Photo: iStock

18.  Rubber Slippers

Slippers made national news this year for being “bad for the feet.” Oh, yeah? You’ll get them when you pry them off our cold, dead, luau feet.


Photo: David Croxford

19.  Liliha Bakery

We can’t count how many times we’ve hit up Liliha Bakery over the years, whether to pick up coco puffs for the office or to scarf some buttery pancakes at the crowded lunch counter. So when local entrepreneur Peter Kim bought the 58-year-old business earlier this year, we were happy to learn that he not only planned to preserve the venue and its popular dishes, but was considering adding locations in Honolulu. Even more good news: Liliha Bakery finally accepts credit cards! 515 N. Kuakini, 531-1651.



We ❤ it!

Ahi, tako, aku, crab, pipikaula, even tofu—chop it up into cubes and douse it in shoyu and we’re so there. Here are a few of our favorite varieties from around town: 

Photos: David Croxford


Ono Seafood custom mixes fresh ahi with everything from limu to kukui nuts. 747 Kapahulu Ave. #4, 732-4806.


The Poke Stop’s gourmet selection includes a mean salmon poke. 94-050
Farrington Hwy., 676-8100.


The smoked tako at Alicia’s Market packs a punch. 267 Mokauea St., 841-1921.


Monarch Seafood’s dry aku poke.  So ono. 515 Kalihi St., 841-7877.


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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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