These 3 Upscale Food Courts Are Worth the Trip to Waikīkī
Waikīkī gets a triple dose of elevated street fare.
Mochi doughnuts, plain, glazed and coconut.
Photos: Steve Czerniak
Dukes Lane Market & Eatery isn’t the only upgraded food court to open recently in Honolulu. Waikīkī Yokocho, with its gourmet Japanese offerings, opened in the Waikīkī Shopping Plaza in December 2016. The Street, A Michael Mina Social House, began offering global-inspired street food on the bottom floor of the International Market Place in May. Here’s what’s worth the trip.
Dukes Lane Market & Eatery
Early bird gets the doughnut.
We heard buzz about these from week one, and when we tasted them, we swooned. Liliko‘i butter mochi doughnuts, Sriracha bacon doughnuts and the like are fried fresh daily at the onsite bakery, but only at 6, 7 and 8 a.m. Selection varies by the day.
Keep it raw.
We like this raw bar not just for the Kualoa oysters or the seafood tower with Kona lobster. We like that there are playful seafood cocktails and five poke choices ranging from contemporary to classic, and that you can sit here and segue into cooked dishes including the lobster bisque, uni pasta and dessert, of course.
Eight burgers, eight stories.
At the all-day burger bar, you can opt for the tonkatsu or fried chicken burger (or the ube-black bean version for the non-meat-inclined), but our top picks: a zesty lamb burger, a teri burger made from sous vide prime rib and the 4-ounce I.N.O., inspired by the iconic In-N-Out chain.
2255 Kūhiō Ave., dukeslanehawaii.com
Holla for hojicha.
Matcha might get all the love, but we’re always in the mood for hojicha, a Japanese green tea roasted to create a deeper, less bitter flavor. Nana’s Green Tea has a cold hojicha cream latte ($5.30) that is sweet, refreshing and won’t leave you with caffeine jitters.
Chill out, noodles.
Hiyashi ramen, or cold dry ramen ($13.50), is a dish found in most Japanese homes during the summer. It’s easy to make, too: Boil noodles, add your favorite toppings and drizzle store-bought sauce—or make your own with soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil and water. The hiyashi ramen at Hokkaido’s Baikohken goes traditional with shredded cucumber, bamboo shoots, eggs (and any kind of topping, really) and two pieces of char siu. It all rests on a hefty amount of perfectly cooked noodles with good chew, and is doused with a sweet, tangy sauce.
Marion Crepes has both savory and sweet crepes, but we love the fun ingredients in the Japanese Special ($9): azuki beans, freshly made whipped cream, kuromitsu (black sugar honey), two mochi balls, strawberries and kinako powder. The crepe holds everything together well, so it’s perfect for sharing while strolling down Kalākaua Avenue with a date.
2250 Kalākaua Ave., Lower Level 100, waikiki-yokocho.com
The Street, A Michael Mina Social House
Cool off with Aloha Ice.
Acclaimed pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka—the only local chef to run a stall here—created an elevated shave-ice bar called Aloha Ice, which uses blocks of frozen fruit instead of shaved ice flavored with sugary syrup. Toppings—kanten, fresh mochi balls, crisp rice pearls—aren’t typical, either.
Get the pastrami.
International Smoke may specialize in lighter takes on globally inspired barbecue dishes, but the cured pastrami ($16.99 for a plate, $32 per pound) is everything it should be: fork-tender, smoky, salty and fatty.
Love the lafa.
James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina created Little Lafa, a Mediterranean concept using flavors from his childhood. The slightly chewy, made-to-order lafa (Middle Eastern flatbread) can be filled with spicy harissa chicken, chermoula-roasted salmon (pictured), braised short rib, or roasted cauliflower and eggplant. No utensils needed.
2330 Kalākaua Ave., thestreetsocialhouse.com