5 Ways to Spend the Day Exploring Mililani
A farm, amazing poke and stylish shopping from local tastemakers? Yes, really.
There’s more to keep you busy than meets the eye on O‘ahu’s central plain. When we’re in Miliani, we hit up a few favorite spots for snacks, sights, shopping and sounds that we know are surefire ways to have a good time.
Get some poke at Poke Stop
Photo: Natalie Schack
Just because we’re in suburbs-central doesn’t mean Foodland’s your only option for solid poke picks. You’ll be in for a treat at Poke Stop in Mililani Mauka, just off the freeway off-ramp. It’s one of only two locations—and they’re both beyond Honolulu. The shop, which was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, has oodles of varieties of ‘ono-as-hell poke to choose from (tako, crispy garlic ‘ahi, spicy salmon), along with entrées intriguing enough to actually tempt you away from the fish—super yummy taegu chicken (a sweet fried Korean-chicken-esque dish), burgers and fried oyster po’boys. Get go-to rice or fresh local greens, or try unconventional sides such as the house tempura onion rings, eggplant fries and crispy pork cracklin’s.
95-1900 Meheula Parkway, next to Mililani Mauka Chinese Restaurant, poke-stop.com.
Check out the local goods at Kira Hawai‘i
Photo: Courtesy of Kira Hawai‘i
This stylish little shop is a local-lover’s paradise smack in the middle of the Town Center of Mililani. Jewelry designer and owner Sheri Kira stocks the boutique with delicate, stackable creations, along with precious kids’ tees sporting cheeky local-inspired sayings, on-trend apparel in the line of flouncy rompers and breezy loungewear, and gorgeous hand-lettered, locally designed stationery with the cutest tropical themes.
Town Center of Mililani, 95-1249 Meheula Parkway, Suite 202, kirahawaii.com.
Tour an aquaponics farm
Photo: Courtesy of Mari’s Gardens
Who would have guessed a full-fledged aquaponics and hydroponics farm was hidden within the borders of this wee little town? Even better news: Mari’s Gardens, a sustainability-minded enterprise, offers tours to the public by appointment Tuesdays through Fridays. Check out how the staff grow their crops through the hydroponics systems (no soil!), sample their organic produce, and learn about the garden’s sustainability practices and goals. Then, stop in at Mari’s Market to purchase fresh produce, edible and ornamental trees and plants, planters, succulents and aquaponics gardening supplies.
94-415 Makapipipi St., marisgardens.com.
Take in some karaoke and local brews at Taps & Apps
Photos: Natalie Schack
Hit up Thursday night karaoke at Mililani Mauka’s Taps & Apps brewpub and you’re bound to encounter a pretty serious crowd of karaoke-ers. Think more along the lines of talented peeps with great pipes belting their hearts out, as opposed to the messy-meets-painful performance spectacle that some karaoke bars attract. Plus, Taps & Apps has an outside deck, an impressive list of local brews available from breweries all across the state, and fun appetizer options (buttered enoki mushrooms and polenta cake) that aren’t your typical suburban bar fare.
95-1830 Meheula Parkway, next to Wing Stop, tapsandappsbrewpub.com.
Taste the Portuguese-style egg tarts at Nagoya Ramen
OK, stay with us here. Portuguese egg tarts are similar to the Chinese egg tarts that are hawked left and right in Chinatown, but with a crispier, toastier texture. The last place you’d expect to find an iteration of these tarts, omnipresent on the streets of Portugal, is in a casual ramen joint in Mililani Shopping Center. Yet, here we are. While these tarts are still quite different from ones you’d find in Portugal (they’re really more of a gentle cross between those and the Chinese ones), the novelty of tarts-in-ramen-stores will get us there every time. While you’re at it, check out the cheese buns, custard rolls and bean cakes at the bakery counter at the front of the ramen shop.
95-221 Kīpapa Drive, next to Fantastic Sam’s.
READ MORE STORIES BY NATALIE SCHACK