Thomas Obungen

Contributing Dining Editor

Thomas Obungen joined the Frolic Hawai‘i team in 2015 as a contributor after a two-year stint in Los Angeles where his passion for seeking out unique and delicious finds was set ablaze. In the years that followed, he rose the ranks to become its associate editor and is now the assistant editor. Prior to Frolic, he worked for an Apple reseller that outfitted Hollywood’s top studios with custom computers, planned obscure costume parties and wrote press releases for the U.S. Navy. He is a graduate of Mililani High School and Hawai‘i Pacific University.

 

In addition to writing for Frolic Hawai‘i and HONOLULU, Thomas co-owns a boutique marketing agency called Slug Media and works in retail for therapeutic reasons. You can find him power walking through Makiki and Mānoa on most mornings and most likely with an iced coffee in hand.

 

Email Thomas

Articles

How a katsu sandwich got me hooked on healthy eats

This is a story of how a really great tonkatsu sandwich became my gateway drug to Coco Bloom Kitchen's local organic menu of power salads, jam toasts and smoothies. I'm yearning to travel again, especially to Japan, where eating everything I come across…

Reader poll: Vote for Hawaii's best classic loco moco

How did we even make it this far into 2020 without hitting the reset button a million times? It's already Election Day, so take a deep breath and vote: Help decide who makes Hawaii's best loco mocos. Jason Chin's best…

Farmer's market finds: amazake smoothies, luxe breakfasts at Kakaako

Farmer's markets are breeding grounds for food innovation and have given rise to some of Hawaii's most successful concepts and restaurants. Frolic's farmer's market finds series shines a light on interesting, unique and ono discoveries.  The Kakaako Farmers Market has evolved…

5 holey reasons to try Kakaako's new donut truck

I truly believe people are born loving three things: puppies, kittens and donuts. So when Holey Grail, a Kauai-based donut truck with a cult following, began popping up in Kakaako in late August, donut worshipers made the pilgrimage to Ward Village Shops…

Two-minute takeout: Okata Bento

All kinds of restaurants are open for takeout, and now's as good a time as any to try them. Two-Minute Takeout sends Frolickers to places they haven't been to pick up meals for quick tableside reviews at home. Lyndon Okata…

Farmers market finds: Kailua's chill Lokahi Market

For National Farmers Market Week earlier this month, we took you to Hawaii Kai for Kaiser High School PTSA's bustling market. For two hours on Tuesday afternoons, people converge on the grassy parking lot for chef-driven comfort food, Swedish apple…

Farmers market finds: Kaiser High School PTSA's amazing Tuesday market

Update: This farmers market closed temporarily from Sept. 1, 2020 for the duration of the islandwide stay-at-home order, since all school campuses are closed. Check kaiserptsafarmersmarket.wordpress.com for the latest. It's National Farmers Market Week and we're shining some light on…

Hilo's farm-to-bowl shave ice expands to Haleiwa

I've planned vacations entirely around visiting shave ice shops. In 2018, I devoured 68 bowls of shave ice from shops in Japan and Hawaii. I just might be a little obsessed with shave ice. I know, I'm weird.  See also: Shave ice…

Fooki brings happy Taiwanese fusion to Aiea

Under the looming elevated railway that defines this stretch of Kamehameha Highway, a Taiwanese fusion noodle bar called Fooki opened a few weeks ago in the Pearl Kai Shopping Center. An unlikely restaurant in an unlikely part of Oahu, it begs a question: Who's…

Farmers market finds: $5 bites from Dean & DeLuca

Farmers markets are breeding grounds for food innovation and some of Hawaii's most successful restaurants. Frolic's series spotlights some of these ono finds.  What: Truffle egg salad, chicken namban and ahi melt sandwiches, antipasto pasta, caprese saladHow much: $4.95 eachWhat…

New SingMaTei's curry laksa is a Malaysian delight

Let's be honest, food courts don't exactly set a high bar for culinary finds. However, if you've spent any time in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore, you know that open-air hawker centers and food markets tend to buck…

20 new and coming restaurants in June 2020: Foodmap

Not to jinx things, but at a time when we thought we would be covering more closures, we're seeing instead signs of confidence in brave restaurateurs. At least 20 new restaurants have opened in recent weeks or plan to open…

H Mart opens first Hawaii store and food hall

Hoping. Praying. Dreaming. Answering the anticipation of Asian food fans and halmonis waiting for America's largest Asian grocery chain to arrive in Hawaii, H Mart opened its doors at 9 a.m. today, May 28, to a socially distanced line that wrapped…

Two-minute takeout: Hide-chan Restaurant

It's still a delicious landscape out there! As we wait for Oahu restaurants to reopen for dine-in, we're trying takeout from places we've never been before. Hey everyone, it's Thomas again. I'm back for another Two-minute takeout. I was craving…

New Higoto brings elevated bento, musubi to Kaimuki

Higoto Japanese Eatery opened May 14, at a time when takeout is the only option for restaurants open during the pandemic. Luckily, takeout is exactly what Nobu Kurokawa, former owner of Kona Kai Sushi up the hill on the same…

New Midnight Hi delivers midnight munchies

Enormous chocolate chip cookies bigger than your head. Two pounds of assorted fries with tubs of dipping sauce. Tater tots covered with mac and cheese, sriracha aioli AND Flaming Hot Cheetos. It's clear that all inhibitions are lost when you order delivery…

Two-minute takeout: Cafe Maharani

It's still a delicious landscape out there! As we ride out this pandemic by staying at home, many of us are trying takeout from places we've never been before. Thomas Obungen discovers a longtime Moiliili institution that's new to him.  …

Two-minute takeout: Aburiya Ibushi

It's still a delicious landscape out there! As we ride out this pandemic by staying at home, many of us are trying takeout from places we've never been before. Thomas Obungen picks up dinner from Aburiya Ibushi, a new izakaya…