Editor’s Page: Gathering For Dinner Has Never Meant So Much For Us and Hawai‘i’s Restaurants

Welcome to our hale.


My family takes food seriously. Olympic judging seriously. When we were testing manju recipes for my sister’s wedding, my grandma handed out scorecards with multiple lines of criteria to be filled out, anonymously of course. We take notes during every Chinese takeout dinner: which dishes quickly disappeared, which we ordered too much of and which weren’t as good since the restaurant switched chefs. Planning staycations at rented beach houses usually begins with Excel spreadsheets detailing every meal down to who will bring each ingredient (and how many dishes it will be used for), tools needed and even when the leftovers will be served. The first time my husband, then boyfriend, watched my sisters and me divvy up the extra food after a get-together, the well-organized effort—every family goes home with a full 9-by-13-inch foil pan—impressed him so much that he took pictures.


When COVID-19 canceled our regular family meals, we parceled portions into takeout containers (which, of course, we all wash and keep), did drive-thru drop-offs, then exclaimed over favorite dishes and evaluated new ones through text or Zoom. It wasn’t the only change. Since I began working remotely, I have been home for dinner every night with my daughters. That’s something I haven’t been able to do for years.


Like so many, our lives together and our expressions of love often center around the table.


Like so many, our lives together and our expressions of love often center around the table. In times of uncertainty and instability, the comfort of the daily preparation is even more precious. And when days bleed into each other, the prospect of eating something new is that much more exciting.


Splash November Christi Young 2018 Editor

Photo: Karen DB Photography.

So, we decided to close out this most unusual year with a special combined December and January edition of HONOLULU, our Hale ‘Aina issue. Our tribute to Hawai‘i’s best restaurants, as chosen by our readers, comes after a rocky year for the industry. There is no better way to celebrate these award-winning places than by supporting them and the chefs, restaurateurs and bartenders who entice us to order. Food and dining editor Martha Cheng introduces us to the “Huge” team that’s actually expanded its menu as the number of people in its dining room shrank, while digital dining managing editor Mari Taketa shows us how our restaurateurs of the year turned their takeout menus into showcases for local ingredients and producers. Because we could all use a drink right now, editor at large Robbie Dingeman asked the experts for the right cocktail for those over it, exuberant and even flirty moments, and we have six tips to make you look legit at the Korean barbecue. (Hint: Always get lettuce.)


Wherever you plan to ring in the new year, here is a toast from me and my family. Thank you for picking up our magazine every month. Thank you for sending us your ideas and thoughts—managing editor Katrina Valcourt and I read and appreciate every word we receive in email, by letter or on social media. But most of all, thank you for allowing us the privilege of telling the stories of the people and places of Honolulu. This is for you. We can’t wait to see you next year.



Christi Young

Got a good story? Reach me at christiy@honolulumagazine.com


Read all of these stories in the December issue of HONOLULU Magazine. Available on newsstands in December, or purchase the issue at shop.honolulumagazine.com. Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.