Strawberry pie at Moku Kitchen — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
As a gritty industrial district for many years, the Kaka’ako space of Oahu, Hawaii is positioned just some miles outdoors of Waikiki and close to downtown Honolulu. It has since been reworked right into a full of life artwork and culinary vacation spot over the previous a number of years.
Vibrant and artsy, this city neighborhood has a cosmopolitan island vibe and now options trendy high-rise condominiums, loads of hip boutiques and eclectic outlets, enjoyable bars and breweries, and way more.
Meli James is the co-founder of Mana Up, a Hawaii-based initiative and accelerator program that helps many food-focused companies and different start-ups succeed. She believes Kaka’ako is a perfect location for artistic innovators and eating places.
She says, “Kaka’ako is a superb vacation spot for the neighborhood and vacationers to return collectively and assist artists in addition to entrepreneurs. The neighborhood is exclusive and emphasizes the significance of latest companies in a curated atmosphere. The various recently-built residences make it thrilling as a result of there’s plenty of pedestrian site visitors and regular stream of consumers – and that mixture is what’s actually wonderful concerning the space.”
The epicenter of the colourful meals scene on this a part of city is SALT at Our Kaka’ako complicated. It’s dwelling to a variety of bustling eating places, specialty shops, espresso outlets and informal cafes.
One of many space’s prime eating places, Moku Kitchen, options award-winning chef Peter Merriman’s seasonal variations of genuine upcountry specialties. This fashionable eatery has a full menu with many favorites that embody Kalua pork and pineapple hand-tossed pizza; contemporary island fish tacos made with mahi mahi; and steak frites with house-cut fries.
Don’t skip the perimeters, because the Jalapeno mashed potatoes are a best-seller. The home-made desserts embody strawberry cream pie and chocolate mac nut. (And this family-friendly spot has a youngsters’s menu, as properly.)
Poke bowl at Redfish — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
Redfish Poke bar by Foodland is a close-by Kaka’ako restaurant with an assortment of creative contemporary poke bowls, salads and different contemporary dishes, in addition to signature cocktails and extra. The pinnacle chef is Reid Matsumura, an Oahu native who creates a contemporary tackle island classics.
A number of widespread dishes embody okonomiyaki fries, made with scallions, furikake and pickled ginger; miso shiso wings with lemon and miso glaze; and lechon kawali, pork stomach with onion, soy, nuoc cham sauce and tomato.
For a conventional style of the islands, try Highway Inn Kaka’ako, a family-run restaurant that’s been in enterprise for the reason that Nineteen Forties. Their signature Hawaiian-style menu options a wide range of basic plates with a mix of zesty flavors, reminiscent of their Hawaiian moco, which is pork (or rooster) lau lau with beef stew gravy, topped with an egg and lomi salmon.
Their solar noodle fried yakisoba is a spicy stir fry with locally-made noodles and Spam, inexperienced onions and a fish cake. The plantation blended plate options pūlehu boneless brief ribs, grilled rooster and panko-crusted island fish that’s accompanied by a beneficiant portion of furikake rice.
Sizzling canine from Hank’s Haute Canine — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
This busy neighborhood is dwelling to different nice meals choices, too, reminiscent of Hank’s Haute Dogs, an informal spot with an array of gourmand scorching canine and toppings.
Kaka’ako can be a treasure trove of locally-made favorites to carry dwelling, such because the pleasant Lonohana Property Chocolate store, with a bean-to-bar philosophy. Their merchandise are made with all-natural, natural components. In case you’re craving some java or tea, try Morning Brew for contemporary, house-roasted beans, tea and different delectable treats.
Aloha Beer Firm exterior — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
Kaka’ako’s beer scene says “Aloha”
Kaka’ako is dwelling to a number of breweries inside strolling distance, together with Aloha Beer Company, a neighborhood scorching spot that draws repeat clients with a wide range of rotating handcrafted choices on faucet, made with native components. It additionally contains a new, East Coast-style pizzeria that serves up a choice of slices, entire pies, salads and different mild bites, reminiscent of wings and fries.
There’s room to maneuver round on this pet-friendly institution, with a number of indoor/outside areas, together with an expansive shaded beer backyard with seating for almost 100 friends – and a “secret” speakeasy with a whimsical, rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
The proprietor of Aloha Beer Firm, Dave Campbell, explains, “The neighborhood all the time had the ‘cool’ issue going for it – and it’s been rising. There’s a lot culinary expertise right here, and it’s improbable to see the companies and eating places within the neighborhood upping their sport through the years.”
He added that through the pandemic, the enterprise has continued to thrive: “Fortunately, we’ve truly doubled our gross sales over pre-COVID, so we’re actually blessed. The neighborhood has weathered it properly and tourism is absolutely coming again.”
Glass of beer at Aloha Beer Firm — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
This neighborhood can be dwelling to the Kaka’ako Farmers Market, which is held in Ward Village each Saturday morning. It’s all the time buzzing with a mess of contemporary meals merchandise and extra sourced from the local people, so it’s an excellent place to get an genuine “style” of the islands.
You’ll discover an abundance of contemporary, native fruits, greens and home made specialties, in addition to tasty baked items and different delectable choices. All of those vendor stalls are owned by locals, who’re enthusiastic about sharing their merchandise and honoring native Hawaiian tradition by the contemporary components.
Ward Village has loads of buying choices, too, with over 100 shops promoting artwork, jewellery, flowers and clothes, in addition to one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Mural at Kaka’ako, Oahu — Photograph courtesy of Marla Cimini
Artwork and extra in Kaka’ako
Along with the colourful meals neighborhood in Kaka’ako, the neighborhood can be a haven for artists – and also you’ll instantly discover the numerous large and memorable colourful murals painted on the perimeters of warehouses and different companies throughout your complete neighborhood.
All of that is courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii, a collective lead by Jasper Wong that invitations artists from the islands, in addition to throughout the globe, to brighten the constructions yearly. At present, there are a mess of splashy murals adorning this space – and you’ll simply spend a couple of hours wandering and admiring the unimaginable (and really Instagrammable) road artwork.
In case you can’t get sufficient of the Pow Wow art work, you’re in luck! Go to the island’s Bishop Museum to see the brand new exhibit, “POW! WOW! The First Decade: From Hawaii to the World” (Could 2021 – September 2021). It celebrates the noteworthy artwork and the numerous artists who’ve contributed through the years.
Though Kaka’ako is an city space, it’s a fast stroll to the ocean. So, when you want to take a seashore break after eating right here, stroll over to the Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, an expansive area and a fantastic spot to chill out and easily benefit from the beautiful Hawaiian surroundings after exploring this fascinating neighborhood.