When planing a vacation to Hawaii, Chinatown is not normally on the regular tourist agendas. But, Hawaii has a large Asian culture and Honolulu’s Chinatown is a great place to explore and find some authentic Asian cuisine.
There are great restaurants and bakeries—(links to some of our favorites at the bottom of the post)–and lots of places to buy Chinatown trinkets.
Of course, Chinatown has markets selling the typical assortment of fishes, seafood, meat and vegetables–including things like frogs, abalone, and pig faces.
Chinatown is also a great place to get a deal on fruits and veggies. The prices in Chinatown are often much lower than the grocery stores. You can also find more exotic fruits in Chinatown including lychee, different types of bananas, and jackfruits.
We try to visit Chinatown in every city we visit–and our last trip to Chinatown in New York City was a little stressful. It was crowded, it was stinky and it was cold. The Honolulu Chinatown was none of those things. There were people around but not so many that we had to keep a close hold on the kids. The smells were fine and the weather was typical Hawaii–warm and breezy. It was a perfect start to our day…(and I got a pair of new shoes!)
A quick visit to Chinatown for snacks or lunch (or a dim sum breakfast) before setting out to see more of Hawaii is a great addition to any trip to the islands.
Some of our favorite Chinatown restaurants:
Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery: 1027 Maunakea Street A great place to stop for coconut mac nut candy, pork hash, moon cakes, and other Chinese treats.
Little Village Noodle House: 1113 Smith Street We have never had a bad meal here. Coconut shrimp is my favorite.
Legend Seafood Restaurant: 100 N. Beretania. Yum, Yum, Dim Sum! And, the best part is -they make it vegetarian using all sorts of imitation meat products. Even vegetarians can have sweet and sour “pork”.
Ba-Le Sandwich & Bakery: 150 North King Street. Ba-Le is one of my favorite places for lunch on Oahu. It is quick and healthy Vietnamese food and is fairly inexpensive. The tofu sandwich on a french roll is my favorite but the kids like the turkey croissants.