Nothing can beat the scorching summer sun when it comes to cold desserts. The first bite of freshly shaved ice after a long day at the beach still gives me the sweetest adrenaline rush. To make this cold sensation last longer, we hurry and chisel down another slope of colorful flakes of snow, then another, and then another before it turns into a shapeless rainbow puddle. Despite the effort, a long-lasting effect seems to only work by punishing us with a freezing headache, or “the rocky horror picture show” of a colorful tongue. It was nothing but fun to show and share a bloody-red tongue or a bluish-purple tongue with each other when we were children.
One of the rituals that I would never skip on when I travel somewhere new, is to visit the local supermarkets. Regular shoppers, unfamiliar packaging, odd-looking fruits… Just being in the space makes me feel a little closer to the local culture. There are some regulars who dart into the section and pick up their usual fixes, most of the time, the popular items which are selling fast. I spend most of my time roaming around but it is always in the pre-cooked food section. As I step closer to the counter and ask for a sample, sometimes I get a jackpot, but on other times, I carry the aftertaste of an unaccustomed foreign flavor for the rest of the day. Either way, it still gives me an eye-opening moment for sure.
During the weekdays, this is the “hot” spot of a new construction activity in town. Tinkering sounds shower down from somewhere up in the sky and neon-yellow dots of workers in the still hollow concrete frames highlight how high they are going up.
On Saturday mornings, it is quite a contrast that you can munch on your favorite food and enjoy live music under the soaring blue sky at Kaka'ako Farmers' Market (Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon). The mauka-side parking lot of the Ward Warehouse is literally transformed into a long swath of farmland where you can find a load of Hawaii-grown bounty. It is amazing how much you can learn about Hawaii’s local farms and their sincere dedication to our well-being in a short casual stroll.
As is always the case with anywhere in the Islands, fresh crisp greens are the first-grab for many of us. A packaged green mix or neatly wrapped lettuce goes out fast here too. Pick some bunches of green lettuce and cabbages just arrived from the Big Island at the Kozen Farm’s tent. This is the only place in Oahu where you can taste Kozen’s vibrant greens grown in the rich soil of Waimea.
Shirokiya has been a staple at Ala Moana Center, known for its delicious Japanese food from bentos to ramen, ice cold beer, and a popular pau hana spot for the residents of O'ahu. When you enter Shirokiya, it's as if you left O'ahu for a brief moment and have been transported into the streets of Japan.
The new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, that opened earlier this summer, is home to 48 eateries and 900 seating squares with a design that mimics, mozen-machi, a town built near shrines and temples. The perfect place to meet friends, catch up, and enjoy a variety of delicacies.