As a gritty industrial district for many years, the Kaka’ako space of Oahu, Hawaii is situated only a few miles outdoors of Waikiki and close to downtown Honolulu. It has since been remodeled right into a energetic 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 fashionable high-rise condominiums, lots of hip boutiques and eclectic outlets, enjoyable bars and breweries, and rather 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 great location for artistic innovators and eating places.
She says, “Kaka’ako is a great destination for the community and tourists to come together and support artists as well as entrepreneurs. The neighborhood is unique and emphasizes the importance of new businesses in a curated environment. The many recently-built residences make it exciting because there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic and steady stream of customers – and that combination is what’s really amazing about the area.”
The epicenter of the vibrant food scene on this half of city is SALT at Our Kaka’ako complicated. It’s dwelling to a quantity of bustling eating places, specialty shops, espresso outlets and informal cafes.
One of the space’s prime eating places, Moku Kitchen, options award-winning chef Peter Merriman’s seasonal variations of genuine upcountry specialties. This trendy eatery has a full menu with many favorites that embrace Kalua pork and pineapple hand-tossed pizza; recent island fish tacos made with mahi mahi; and steak frites with house-cut fries.
Don’t skip the sides, as the Jalapeno mashed potatoes are a best-seller. The house-made desserts embrace strawberry cream pie and chocolate mac nut. (And this family-friendly spot has a kids’s menu, as effectively.)
Redfish Poke bar by Foodland is a close-by Kaka’ako restaurant with an assortment of ingenious recent poke bowls, salads and different recent dishes, in addition to signature cocktails and extra. The head chef is Reid Matsumura, an Oahu native who creates a contemporary tackle island classics.
Several standard dishes embrace 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, take a look at Highway Inn Kaka’ako, a family-run restaurant that’s been in enterprise since the Nineteen Forties. Their signature Hawaiian-style menu encompasses a selection of basic plates with a mix of zesty flavors, similar to 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 combined plate options pūlehu boneless brief ribs, grilled rooster and panko-crusted island fish that’s accompanied by a beneficiant portion of furikake rice.
This busy neighborhood is dwelling to different nice food choices, too, similar to Hank’s Haute Dogs, an informal spot with an array of gourmand sizzling canines and toppings.
Kaka’ako is additionally a treasure trove of locally-made favorites to convey dwelling, similar to the pleasant Lonohana Estate Chocolate store, with a bean-to-bar philosophy. Their merchandise are made with all-natural, natural substances. If you are craving some java or tea, take a look at Morning Brew for recent, house-roasted beans, tea and different delectable treats.
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 sizzling spot that pulls repeat prospects with a spread of rotating handcrafted choices on faucet, made with native substances. It additionally encompasses a new, East Coast-style pizzeria that serves up a range of slices, complete pies, salads and different gentle bites, similar to wings and fries.
There’s room to maneuver round on this pet-friendly institution, with a number of indoor/out of doors 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 Company, Dave Campbell, explains, “The neighborhood always had the ‘cool’ factor going for it – and it’s been growing. There’s so much culinary talent here, and it’s fantastic to see the businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood upping their game over the years.”
He added that in the pandemic, the enterprise has continued to thrive: “Thankfully, we’ve actually doubled our sales over pre-COVID, so we’re really blessed. The neighborhood has weathered it well and tourism is really coming back.”
This neighborhood is additionally 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 recent food merchandise and extra sourced from the local people, so it’s a great place to get an genuine “taste” of the islands.
You’ll discover an abundance of recent, native fruits, greens and do-it-yourself specialties, in addition to tasty baked items and different delectable choices. All of these vendor stalls are owned by locals, who’re keen about sharing their merchandise and honoring native Hawaiian tradition by way of the recent substances.
Ward Village has lots of purchasing choices, too, with over 100 shops promoting artwork, jewellery, flowers and clothes, in addition to one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Art and extra in Kaka’ako
In addition to the vibrant food neighborhood in Kaka’ako, the neighborhood is additionally a haven for artists – and also you’ll instantly discover the many large and memorable colourful murals painted on the sides of warehouses and different companies across the whole neighborhood.
All of this is courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii, a collective lead by Jasper Wong that invitations artists from the islands, in addition to across the globe, to embellish the buildings yearly. Currently, there are a mess of splashy murals adorning this space – and you may simply spend just a few hours wandering and admiring the unbelievable (and really Instagrammable) avenue artwork.
If you may’t get sufficient of the Pow Wow paintings, you’re in luck! Visit the island’s Bishop Museum to see the new exhibit, “POW! WOW! The First Decade: From Hawaii to the World” (May 2021 – September 2021). It celebrates the noteworthy artwork and the many artists who’ve contributed over the years.
Although Kaka’ako is an city space, it’s a fast stroll to the ocean. So, should you want to take a seashore break after eating right here, stroll over to the Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, an expansive house and an excellent spot to loosen up and easily take pleasure in the pretty Hawaiian surroundings after exploring this fascinating neighborhood.