Didn't I just walk into Daiei?

Photo taken 6.26.06

This may be the last time you will see this sign at the front of what is now officially called Don Quijote.

Daiei is now owned and operated by Don Quijote, a giant retail chain from Japan. Yet on my last visit a few days ago, the Daiei lightbox signs on the outside were still up. That ‘s almost appropriate though, as it reinforces what remains when you go inside: the same old worn-out fixtures and refrigerators, yet it’s still one of the best one-stop shops for asian/ethnic foods and general merchandise.

The only time I was reminded that this was – indeed – Don Quijote, was when I got to the check-out counter where a sign reminds customers to “Please make your checks payable to Don Quijote”. Then I was handed a receipt that looks like this….

There’s still a variety of food concessions fronting the store, including a Taco wagon parked in the lot.

Daiei has always had reasonable prices on imported groceries, including my must-have Bull Dog Tonkotsu sauce! I also like that you don’t need to pay an annual membership fee to shop there.

I hope the new owner preserves many of the positive aspects of Daiei, while hopefully giving it a nice renovation; something the Kaheka location could really use. Other than that, this store continues to be a great source for local, American and imported products.

10.27.06 post edit addition: Here’s how the new Don Quijote Kaheka street location looks with a new color scheme and lightbox sign…

Photo taken 10.27.06

The lightbox sign design is rather boring. They should’ve incorporated the whimsical “Don Pen” Penguin and stylized Don Quijote font used on their print ads and shopping carts like this…

They used the same Daiei orange-colored shopping carts, simply plastering DQ stickers over the old logo.

Don Quijote website

Goji Juice & Goji Berries

1 lb. bag of Goji Berries from Honolulu Chinatown shop only $5.00

Goji Juice is one of the latest health and marketing crazes in Hawaii, claiming to be a “Cure-All” product with a number of health benefits. It’s also claimed to be made of a specially harvested variety of Goji Berry from the Himalayas. It’s sold in ready-to-drink liquid form at $40 for 32 oz. with a Recommended dosage of 2-4 oz/day.

What many are NOT aware of, is that you can buy dried Goji Berries (unknown variety and origin) from several small shops right in Honolulu’s Chinatown for less than $5 a pound!

The dried Goji Berry is slightly sweet with a similar texture to a raisin, but more “berry-like” in flavor. It’s great if you add it with breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or eaten for a snack as is. It would probably also work well in cookies, although the heat might destroy some nutrients in it.

The researchers of Goji Juice say it has 4 polysaccharides (LB1, 2, 3 & 4) or “master molecules”, which serve as “directors” of body cells.

Here are some of the health benefits Goji JUICE marketers claim:

• Prevent Cancer
• Lower Blood Pressure
• Lower Cholesterol
• Enhance Libido
• Lose Weight
• Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
• Improve Fertility
• Improve Kidney Health
• Treat PMS
• Manage Diabetes
• Improve Memory
• Strenghten Muscles and Bones
• Extend Your Life
• Increase Energy
• Look and Feel Younger

Goji Juice is mighty tasty, and I know several people who claim to reap some health benefits from it. Still, for some, $40 might be hard to swallow.

I occasionally eat Goji Berries as snacks and can’t immediately claim any health benefits myself (I’m healthy as is), but my wallet sure feels alot more “healthy”. 🙂

Char Hung Sut Manapua and Dim Sum

Clockwise from top left: Sweet Rice Cake (white block-shaped item), Steamed Charsiu Manapua (cut in half), Pork Hash & Half Moon.

My sister’s favorite Manapua source has always been Char Hung Sut in Chinatown, and her recent visit back from the mainland was no exception. She bought over 3 dozen Manapua (95¢ ea.), Pork Hash and Half Moon, as well as some rice cake to take back with her for the family to taste a piece of home. Pictured above are a plated sample of that batch.

All these items freeze rather well in Ziplocs, only requiring a quick blast in the microwave (except for the rice cake) to enjoy them later. These items are all originally cooked STEAMED, so always cover them with a wet paper towel in the micro’ for that fresh-made flavor and texture.

Hana Hou photos added 3.13.07…

1 dozen Manapua and Pork Hash. My birthday present from the boss!

Notice this particular Manapua looked “bread-ee” (less meat), but the rest of the batch had more charsiu filling than this one. Whew!

Char Hung Sut logo stamp on box

Char Hung Sut
64 N Pauahi St Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Ph: (808) 538-3335

Boiled & Dried Peanuts

Boiled & Dried Peanuts (left) and Boiled Peanuts (right), purchased at Chris’s Peanut Shop. They’re sold in prepackaged (brown paper sack) units.

A fellow member at HawaiiThreads.com recently requested if anyone knew where to buy Boiled AND Dried Peanuts, clearly pointing out that this variety is not the same as the common boiled peanut.


Being a boiled peanut fan myself, I took some interest in this, going as far as asking a friend if he had any recommendations – which he pointed out these two place:

  • Chris’s Peanut Shop (808) 488-7187, located in Waimalu Shopping Center near Zippy’s. $3.50/pound.
  • The Peanut Shop (808)-523-8511, 1619 Liliha next to McDonald’s. $3.30/pound.

So my friend ventured the other day to Chris’s and brought me some to try out.

First let me start with Chris’s regular boiled peanuts. These are EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT… PERFECT! Nice balance of salt and “secret spice” and cooked to ‘al dente’ perfection. Not too wet or soggy, yet not too dry either. Just right! If Waimalu were closer to my home or workplace, I’d definately make that my one and only source for boiled peanuts. It’s that good!

Now the boiled and dried variety takes some getting used to – especially if you’re more familiar with the “wetness” of the regular boiled type.

At first glance, you might think this is simply an undercooked boiled peanut, but once you bite into it, it’s very evident it has indeed been cooked thoroughly then dehydrated. It has a nice semi-tender chew to them, which would probably work rather well with a cold beverage. Seasoning-wise, it tasted basically like a dehydrated version of the boiled peanuts.

One key advantage the boiled & dried version seems to have is a longer shelf life. Although the B&D peanuts were kept under refrigeration in the store, I’d take it you could leave these at room temperature much longer than the boiled peanuts.

You’ll have to try and compare the two yourself to decide which one you like better. I still prefer the boiled peanut.. and Chris’s Peanut Shop is EXCELLENT in that regard. Highly recommended!

In memory of Bob’s Peanuts @ Ward Farmer’s Market.

Li Hing Plum Candy

I was in Blockbuster video the other day, where oddly enough, they had this Ling Hing Plum Candy. What intrigued me more than the candy itself was the fact that the packaging had a YICK LUNG label attached to it.

Yick Lung was a household name for crackseed to generations of Hawaii folks, until only recently mostly being absent from local retail shelves.

Well, anything deserving of the Yick Lung brand had to be good, so I decided to buy a bottle ($1.25) and give it a try.

First, a fact to get straight is this product is NOT manuctured by Yick Lung. It’s branded as Valiente’s™, distributed by Star Pacific Trading and manufactured in Malaysia.

The tablets are shaped into what appears to be an extruded silhouette of a plum, measuring 7/16″x1/4″ each.

As for the taste, at first it may hit you as weird. Especially if you’re used to eating conventional Li Hing Mui plum seeds. As you suck on the tablet, you’re hit with a sweet-salty-tangy flavor that dissolves rather quickly into a powdery confection.

I’d say the manufacturer did a good job balancing the Li Hing Mui flavor level. Not overpowering. Just right. At first I thought is was sort of “starchy”, but after a few tablets, you become acclimated and just taste the Li Hing Mui.

There’s no question this will never replace real Li Hing Mui plum seeds, but it does a good job for what it’s worth. Enough that there’s probably kids out there who already love this stuff.

If you see it in the store, at least give it a try.

Ingredients: Plum Powder, Citric Acid, Glucose, Saccharin, Salt, Ascorbic Acid, FD&C Red 40.

Teddy's Bigger Burgers Waikiki

You can’t see it in this photo, but there are THREE patties stacked up inside this monster!

I took my nephew visiting from the mainland to Teddy’s in Waikiki this past week when he brought upon an interesting revelation to me. When I asked him what he ordered he told me the EIGHTEEN OUNCE MONSTER DOUBLE COMBO. I first questioned him in doubt and then was shocked to learn IT’S TRUE. There it was staring at me on the menu! Since when did Teddy’s offer this heavyweight?

The MONSTER DOUBLE COMBO is made up of THREE 6 oz. patties stacked on each other, served with the standard Super Sauce, fresh Lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, fries and drink. For $10.85 it really actually is a pretty good deal in comparison to other “gourmet” burger joints.

Amazingly my nephew wolfed down the entire sandwich, PLUS the heap of fries it came with. He compared it with several mainland burger outfits that don’t currently operate in Hawaii, giving it a thumbs up.

I ordered the rather “conservative” 7 oz. BIGGER COMBO (shown in next photo).

One thing you’ll certainly get with Teddy’s Burgers are FRESH ingredients. The lettuce and tomato are crisp, the lightly toasted bun is soft and supple and the hand-pattied ground chuck is flamed broiled on an open flame gas grill (not griddle!), with a perfectly seared, backyard style barbecue flavor.

Personally, I don’t care for their house-made SUPER SAUCE, so I kindly ask that they substitute my burger with plain mayonaise.
Their fries are also excellent. They’re hand-cut fairly thick, perfectly tender inside, slightly crisp outside, with just a light sprinkle of salt.

A good thing about Teddy’s is CONSISTENCY. The food quality and service is always the same.. EXCELLENT. This, in reference to the Waikiki and Hawaii Kai locations which I frequent. There’s also a Kailua location which I’ve never been to yet. During peak lunch and dinner hours they usually get slammed, which is the only time I’ve had slow service. Otherwise, the staff is very friendly and there’s lots of cool things to enjoy looking at in their restaurant. Teddy’s is highly recommended for burger lovers (just about everyone).


Teddy’s has three locations on Oahu in Kailua, Hawaii Kai and Waikiki.

Teddy’s Bigger Burger Website

Hana Hou photos and update added 3.13.07

Here’s some photos of the Waikiki restaurant that I was able to get (with permission) on a recent visit near closing time.

The order counter. All the prices on the menu include tax, so what you see is what you pay. Plus there’s a tip jar if you feel you’ve been given exceptional service.

There’s tables outside that door, as well as inside the restaurant. This location was formerly a Jack in the Box. It’s located on the Daimond Head end of Waikiki along Kapahulu ave., just across the Honolulu Zoo.

Whimsical retro decor adorns the entire establishment. Below this counter are logo T-Shirts and hats available for purchase.

The main dining area is adorned with this cool Waikiki map mural that their artist painted/airbrushed directly on the wall. This one section. Notice the names of the surf breaks offshore.

The other portion of the Waikiki map mural art, wrapping around the corner from the one shown above it.

On this hana hou visit, I ordered the Teriyaki Burger with Cheese. Excellent. Notice the rich, sweet teri’ sauce coating the bottom of the bun on the top cut. I’m a black pepper nut, as you can see it sprinkled liberally over everything.

On this hana hou visit, I ordered the Teriyaki Burger with Cheese. Excellent. Notice the rich, sweet teri’ sauce coating the bottom of the bun on the top cut. I’m a black pepper nut, as you can see it sprinkled liberally over everything.

I couldn’t finish that huge 7 oz. burger and fries, and ended up taking the rest home to finish later on the “second wind”. Notice the Blue Bunny brand, which is what they use to make their also popular milk shakes. A bit pricey, but thick, rich ‘n ono!

Bautista's Filipino Kitchen

Bautista’s Filipino Kitchen – Waikiki International Marketplace

I’ll admit, I’m no expert when it comes to Filipino food, but Bautista’s certainly gives me the impression that they’re doing it right.

Bautista’s has 3 locations on Oahu, but my many visits have been exclusively from their take-out counter located in the Waikiki International Marketplace, which is a nice convenience for the many local Filipinos who work in nearby hotels.

Clockwise: Pork Guisantes, Dinuguan, Longanisa and Pancit (Open image in new window for full-size view)

Their take-out selection includes all the favorites including Pork Adobo, Guisantes (pork & peas), Pinakbet, Longanisa (a tasty, slightly sweet sausage), Kari-kare, Lumpia, Longanisa and my favorite.. DINUGUAN!

My favorite is the Dinuguan, that brown stew located in front of the Longanisa Sausages on the right. Theirs is the “soupy” Tagalog style. Yum! You can simply point and choose (or ask about) which items you’re interested in.

Prices are very reasonable and portions are generous. Entrees are served simply with 2 scoops of white rice. You can also order items in containers ala carte.

Bautista’s Filipino Kitchen
2330 Kalakaua Ave in the International Market Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Ph: (808) 923-7220
850 Kamehameha Hwy in the Pearl City Shopping Center
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
Ph: (808) 455-3920
98-1005 Moanalua Rd in the Pearlridge Center
Uptown Aiea, Hawaii 96701
Ph: (808) 487-2234