*Photo courtesy of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau

Aloha and welcome to The Tasty Island!

A blog site of my experiences enjoying the wonderful food of Hawaii, with a focus on Honolulu on the island of Oahu. This includes recipes and reviews of eateries ranging from the neighborhood plate lunch stand to fine dining restaurants.

Comments are welcome and certainly appreciated, provided they are in good taste.

All reviews here are express personal opinions and not paid endorsements. All editorials and photographs are original work of this site, unless otherwise noted.

You are free to use any text copy, photos and/or intellectual content from this site, with or without permission, provided the intent you incorporate and/or display it are within the context and respect of this site, which is all about the GOOD NATURE of FOOD and EATING FOOD. At the same time, it would be nice if you link back to this site for reference to any content resourced from TheTastyIslandHawaii.com.

Mahalo for visiting,


The Tasty Island uses an informal rating system based on Hawaii’s very own Spam Musubi icon. Informal, meaning that the “Musubi Grade” isn’t mathematically averaged from total point scores on a set of various criteria, but simply by my overall impression of the restaurant, item or recipe at hand.

There’s undoubtedly other websites out there with the same or similar grade icon.  Still, it’s another fun, simple and easy way to identify with visitors that The Tasty Island truly has Hawaii in its heart.

The Tasty Island Spam Musubi Rating System:

  • (5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits or purchases. (Broke Da’ Mout’!)

  • (4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

  • (3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

  • (2) Good. I’m glad I tried it. (Ono)

  • (1) Average. (She Go)

Notice there isn’t any grade below average as I don’t want to go into “bashing” territory here.  If an item is included and is below average, I may make a note of it and that’s it. If it’s so bad that it reduces my entire impression of the product or restaurant, then that said place or product will simply not be qualified to be posted on this blogsite.

After all, this isn’t the “yucky” island, it’s The TASTY Island!

Quick facts about The Tasty Island blog site:

  • Established: June 8, 2006
  • Former domain as of 6/08/06: http://tastyisland.wordpress.com; new domain as of 10/17/09: http://www.tastyislandhawaii.com
  • Food categories: All ethnic flavors (as time permits)
  • Coverage area: Primarily Oahu, with additions from travels to the neighbor islands of Hawaii
  • Expected frequency of new posts: Weekly; sometimes more often than that, sometimes a bit longer
  • Who inspired you to do this? A school teacher
  • Why do you do this? A) I love to eat; and B)  I love to write
  • Cameras for photographs: Canon Powershot A510 & G7, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H5 (as of 9/14/08)
  • Contact: pomai<at>tastyislandhawaii<dot>com

Quick facts about Pomai

  • Born and raised on Oahu; originally from Kaneohe on da’ Windward side
  • Currently works, plays and resides in Honolulu
  • Attached, single male of Portuguese/German/English/Hawaiian ethnicity
  • Favorite Cuisine: Japanese and Pacific/Hawaii Regional, yet open to the world when it comes to food and life!
  • Contact: pomai<at>tastyislandhawaii<dot>com

The Tasty Island in the News:


91 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: » Blog of the Week: The Tasty Island

  2. OMW we have been looking for a place online where we can purchase different spices and foods such as Manapua. What are the chances of you selling online and shipping to the mainland? Great site by the way.

  3. Pomai,

    You awesome man! The pictures and stories are great. Keep up the good work. Please visit me at my new snack shop called KC Waffle Dog. I am at the Waikiki Shopping Plaza on the 3rd floor. Take a right off the elevator and keep walking to the back.

    Hope to see you soon, thanks for your support,

  4. Aloha Pomai:

    What a great job!!!!!

    I enjoyed the fabulous party for Nalani…your description of the food there was right on the button….and the entertainment was great.

    Aloha and congratulations for a job well done.

    Aunty Lei
    P.S. Met you when you were wee-high

  5. I can’t find a contact email for you. Please email me at josh[at]joshhaley.com. I have a quick question for you. Thanks brah.

  6. Oh dear, you have successfully made me drool over everything featured in this blog. I read all your posts and I want to book a flight to Hawaii this instant just for the food!

    Congratulations on such a great blog! I’ll be dropping by often! 😀

  7. Pomai,

    This is an awesome site.

    I’m glad to know/find someone who can celebrate the spam musubi.

    I LOVE local; food since I was brought-up on it.

    If you share recipes, I would like to give you some of mine. I’m not formally trained (I don’t even have the proper equipment for a truly functional kitchen), I just like good food, and cooking, for me, is a means to an end.

    I tried to share on H/T website, but people seem (and maybe it’s just me seeing things from a narrow perspective) to take things personally instead of extending themselves to attempt to understand information and share with others.

    I very much enjoyed & appreciated your contributions.

    Your stretching info in the diet thread should be a sticky post. I stretch because of a past spinal chord injury, and it reduces spasticity.

    ….and your input made you the lord of the airshow thread (great shots, Man! Well done) as far as I’m concerned. Maybe you’re just more active in the threads than other members are at the moment, but for all I can see in REAL contributions, I think that you are the heavy one who carrirs the threads.

    Your pal,


  8. Aloha Pomai,

    I just found your site while searching the web for images of the Limited Edition Hawaii SPAM can. I am from Hawaii, born and raised on Oahu and am currently living in London. I am throwing a SPAM party next Friday for a couple of friends and the star attraction of the party will be a platter of SPAM musubi.

    I love your site! It made me hungry! Thanks!


  9. Aloha from da Northwest! Former Oahu girl here enjoying your thoroughly informative posts and wonderful photos. My only complaint about your blog is that it makes my stomach growl. 😉

  10. Love your website. Especially the Spam Musubi ratings…
    You should check out MAC 24/7 in Waikiki. Its in the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio. Try one of their Mac Daddy Pancakes. They’re huge! Enough to feed 3 hungry people. Here’s their website if you want to see what they have : http://www.mac247waikiki.com/

  11. Does anyone know…or does anyone still have “Exchange” Juice cans?
    You remember that “orange” flavored concentrate that everyones tutu had in the pantry…the song: “exchange goes down,down, down..and a round, round, round….

    I’ve been looking for a picture a label, better yet a can. Does anyone know who use to make it?

    let me know, mahalo!

  12. Our softball girls team Kapaa High School Warriors on the island of Kauai would like to fundraise your sausage’s. How would we go about doing that? Can some one e-mail me a number where the person in charge can let me know about fundraising. We need to fundraise ASAP to go to Oahu for the State’s softball tournament.

    Jade Aguiar
    Team Mom

  13. The Blazin’ Steaks in Windward Mall Kaneohe is good but the customer service sucks. There was this young, local girl with piercings on her face who was so very, very rude. Even if they served filet mignon for $6 I wouldn’t go back.

  14. Wow, what an amazing site. Just found it today, it already placed in in my favorites. Thank you for your honesty and great visual pictures. I think a book is in your horizon. Keep on eating and blogging.


  15. Oh man, you make the mouth water looking at all that ono food. Mahalo for sharing the island taste. I will have to make a point of going to see the Bento Man. My sister’s were raised in that region. When I do get home from Germany every three years we always run by Hawaii Kai and this next time I will be sure to stop in and check out the ono grinds. Next time will be in the summer of 2010 for myself and my wife. Can’t get what you have there but my wife of German decent can whip up some great local dishes here in Germany too. Again, mahalo for the site and information. OK, let me clean off the saliva from the computer screen. \m/

  16. I discovered your blog looking for Puka Dog images. I am so impressed with this blog, it is a blog head and shoulders above the rest of it’s kind.
    It makes me miss the Islands so much. I am a new subscriber, and will be looking forward to the next adventures! Mahalo for all the hard work put into such a fantastic blog, I will bring attention to it on my StumbleUpon page.
    Jan Coello

  17. If I didn’t know any better , I thought my brother had a hand in this blog. You two should meet! Our family loves to cook and EAT!!!!

    Anybody have a macaroni salad recipe the way the okazu-ya’s make? I am a trained chef living on the East Coast and can duplicate just about everything, but haven’t figured out my beloved salad…

    Keep up the great work and I stay tuned…..I’m so home sick and hungry.

  18. Pomai,

    I’ve been living away from Hawaii for bout 3 years now and miss the food so much!!! I happened upon your website and it brought tears to my eyes! Everything looks so ono! 🙂 Thanks for the recipes and thanks for the beautiful work you put into this site!
    Aloha from St. Louis!

  19. Pomai,

    I got linked to your blog via “hapa | hale: modern & fresh finds from hawaii” blog. Oh my, awesome blog with phots that make this local girl living in LA hungry for ono kine’ grindz!! Keep up the good work, I will dreaming of the day I get on that jet again for HNL and my first stop is always Fukuya’s on King Street!

    Aloha from LA

  20. Pomai,

    Have you tried the Banana Pancakes at Hannara Restaurant
    86-078 Farrington Hwy Suite 101 in Makaha? Would love to see you comments on that place. Heard all the local teachers go there for snack

  21. Hi:

    I get to visit the Islands every few months, and some time back across from the McCully Shopping Center there was an Indonesian restaurant. I think it was the called “Bali Indonesia Restaurant”. The last time I was there the building was razed and there was a new building going up.
    My question is: Do you have any idea where the restaurant moved? Are there other Indonesian restaurants on the Island?
    I am enjoying reading your blog, and hope that you might be able to point me in the right direction. Thanks!
    All the best,
    Mark Schweer

  22. Hi Pomai,

    I am a fan of your blog. You write very well and take great pics too. I am inspired by how much detail you put into each post.

    May I ask what you do for your day job?

  23. What I know about Hawaii I learned from a trip there when I was 7 years old (1978) and from old Five-O reruns (Seasons 1-3 were the best).

    What I know about (Asian) cooking I learned from various family, my mom buying me a wok & Chinese cookbooks when I was a teenager, working at a Chinese fast-food joint in Tulsa, Oklahoma (with a muti-ethnic crew, heavy on the Vietnamese), a (native) Japanese girlfriend I should have married, and the internet.

    Now, between your blog (for inspiration and recipes), Tony Bourdain proclaiming that he would want Spam Masubi when stoned at 2:00 in the morning, and…


    I have really embraced Hawaiian cuisine! (When you think about the multi-ethnic influences, the food of Hawaii is one of America’s Creole cuisines.) For feeding my family and I, it has been a godsend.

    Affordable, easy, filling, healthy (somewhat). Here in Austin, Texas, we have a good sized Asian community (Viet, Chinese & Korean mostly), so ingredients are no problem.

    Thank you SO MUCH for your blog! Don’t quit! Mahalo, brudah!

  24. Hey Pomai,

    Props to you and you’re blog site man.

    I was searching for info. on saimin and stumbled across you’re piece re” “Saimin Survival Kit”. Spent the next 3-4 hours reading various blogs.

    Well done.


  25. Hey Pomai,

    Wanted to give a shoutout to your blog, very nice pictures and I’ve gotten some great ideas on places to go from your site. Keep it coming!! It is great to see all these Oahu food blogs so that everyone can get ideas 🙂

    K Den,

  26. Hey Pomai,

    just found your blog yesterday (feb. 20, 2009) when I did a search on Queen Street Cafe and came with your dec. 14, 2008 chowdowns reivew. a co-worker was just there and I wanted to know what the ruckus mentioned about that place and thus the search for that store.

    but i noticed today you have the same place listed with another write-up on Queen Street Cafe again on jan. 13, 2009 – can’t keep up with you. great job on write-ups of this place.

    actually great job on this site – i like your detail description of each item, and thoroughness in covering all items. comments on other things that go with the meal and may not have any bearing on the food itself adds to the correct ambiance.

    and posting of prices is most important as we all have our economic limits on food dishes no matter our economic level. even the super wealthy can be seen at popular hole-in-the-wall shops.

    i have saved your site in my favorites and will have to catch up on your past posts to see where i am missing some good restaurants to visit.

    keep up the good work, and keep blogging…..


  27. Dear Pomai,

    This is THE best Hawaii-based food blog I have ever read!

    I have to say that you are doing an absolutely wonderful job – your photos are excellent and your writing is entertaining and very absorbing – please keep up the truly fantastic work. (I was born & raised in Hawaii, but came to NY 10+ years ago to attend law school and never left. This fabulous site is my little “fix” of the one thing I miss most about living in Hawaii…THE FOOD!)

    Take care & all the best to you!

  28. Started reading this great blog over a year ago. Live in Maryland and love to catch up with the islands through your tasty treats! Consider checking out Boots & Kimo’s in Kailua. The “Mac Nut Sauce” is like crack for foodies! Wow! Worth the airfare alone! Aloha & Mahalo!

  29. My wife and I moved to Oahu a few years ago. I use your blog for reviews and to find the possible next local food destination. Love the entries with plenty of pictures! Keep up the great work!

  30. Greetings Pomai…I knew you were a blessing the moment you walked in my Memphis closet….your name as I mentioned, is so befitting!…A new customer came in yesterday due to the great writing and credibility your site has achieved….Mahalo nui loa…come eat with Mrs. Hog, anytime!
    Aloha…you are a hoku!


  31. Pomai,

    Your blog is great! Wondering if I can interview you for a marketing assignment? It’ll only take 30 minutes and can be done at your convenience. Please let me know through email.


  32. Hey Pomai!
    Awesome blog! I’m the Community Manager for Yelp Honolulu! Stay in touch and please add me to your mailing list if you have one. You should come out to a Yelp event sometime!

  33. Pomai, I stumbled upon Tasty Island while researching places to eat for our trip to Maui (from da Mainland). Your blog has been super helpful — we’re now taking home No-Ka-Oi Portuguese sausage and Iwamoto Natto undried saimin b/c of you! Didn’t make it to Sam Sato’s but can’t wait to try your version of dry mein. Mahalo!

  34. I am sooo hungry now after reading your words and seeing your pictures, and I already ate my dinner. If I close my eyes and wish really hard to be in Hawaii right now eating at some of these yummy places, will I be there when I open them. Mahalo for taking me to these places. Can hardly wait for my next visit to try ’em out.

  35. Hello Pomai:

    Are you aware of any Indonesian restaurants on Oahu now? There used to be the Bali Indonesia Restaurant across from McCully Shopping Plaza, but the last time I was there, it was gone…..

    Know of any others? Plans to critique any soon?

    I’ve been enjoying your site…..

    All the best,


  36. Mark, we had lunch at Bali Indonesian Restaurant once a long time ago. I can’t remember much about the food though, except that it was a buffet and it was really cheap. Like just $6, or something like that. That property is now a storage facility. Ugh.
    Looking at the directory on Yelp, there’s currently no Honolulu listings for Indonesian restaurants. If I find any more information, I’ll get back to you.

  37. Pomai, I stumbled upon Tasty Island while researching places to eat for our trip to Maui (from da Mainland). Your blog has been super helpful — we’re now taking home No-Ka-Oi Portuguese sausage and Iwamoto Natto undried saimin b/c of you! Didn’t make it to Sam Sato’s but can’t wait to try your version of dry mein. Mahalo!

  38. great blog!!
    I like to see your report:-)
    I lived in Honolulu 2years ago.
    When I lived there, I always go out with my roommate to try out
    the food one restaurant after another.

    By the way,can you speak Japanese?

  39. Dear Pomai,

    I just want to say that I’ve love your food blog.  I’ve been following it for a few years now.  I’m a mainlander but visit the islands when I can…this time I’ll be visiting the big island for a week.  I’ve been doing my research on restaurants, of course, but do you have any places to suggest?  Places that are around 4-5 spam musubi’s?   

  40. This is one of the greatest food sites EVER!! I’m in the Marines and been trying to get home for about 3 years now but I never have a chance, Decided to explain to one of my haole friends just how awesome a spam musubi really is and BLAM! You have a rating scale that revolves around it! I got off of a 26 hour duty and ended up cruzin your site for about 2 hours. The next time you go to the BI you gotta write a review on Tex malasada’s and post some pics! Aloha man and thanks for eating!

  41. Hi Pomai:

    I’m planning to head back to oahu come november and try out all the places i’ve listed from your website. I have about a dozen i’ve wanted to try in counting.

    Unfortunetly alot of your awesome pictures are no longer available (pictures start disappearing sometime april 2009). Do you plan on reposting those pictures anytime soon?



  42. Aloha Danny,

    I changed my domain name and site host about that time, and am still going through my archives fixing broken photo links. Don’t worry, I still have all the photos. A reader hooked me up with a WordPress plug-in that should be a quick fix. I’ll get to that ASAP.

  43. Keone, big mahalo for the compliments, and even bigger mahalo for serving our great country! My brother-in-law used to be stationed at KMCAS (when it was called that).

  44. You’re the best Pomai. I look forward to reading your blog everyday. It’s not only informative but also very entertaining. Just great! I have another quick question and I know you can answer it readily with no problem.
    I’ve always wondered how Manapua outlets like Libbys, Chun Wah Kam, Royal Kitchen, and Char Hung Sut have always manged to get their Manapua perfectly “round” and smooth. For the lack of a better term or technique are they shaping their manapua by hand or is it the machinery they’re using? Curious my brother. Just being curious. Mahalo plenty Pomai.

  45. Paki, I honestly can’t answer that question, as every time I’ve gone to the manapua shops, all the manapuas were already made and sitting in warmers ready for sale. You’d think with the volume they produce and uniformity of each manapua, that it is a machine doing it.

    Now you have me inspired to do another “Unwrapped” style video of them making manapua, like I did of the Mandoo machine at Grant’s Grill Mandoo Express. I’ll hit-up Char Hung Sut or Chun Wah Kam and see if they’ll let me do a video shoot.

  46. Looking forward to that video if you can make it happen Pomai. I remain confident that you’ll be able to address an age old curiosity that I’ve had for the longest time. Mahalo plenty Pomai!

  47. Just found your site and LOVE it!!! I have been craving some good plate lunches. its been about 12 years since my last trip to Oahu and this site makes it seem like yesterday. One question I have is that all of the pictures for 2006-09 are not showing up. Would really love to see all the old pictures. Your pictures are amazingly clear sometimes I swear I can actually smell he food. Thanks for the great site and cant wait to see more reviews, ALOHA!

  48. wow uncle pomai! your blog is becoming big eh braddah!? i love it! totally amazing. & i love your costume haha. im jeealous of your blog ): auntie ericas floral arrangments look great as well.

    -summer ❤ ;D

  49. Didn’t realize there was a new domain for this website…all this time I had the old one bookmarked…and today, when I went to that site, it said the website was no longer available! I panicked, temporarily! Hahaha…luckily I (re)found you guys. All is well in the world again. I enjoy this website — local foodies unite! Thanks!

  50. hi good morning i really love your websites specially all the goodie all do can i ask you a question is that your real name pomai because in my country sound like food please change your name lol joke joke

  51. aloha, i enjoy your reviews. what going on, you dropped out for awhile in dec/jan and now not a word since jan 23. do you plan on returning? milton

  52. I need a recommendation for a place that makes good chicken katsu. Our favorite place (BBQ Town) in Aina Haina is closed on Sundays and I need a pan of katsu for a party tomorrow…any help?


  53. Jacqui, it sounds like you’re in East Oahu, where there’s a number of options. In Koko Marina there’s Loco Moco Drive Inn and Zippy’s, both of whom offer catering pans and platters.

    Then in Hawaii Shopping Center, there’s L&L Drive Inn, who also offers catering pans in various serving sizes. I’ve tried both Zippy’s and L&L’s catered chicken katsu, and was never disappointed. They were both surprisingly decently moist inside and nice and golden crispy on the outside. I’d give the lean to Zippy’s, as they have a better Katsu sauce, and also a better presentation, as they use a round plastic platter that looks more presentable (versus an aluminum pan).

    STILL, whichever one you choose, I highly recommend you go to the supermarket and buy the BULL DOG Tonkatsu Sauce and serve your guests that. It will make any Chicken Katsu (providing it’s not overcooked and dried-out and/or soggy) GREAT!

  54. Hi Jerry

    Arnold couldnt get away from the Movie Set last weekend.

    Whats your tetl # so he can set a time to meet with you about the Carshows?

    my# 381-4683

  55. I’d be willing to pitch in a couple of bucks to make the opihi tasting happen for you Pomai.

    Set up a paypal account and I will donate.

  56. Love your blog! And yes, my mouth watered when I saw your li hing pickled mango post. Mango don’t grow so good in Hilo so Mom makes li hing pickled pipinola. I did a blog post on pipinola once, but I haven’t posted the li hing pickled pipinola recipe yet. Eventually . . .

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