Myth: Oahu in a nutshell is a box of Spam and a strip of high end couture. For anyone who still believes that Oahu is nothing more than canned precooked meat and Japanese tourism knows nothing, nothing at all. Shortly after arriving here in what they call a “Hawaiian winter,” I was asking myself, “Is this a joke?” Their winter season is the “sandals and shorts” type of holiday. I always thought winters wouldn’t be complete without Santa and frost bitten decorations, but I’d take a fat and charmingly tan Santa on an island over a cold winter’s night any day. Unbeatably weather, clear blue waters, and did I mention the food? Both ethnic and diverse, Oahu’s reflection of island classics is a foodie’s paradise. First order of business on my gastro-tourism begins with none other than Hawaiian Poke.
Talk about an island classic. Hawaiian Poke is traditionally served with seaweed, garlic, and sesame oil, but modern revelations and refreshed palates have added Maui onions, wasabi, roe, and other sea creatures over the decades. This raw fish salad is served as an appetizer on the mainland, but here in Honolulu it is the main attraction at Ono Seafood. This recommendation came directly from a local friend who says this mom and pop seafood market is “THE” place to go for fresh poke. Oh man, am I glad I took his advice. The menu is straight to the point – raw fish any way you like it. Every bite of my combo bowl of Shoyu Ahi and Spicy Ahi with brown rice was indescribably authentic.
So please ditch any cravings of that mystery poke you get from happy hour menus. Let’s just say, you will never be ordering that again. Ono Seafood is best described as “off the beaten path” by locals. “Off the beaten path” is the phrase that best describes where to find these mouthwatering delights and to my surprise, this adjective always works. Serving Honolulu’s best rated poke to locals and the few curious tourists, this gem is hidden in the shade and literally on a beaten path with one picnic bench to share. Coconut juice with the pulp, picnic style with plastic utensils, and their fresh fish served the way you like it, wow, life doesn’t get better than this or as the locals would say, “it broke my mouth.”