Hawaii

Sustainability Profile: Aikane Plantation Coffee Company

Kona coffee reigns supreme as Hawaii's most popular coffee. But (arguably) superior to Kona coffee is that which comes from the neighboring area of Ka'u. Valued for its smooth and delicate flavor and low acidity, Ka'u coffee is considered on the top coffees of the world and is even available as a Starbucks Reserve brew. One talented Hawaii coffee farm known for its Ka'u coffee is Aikane Coffee Plantation. You'll know their brand once you see their iconic purple packaging.

Located in the Ka'u region of Hawaii (bordering Kona), Aikane Coffee Plantation's first coffee trees were planted by owner Meryl Becker's great-grandfather in 1894 when he settled in the area to work in the sugar industry. In fact, many of the plantation’s current coffee trees are descendants of those first trees. Located far away from other coffee farms, there is little chance of cross-pollination. As a result, Aikane coffee remains a truly authentic old Hawaiian coffee.

Aikane Coffee Plantation Hawaii
Aikane Coffee Plantation Hawaii

By the Numbers

  • 1894 - Year when Aikane's first coffee tree was planted. 

  • 2 How many seeds are in one coffee berry. 

  • 8% Amount of coffee berries that have only 1 seed (peaberries). 

  • 70+ How many countries produce coffee. 

  • 15th Century - when coffee was first introduced. 

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The coffee cherries are handpicked, washed, and dried on site. They are roasted and packaged in eye-catching royal purple bags as whole beans or as ground coffee. A brewed cup of Aikane coffee is smooth and rich, lacking a strong acidic aftertaste. The coffee production process is truly green. No pesticides or chemicals are ever used, macadamia nut shells and coffee pulp are used as mulch, grazing sheep are used to keep the grass growth down, a catchment system catches rainwater, and electric solar panels supply all of the energy. The farm is also home to horses and donkeys and it is a visitation destination for tour groups. Aikane Plantation coffee is a premium product in the Japanese market, but it can be found in high-end restaurants in Hawaii as well as Shirokiya, Bishop Museum, Blue Hawaii Lifestyles, military commissaries, and select farmer’s markets.

*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

Sustainability Profile: Abalone and Natural Energy

The state of Hawaii operates NELHA, an innovative science and technology park located in Kona. It consists of 87-acres of land and 3,200-acres of water. Parcels of the land are leased to national and international businesses that cultivate abalone, ocean fish, lobsters, shrimp, sea horses, algae, alternative energy sources, and bottled water. NELHA was the site of the first successful Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant in the world. This remarkable technique uses the difference between deep ocean water and warm surface water to create electrical power. One of the many uses of OTEC is to stimulate growing conditions for ocean plants and animals so that they may be cultivated on land.

NELHA By the Numbers

  • 87 Acres of land encompassing NELHA. 
  • 40 Enterprises located on NELHA property. 
  • 3,000 Feet deep: how far deep ocean water is extracted from. 
  • 1974 The year when NELHA's HOST Park was created. 
  • 3,200 Acres of water on NELHA property. 
Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii
Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii

 

Big Island Abalone Corporation

One of the businesses leasing 10-acres of land from NELHA is the Big Island Abalone Company. They produce over 100,000 pounds of abalone each year for consumption in Hawaii, on the mainland, and in Asia. The objective of the farm is to stimulate the positive elements of the natural ocean environment in which abalone can flourish by harnessing a constant flow of cool, pure, nutrient rich seawater pumped from 3,000 feet deep in the ocean. The farm also cultivates a blend of seaweed on site to serve as food for the abalone; the seaweed heavily influences the taste, color, texture, and appearance of the abalone.

The abalone business is thriving in Kona because science and technology are able to utilize a natural, clean and renewable resource: the Pacific Ocean. 

Kona Hawaii Abalone

Kona Hawaii Abalone

*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

Sustainability Profile: Kuahiwi Ranch

Kuahiwi Ranch began in 1993 by the Galimba family just after the sugar cane industry on the Big Island shut down. The ranch is located on 10,000 acres in the southern-most tip of the island and is currently managed by founder Al Galimba and his daughter Michelle. There are 400 Kuahiwi cattle grazing the pasturelands and no antibiotics or artificial hormones are used to speed up their growth. The cattle are fed an all-natural plant-based supplementary feed consisting of wheat grain, wheat germ, barley, corn, and cottonseed. However, using this feed comes at a high cost to cattle ranchers in Hawaii as it takes resources to ship the feed over from the mainland. Indeed, even reducing transportation plays a big part in impacting sustainability in Hawaii.

Michelle Galimba encourages all food producers to form good relationships with the greater community. “We all need to help each other become more sustainable in our living.”

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*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

By the Numbers

  • 1993 Year the ranch was founded. 
  • 400 Free-ranging cattle on the ranch.
  • 10,000 Acres the ranch is comprised of. 
  • 100% Free of hormones and antibiotics.
  • 4 First original cows introduced to Hawaii. 

Sustainability Profile: Hamakua Heritage Mushrooms

Located on 33-acres in Laupahoehoe on the northwest side of the Big Island of Hawaii, Hamakua Heritage Farm consists of an indoor warehouse stretching 16,000 square feet. Owned by Bob and Janice Stanga, this farm grows gourmet mushrooms that are sold to Hawaii restaurants and supermarkets. Each week, the farm grows 4,000 pounds of grey oyster, pioppini, abalone, and alii mushrooms in thousands of jars in a sterile, climate-controlled environment.

Address: 36-221 Manowaiopae Homestead Road Laupahoehoe, Hawaii www.hamakuamushrooms.com

*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

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By the Numbers

  • 16,000 - Square footage of the Hamakua Heritage warehouse.

  • 4,000 Pounds of mushrooms grown.

  • 33 Acres of land Hamakua Heritage sits on.

  • 4 Types of mushrooms grown. 

  • 85% - How much of mushrooms are water. 

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Hamakua Heritage is one of only two farms in the USA that grows mushrooms in jars. The growing medium or substrate for the mushrooms consists of locally sourced eucalyptus wood, corn cobs, wheat grain, and water. No manure, gluten, pesticides, fertilizers or growth hormones are used. After the mushrooms are harvested, the natural growing medium is then recycled to local farmers and the jars are cleaned and reused; nothing is wasted.

In addition to fresh mushrooms, Hamakua Heritage also makes and sells mushroom-infused foods including mushroom cookies, crackers and tea, to name a few. They also have a section of the warehouse dedicated to hosting tours to teach visitors about the mushroom growing process as well as demonstrate some quick and easy ways to prepare mushroom dishes. There are also plans to further increase sustainability by adding solar panels and introducing shiitake mushroom growing logs, bokashi (fermented organic matter for composting) kits and mushroom growing kits for purchase by those looking to start their own home gardens.

Hamakua mushrooms are available in many local supermarkets including Foodland, Safeway, Times, Don Quijote, Costco, and Whole Foods.

Hamakua Heritage Farms mushrooms Hawaii
Hamakua Heritage Farms mushrooms Hawaii

Sustainability Profile: KTA Super Stores

If you've been to the Big Island, odds are you are very familiar with the island's popular local grocery store chain: KTA Super Stores. Headquartered in Hilo, KTA Super Stores is the largest network of supermarkets on Hawaii's Big Island. The chain of 5 stores began over 95 years ago as a small 500-square-foot dried goods store owned by Koichi and Taniguchi. Their stores strongly support the concept of selling Hawaii grown food. Added to this are the Hawaiian values of lokahi, or working together, and the Japanese value of kaizen, or striving for improvement. Together, these values are reflected in the KTA Mountain Apple brand of local foods.

KTA Super Stores Hawaii
KTA Super Stores Hawaii

Over 1,500 years ago, the mountain apple was one of the 24 plants brought to Hawaii by the Polynesian voyagers. Like taro, coconut, breadfruit, and banana, the mountain apple was fundamental for the survival of ancient Hawaiians. The following are some of the locally grown foods sold at the KTA: Meyer lemon, papaya, argula, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, herbs, cucumbers, kabocha pumpkin, watermelon, tangerine, and cilantro.

By the Numbers

  • 1916 - Year when KTA Super Stores started. 
  • 5 - Number of chain stores in Hawaii. 
  • 800 People employed by KTA Super Stores.
  • 1979 - Year when they became the first supermarket in Hawaii to use UPC barcode scanners.
  • 500 - Square footage of the original store. 

*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

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Beekeeping in Hawaii at UH Hilo on the Big Island

As part of a week-long road trip touring farms on the Big Island of Hawaii, we made a stop in Pana'ewa to learn about beekeeping. The University of Hawaii College of Agriculture at Hilo maintains an 110-acre agricultural farm where students put theory into practice with hands-on learning. They conduct educational projects in an area dubbed the Farm Laboratory where they study vegetables, fruits, greenhouse learning, hydroponics, aquaculture, forestry, raising livestock, equine science, and beekeeping. Our particular interest was in their latter program.

UH Hilo Beekeeping Program

  • 110-acres at the University of Hawaii at Hilo for agricultural use.
  • 2011 is the year of the inaugural Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong program.
  • $300 is the minimum cost to participate in the Adopt-a-Beehive program.
  • 40 beehives (about 500,000 bees) at UH Hilo.
  • 66 Pounds of pollen per year collected in one beehive.
beekeeping in Hawaii honey
beekeeping in Hawaii honey

UH Hilo is instrumental in bringing greater awareness to the plight of the honey bee on the Big Island. Recently, two major predators, the varroa mite and hive beetle, have been threatening the local bee population. As nature’s primary pollinators of plants and producers of one of the best natural sweeteners, honey bee protection is the main goal of the program. As a result, the Farm Laboratory is home to about 40 beehives making there around 500,000 bees in total. Students maintain the apiary as a way to apply what they learn in class.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by student intern Leslie Sugawa who would be our guide for the day. Afer learning about some beekeeping safety basics, we donned bee suits and went to closely observe the active beehives on campus. We watched her carefully interact with the beehives with a natural sage herb smoking gun to calm the bees. This is important to do before cracking open a beehive. She even pulled out an oozing chunk of fresh honeycomb for us to sample.

beekeeping in Hawaii honey
beekeeping in Hawaii honey

What does Hawaii honey taste like?

Similar to wine, the flavor of honey is impacted by the tastes of the land surrounding it. At UH Hilo, honey bees collect nectar from flowers and plants nearby, and the resulting flavor tends to be floral. Some Hawaii honey like that of UH Hilo is kept pure and traditional. However, some farmers like those of Rare Hawaiian Honey infuse theirs with natural fruits for unique flavors.

Where to find Hawaii honey

The Adopt A Beehive program only distributes honey to its sponsors and doesn't sell it to the public. Other forms of Hawaii such as the above-mentioned Rare Hawaiian Honey can be bought online.

There are several ways to learn about beekeeping at UH Hilo. The first is an option mainly for college students who can earn a Beekeeping Certificate. Non-university students can get involved by enrolling in a Continuing Education course on the Benefits of Beekeeping.  Another way to get involved is via the Adopt A Beehive project, which is sponsored by local Hawaii chef Alan Wong. This program is important to increase local awareness of the beekeeping process, understand the huge role that honeybees play in the agricultural process, and encourage sales of local Hawaiian honey.

*This is a multi-part installment as part of the Hawaii Sustainable Agriculture Project. Learn more about the project and the 12 participants here

UH Hilo Beekeeping Photos

 

Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

There is certainly no shortage of things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii. During a recent 7 day trip, we started in Hilo, went down to Volcanoes National Park, up to Kailua-Kona, inland to Waimea stopping by Hawi, back to the coast in Waipio Valley and Honokaa, and then back to Hilo. It was a nicely paced trip full of some of the best Airbnb stays we've had. Below are some highlights from the trip. To read about our food adventures, click here. Visit the full photo gallery here.

Mission: Explore and circle the entire Big Island of Hawaii.

  • 7 Days to explore the Big Island
  • 7 Towns we visited
  • 240 Miles driven
  • 3 Airbnb accommodations
  • 2 Hotel accommodations

Where to Stay on the Big Island

Accommodations are plentiful throughout the whole island, but options will vary depending on what area you're in. During our trip, we were able to find 3 Airbnb rentals in Waipio Valley, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Kailua-Kona. However, we didn't have any choice but hotels in Waimea and Hilo. Generally speaking, accommodations are pricey due to the mandatory hotel-tax. However, there are many affordable hostels in populated areas such as Hilo.

Big Island Hawaii map

Hilo

The largest city on the Big Island, Hilo is home to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation and the annual Merrie Monarch hula festival. It is also one of the least expensive cities in Hawaii to live in. I first visited Hilo almost exactly ten years ago at the age of sixteen to compete in a state canoe racing competition, and remember Hilo being extremely lush, but as a result very wet. Indeed, it was a little on the cloudy and rainy side during our stay in Hilo, but the 80-degree weather made it tolerable. Hilo is rather touristy with lots of small shops and restaurants along the Hilo Bay strip. Being more attracted to outdoor exploration, we didn't find Hilo too appealing beyond the food (ahhh, Cafe Pesto) and a quick sweep through the local Hilo Farmer's Market.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

The Big Island itself is made up of five volcanoes: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. The last three are still active, and the last two are located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This might be one of the United States' coolest national parks as it has two volcanoes within it: Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, and Mauna Loa, the most massive volcano in the world. The park is very easy to drive through and makes for a very scenic trip since the whole park has an extremely diverse landscape. From the lush, wet jungles near Thurston lava tube to the dry forest and rocky beaches, there are tons of calderas, crevices, craters, and geothermal vents to be explored. Lava flows can be seen in person, but this is not encouraged by the park and often requires long hikes across hot, dry volcanic rocks.

Most people visiting the Big Island have one thing on their agenda: to see lava from an active volcano. There are two popular yet pricey ways to do this: via a lava boat tour, or from above via a helicopter ride. We initially tried to book a lava boat tour, but the trip was canceled due to rough water. That left us with one final day on the Big Island, which was also my birthday, meaning lava had to be seen somehow. I ended up having my biggest dream fulfilled: I got to ride in a helicopter! And see lava. I admit the helicopter part might have been a little more exciting to me.

Hawaii Big Island lava volcano helicopter

Kailua-Kona

Considered to be the center of commerce and the tourism industry in West Hawaii, Kailua-Kona (aka Kona) is a relatively new town on the Big Island. It is also dry and hot compared to the likes of say Hilo. Besides the world-famous Kona coffee, the town is also known for being the start and finish location of the Ironman World Championship triathlon, which felt all too evident with the masses of cyclists and roadrunners we saw. Cruise through the waterfront to enjoy the tourist shops and restaurants or hele on to the larger chain stores--even Costco, Target, and Ross have arrived in Kona.

Kua Bay

A short drive away from Kona is scenic Kua Bay, also known as Maniniowali beach. With its pristine white sand and clear, glassy blue-green water, you could swear this is the beach said to exist only in dreams. The only con is the lack of shade, so it is recommended to bring your own umbrellas or tents if you plan to stay long.

Kailua Kona Kua Bay Hawaii

Puuhonua o Honaunau

Located just south of Kona is Puuhonua o Honaunau, this national historic park spans 180-acres. Histoically, it was once known as the place of refuge for ancient Hawaiian lawbreakers. Very quiet and peaceful, Honaunau has an almost meditative natural quality to it. Also in the park are the Royal Grounds where the ali'i (kings) once lived.

Ka Lae (South Point)

The southernmost point of the 50 United States happens to be on the Big Island of Hawaii. Registered as a National Historic Landmark District under the name South Point Complex, this area is a large rocky cliff with blue ocean below. Wind currents are extremely strong in this area, causing many of the trees to bend and practically grow horizontal. Many fishermen will hang out here to catch the plentiful red snapper and ulua. Occasionally, a brave cliff diver will take the plunge over the edge, although strong winds make it a dangerous sport in this area.

Hawaii Kaena Southern Most Point

Green Sand Beach

Also known as Papakolea or Mahana Beach, Green Sand Beach is in the Ka'u district of the Big Island. It is one of two green sand beaches in the entire world, the other located in the Galapagos Islands. Green sand is so unique that it is illegal to take any away with you. This is a beach that must be hiked to via a nice stretch through dusty sand dunes. Alternatively, you can opt to grab a ride with locals for a fee or take your own four-wheel drive, but it is (supposedly) illegal to do so. On the bright side, the hike is rather short and makes for great photos.

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach

One of many black sand beaches on the Big Island is the famous Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. The distinctly darker sand is created by lava bursting as it flowed into the ocean. Although these beaches are popular among tourists, it is dangerous to swim since the surrounding rocks are sharp. On the bright side, turtles love to beach themselves here, so it is common to see Hawksbill or green sea turtle on the shore. Just keep your distance as these turtles are endangered species that are protected by state law.

Hawaii green sea turtle

Waimea

After a couple days of frying ourselves in the intense heat of the Volcanoes National Park and Kona, we sought cooler climates. We retreated to the rainier north end of the Big Island. Located inland, Waimea is known for its ranches and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture. Characterized by lush rolling hills, the center of town is Parker Ranch.  the largest privately owned cattle ranch in the United States. Beyond visiting the ranch and driving around to view the hills and cattle, there isn't much to be done in Waimea. However, it is a very relaxing town thanks to the lack of touristy activities in the area.

Hawi

The charming town of Hawi is the biggest little town in North Kohala. Full of boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and coffee shops, Hawi is actually quite a small town but we were delighted to find a kava bar here to make for a chill afternoon after running out of things to do in Waimea. Not far from Hawi is the small town of Kapaau where you can find the original statue of King Kamehameha I.

Polulu Valley Lookout

While Ka Lae is the southernmost point of Hawaii, its opposite is North Kohala, the northernmost point of the island. Polulu (meaning 'long spear') Valley is the first of five majestic valleys stretching across the coast. The lookout spot offers a comprehensive view of the cliffs and coastline, but a hike to the bottom of the valley and the black sand beach below is possible. We didn't attempt it this time around, settling for the gorgeous view instead.

Big Island Hawaii vista mountain range

Waipio Valley and Honokaa

From Waimea, we made the short drive over to the Waipio Valley, which was once the capital and permanent residence of the early Hawaiian ali'i (kings). Given the rich beauty of the valley, it isn't hard to see why kings chose to live here. On the downside, getting to the valley is a feat in itself. The road leading to the valley floor gains 800 vertical feet in 0.6 miles with a 25% average grade. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed, but it's a risk to attempt going down the extremely narrow.

Interestingly, Waipio Valley is one of the only places in the United States where wild horses still roam. But a handful of domesticated horses are kept in stables for horseback rides. Much of the inland part of the valley is still occupied by locals who keep taro farms. The beach side is open to the public where visitors can enjoy the majestic black sand beach.

In Conclusion

Of all the islands in Hawaii, the Big Island is one of the best to visit if you're seeking a glimpse into its rustic history. Its large expanse offers a variety of climates and environments to discover without the throngs of tourists and developments that you'll find on other neighboring islands.

Big Island Photo Gallery

 

Where to Eat on the Big Island of Hawaii

There is certainly no shortage of delicious food to eat in Hawaii. Many of the restaurants on Oahu get the most fame, but the Big Island is also full of gems, given all of the lush farms around Hilo and Honokaa and bountiful cattle in Waimea. Being less familiar with the food and restaurant scene on the Big Island, I sought advice from my mother, who in turn wrote two pages full of recommendations on places to stay, shop, and of course, EAT. We took her advice from the very start upon our landing in Hilo, seeking out the place she says she "dreams of."

Cafe Pesto

An award-winning family restaurant, Cafe Pesto is considered an innovator in locally-sourced Hawaii cuisine. In one word, the food can best be described as fresh. From the lilikoi (passion fruit) juice to the crispy crab cakes and crunchy green salad, I couldn't believe how much flavor was bursting in my mouth during my first meal at Cafe Pesto in Hilo. During our week-long visit to the Big Island, we dined at Cafe Pesto four times, once driving all the way to Kawaihae from Waimea just for another taste. Having eaten the crab cake salad, mahi mahi sandwich, and sundried tomato pizza to name a few, each dish was equally as enchanting as the last. My mother was right--I officially dream of eating at this place.

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Kava, or Hawaiian 'awa

No trip to Hawaii is complete without sampling the local kava. In each major city of the Big Island, we had no trouble finding a kava bar and congregating among locals and travelers while sipping bowls. What is kava? Also known as 'awa, it is a tropical plant whose Latin name means "intoxicating pepper." It does indeed have a bit of an intoxicating effect when consumed, but nowhere near the effects of say alcohol. To consume kava, the roots of the kava plant are dried, powdered, and mixed with water. When consumed, the active ingredient in kava (kavalactone) has a soothing, relaxing effect on the mind and body. Kava may also cause numbness or tingling in the mouth, but nothing is permanent or severe. Here are a few notable kava bars we stopped at numerous times throughout our stay.

Hawaiian awa or kava
Hawaiian awa or kava

TEX Drive In

After a morning of horseback riding in the Waipio Valley, we asked our hosts where we could grab a bite to eat. The answer was overwhelmingly TEX Drive In, which reminded me that it had also been suggested by my mother. Located in the nearby town of Honoka'a, we grabbed lunch at TEX two days in a row, enthralled by their purely local Hawaiian menu. The menu focused on their famous burgers, but also listed local plate lunch favorites such as chicken katsu and Korean fried chicken.

By far their most famous tasty treats are the malasadas. Balls of yeast dough that are deep fried and coated with sugar, malasadas are the Portuguese donut and a favorite among Hawaii locals. Newer versions of the malasada now sell them filled with cremes, jams, and jellies, but in my opinion, the plain malasada or haupia (coconut creme) filled ones are hands down the best. TEX's malasadas certainly did not disappoint!

Malasada from Punalu'u Bake Shop
Malasada from Punalu'u Bake Shop

Punalu'u Bake Shop

Speaking of malasada, we would be remiss to not mention our stop at the Punalu'u Bake Shop. A 4-acre tropical estate, Punalu'u Bake Shop is conveniently located right between Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kailua-Kona. It made for a nice snack stop during our drive to Kona. The bake shop is renowned for its Hawaiian sweet bread, but this stop was for malasadas only. I ordered a taro malasada, expecting it to be filled with taro creme. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bread had taro flavoring, making it lighter, yet tasty all the same.

Waimea-Paniolo
Waimea-Paniolo

Village Burger

In the mountainous Big Island town of Waimea (or Kamuela), it's hard to navigate the town without seeing the influence of the Parker family. Its biggest form of influence in the Parker Ranch, one of the oldest ranches in the United States. Today, it is a working cattle ranch full of paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) producing lots of locally raised beef. The question that was on my mind was where can I taste some of this fresh beef? It wasn't until we were leaving Waimea at around dinner time that we happened to stop by Village Burger. Located in the Parker Ranch strip mall by Starbucks, I initially had my doubts until I dug into the delicious, juicy morsels. We shared the Kahua Ranch wagyu beef burger and the Hamakua mushroom burger, savoring every last bite.

Hawaii-aholehole at Seaside Restaurant in Hilo
Hawaii-aholehole at Seaside Restaurant in Hilo

Seaside Restaurant

For those who fancy seafood, a stop at Colin Nakagawa's Seaside Restaurant in Hilo is a must. The restaurant is located at the edge of 30 acres of natural fishponds, which is where Nakagawa raises 7 kinds of fish: mullet, aholehole, catfish, golden tilapia, rainbow trout, carp, and papio. When a fish is ordered in the restaurant, it is freshly caught from the "backyard" of sorts, and brought in to be prepared. You can't get fish much fresher than that. During my visit, I was curious about aholehole, a fish I hadn't heard of. Upon looking it up on my phone, I read that aholehole was a bony fish that resembled the freshwater sunfishes. Out of curiosity, I ordered it and received two whole medium-sized fish. They were lightly battered and deep fried, but overall the seasoning was very minimal, which wasn't quite to my tasting, although the flavor of the fish was nice and very distinct. I also wasn't a fan of the multitude of tiny bones within this fish. Still, a fantastic little restaurant with a great view and lots to be learned.

Aikane Coffee Plantation Big Island Hawaii
Aikane Coffee Plantation Big Island Hawaii

Cafe Kona de Pele

As Seattleites, it should come as no surprise that one of our primary objectives while in Kona was to drink LOTS of Kona coffee. It wasn't any trouble finding a place that served it, but we fell particularly in love with Cafe Kona de Pele. Located in the newer strip mall surrounded by corporate restaurants. The nice cafe serves not only coffee, but desserts, which are what initially attracted us to fill our coconut ice cream cravings. The coffee also proved to be tasty, coming from the Kona de Pele coffee farm in the Captain Cook region.

Are we missing any notable restaurants? Let us know if the comments below!