We didn't love. . . that the only seating available was in the sun, so eating on-site wasn't very pleasant.
Diamond Head Market & Grill: 3158 Monsarrat Ave., Honolulu; (808) 732-0077, www.diamondheadmarket.com.
Farmers Open Market
Step right up to the produce stand: The state's best farmers market takes place from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at Kapiolani Community College, on the back side of Diamond Head Crater (a 10-minute drive from Waikiki). You don't need access to a kitchen to appreciate the bounty here. The booths include many stocked with prepared foods. On the Saturday morning we visited, we ogled blue lotus oxtail soup ($5), garlic shrimp "scampi" ($7), a beef curry bento box ($6) and ended with a blueberry bread pudding with vanilla sauce ($3).
We loved . . . becoming a part of this colorful community event.
We didn't love . . . trying to find a parking place.
Farmers Open Market, 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu.
North Shore shrimp trucks
Prices: $8 to $11
Cast a wide net for lunch or dinner the next time you drive to Oahu's North Shore. Scattered along Kamehameha Highway, from Haleiwa to Kahuku, are trucks selling barbecued shrimp, chicken and steak plates, most served Hawaiian plate-lunch style, with steamed white rice and salad. One of the first of the dozen or so trucks you'll encounter is Big Wave Shrimp Co., where a billboard of a surfboard-riding cartoon shrimp welcomes customers. You may run into the crew of the TV show "Lost" here; they film nearby and drop in occasionally for lunch. Several more shrimp trucks, some of them converted RVs, can be found past Turtle Bay Resort, including Giovanni's Aloha Shrimp, one of the best known. It's at 59-565 Kamehameha Highway.
We loved. . . the convenience and price.
We didn't love. . . the flies that wanted to share our lunch.
Shrimp trucks, Kamehameha Highway, North Shore.
Price: $6 to $18
If you're planning to drive around the island, don't miss Pah Ke's in suburban Kaneohe. It's in an aging strip mall. The restaurant itself looks much like any local Chinese cookery. But Pah Ke's modest surroundings can't hide the creativity of chef Raymond Siu. Siu specializes in Chinese-Hawaiian regional cuisine, using as many local ingredients as possible. Pah Ke has an extensive menu -- 148 items -- but that doesn't stop Siu. Tell him the kinds of things you like, and he'll whip up something special for you.
We loved . . . the attitude: You name it, they make it for you.
We didn't love . . . the ragged commercial neighborhood.
Pah Ke's, 46018 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe; (808) 235-4505.
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