It’s my stomach that lets me know when the Punahou Carnival’s coming up. It rumbles at just the thought of all the local favorites that’ll be cooking up in my part of town. Malasadas, teri burgers and Portuguese bean soup top the list of most popular menu items, but for me, it’s the fried noodles that keep me coming back every year.

Fried anything sounds so bad for you but oh man! This dish is definitely worth the splurge on calories – even if just for that one weekend in February. The tasty conglomeration of noodles, veggies and meats has been a mainstay among Hawaii’s local food selection for decades.

I’m guessing it came from the plantation days, when immigrants contributed their recipes from home to the melting pot of the Pacific. Now, there’s a local twist to most of those recipes, and at the carnival, that “twist” to the fried noodles has got to be in the sauce! Really makes it a stand out from other places serving this same dish; that’s for sure.

I know I’m not the only one who waits all year to eat the Punahou fried noodles because no matter what time of day, the line’s always long. It’s so good that most customers will start shoveling down noodles even before leaving the line. Not to mention, the double-fisting that’s going on; getting one bowl just isn’t enough.

The food is definitely one of the special aspects of Hawaii’s carnivals. Unlike the typical carnival foods – like pizza and hot dogs – local carnivals offer a wide variety to choose from. It’s the perfect chance for visitors to try all the local favorites while supporting local businesses, schools and events.

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