Our fresh Hawaii Vacation Connection Podcast finds Aloha Bruce and Emmy Award-winning entertainer Lanai Tabura talk about the Hawaiian plate lunch, a Hawaii institution. After joking about how to pronounce “buffet”, our hosts get right into the unique Hawaii plate lunch experience. Bruce also thanks listeners for their podcast reviews on iTunes.
Lanai discusses the fact that food is a major part of the Hawaii vacation experience. He says that the plate lunch is rooted in immigrant culture and planation life reality. During those days, immigrants from many cultures mingled during lunchtime. It blended and bonded those communities, as they shared their “kaukau tins”, or lunchboxes. Plantation workers would eat together, each with tins with food from their own native cultures: Japan, China, Korea, the Phillipines, and Portugal.
Our hosts mention Rainbow Drive In, on of the oldest plate lunch establishments in Hawaii for Hawaiian plate lunch. Lanai discusses how Hawaii plantation lunches continue in plate lunches across the Aloha State. Aloha Bruce says that Hawaii visitors are best off avoiding familiar fast food establishments and seek out locally owned and operated plate lunch joints as a way to experience true Aloha State culture.
Lanai mentions places in Chinatown on Oahu that are award-winners like Pig & the Lady that continue the tradition of the plate lunch in modern ways at moderate prices. He also mentions Ethel’s in Kalihi, which was a favorite haunt of culinary legend and television superstar Anthony Bourdain when he visited Hawaii.
Liliha Bakery is also noted as one of the best places for a Hawaiian plate lunch. Bruce talks about how doing a local plate lunch is a more affordable option for visitors than dinner-focused restaurants to experience real Hawaii cuisine.
The bento is noted as a favorite for lunch. It is basically a fresh meal in a box that you can take to the beach or anywhere on the fly. Lanai talks about the history of the iconic ABC Stores found throughout Waikiki, where bentos are on offer. His knowledge of the history of the chain is insightful. He notes that the chain is owned locally and is the biggest seller of alcohol in Waikiki due to the high prices for drinks at hotels.
Aloha Bruce and Lanai remind viewers that they are both available to offer suggestions on where to eat lunch through their social media accounts. As Bruce says, “All we do is plan Hawaii vacations!”