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Oahu 2015 – Day 4 Part 1: KCC Farmer’s Market, Hiking Koko Head, House of Pure Aloha

Today it was Saturday and on every Oahu vacation we always go to the KCC Farmer’s Market first thing Saturday morning. We always enjoy sampling local foods from the different vendors and stalls.. I remembered to bring my mason jar from Waimanalo Country Farms so I could get a refill of lemonade for 4 bucks.

Entering the farmer’s market

It’s best to go early (at 7am when they open) so you can get a decent parking spot close to the market. The morning had some sun showers and it was off and on rain. We didn’t mind though. We started out by getting two orders of the grilled Big Island Abalone (4 minis to an order) – I added some soy sauce, lemon juice and butter. The abalone is very tender which is pretty rare to find since it is a naturally tough sea creature. It made for a very tasty start to our morning!

Fresh Kona abalone

We went around and sampled some locally made products…breads, cookies, jams, honey, dressings and dips. I got my refill of li hing lemonade and happily sipped it throughout the morning.

Li hing lemonade from Waimanalo Country Farms

We also got an order of these huge grilled shrimp (more like a prawn). They were head-on and shell on so they were pretty hard to eat, especially standing up, but they were really good.

Wild-caught head-on shrimp

The heads are the best part! Suck out all the juices…mmm.

We sat down to share a bowl of noodles at our favorite, The Pig & The Lady (the third time on this trip we’re eating at a Pig & The Lady establishment!) We shared an order of the chicken pho. Sitting down, we had a lovely chat with some locals who were talking about their recent trip to NYC and we were sharing stories about Hawaii. Someone told me about a takeout spot called Your Kitchen which I had heard of before. She said it was her favorite bento/lunch place. Sadly we never made it there on our trip but we will next time!

Chicken pho with fresh herbs and poached egg

After our satisfying breakfast at the KCC, we drove towards Hawaii Kai and headed to Koko Head Crater. We were going to attempt this hike again. It’s more than 1000 steps to the top on an old railroad track. We first did it in 2012 – and it was hard, really hard. It’s like climbing flights and flights of stairs in the heat. It was probably a tad better this time but still pretty hard. I wore trail shoes which I think helped get some traction as I remember the first time I wore regular sneakers and slipped a few times. Definitely bring lots of water! The views as you get higher and higher are amazing. Definitely worth the hike. Lot’s of people were doing this hike, both local and visitors. Luckily for us it was still overcast as we went up so we didn’t have the sun blazing down our backs. The sun came back up as we headed back down though so by the time we got back to the parking lot we were sweating buckets. I guess we needed this after all the food we’ve been eating on this trip!

Hiking up this little baby today…

It’s a long way up…and back down.

Take frequent breaks and drink lots of water!

Beautiful views though!

We decided to get a treat nearby at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, which is a shave ice/ice cream spot specializing in natural ingredients. We came here after the first time we climbed Koko Head so I guess now it is tradition.  We got the green tea shave ice with azuki bean, ice cream, and mochi. It was really yummy and refreshing – the perfect treat after a strenuous hike.

Inside Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha (aka HOPA)

Shave ice with natural flavors from Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha

After our extremely active morning, we headed back to Waikiki to rest up before our gastronomic adventure for the rest of the day…coming up, lunch at Arancino and dinner at new hot spot, MW Restaurant!

Read more about our November 2015 Trip to Oahu!



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