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Hawaii with Friends Day 2: Fish Auction, KCC Farmers Market, Pig & The Lady

We awoke really early  today because of the time difference, luckily too,  because we had a 6am appointment for the Honolulu Fish Auction tour!

We picked up our friends at their hotel while it was still dark out, and we all brought our warm coats and wore thick closed-toe shoes as instructed. Nina even brought rubber boots. (They recommend it for the tour but not absolutely necessary).

The tour is the only live tuna auction in the United States and is a really great experience for those that are interested in doing something different in Hawaii. It started off with our guide from the Hawaii Seafood Council handing out headsets so that we could hear him talk. He took us around the dock areas and explained the different types of fishing and the fishing boat process. We could see the sunrise in the distance and it was great. The fisherman had already unloaded by this point but I heard if you come even earlier you could catch the tail end of them unloading. Either way, the dock was still very active with them transporting fish around the auction area.

Early morning pick up time!

Bundled up for our Fish Auction Tour – complete with headsets!

At the docks

Catching sunrise

Loading and Unloading

The best part was when we got to walk into the fish auction floor. We had to step into a small dish of disinfectant solution about a half inch high so if you had thin-soled shoes you’d probably not be a happy camper, however a good pair of sneakers with a sturdy sole would be ok. We walked into a huge cold room chamber where different fish were all laid out by species, ahi yellowfin, ahi skipjack, ahi bluefin, opah, mahi mahi, marlin, etc. It was an amazing sight! There were people (auctioner and bidders) milling about but we tried to stay clear of them. Our guide explained the auction process and told us about the different varieties of fish. He also told us about fish quality and how supply and demand carries into the prices (basic economics). It was all very interesting and we could take as many pictures and video as we liked.

Inside the tuna auction floor in a “cold room”

Yellowfin tuna

Auction floor action

Perusing the goods

Look at this giant moonfish!

Group shot!

Very cool experience!

I highly recommend this tour if you want a unique and different experience on Oahu. It is no Tsukiji but it’s the closest we’ll get. All of us aside from one of my friends are huge seafood eaters, but even my non-fish-eating friend was very impressed with the tour and thought it was cool to experience once. Definitely dress warmly and bring some sturdy shoes. It will be a cold wet mess inside.

The tour ended close to 7:30am. After the tour we decided to check out Kamehameha Bakery about 5 minutes away before we headed to the KCC Farmer’s Market. The bakery is known for their poi donuts and they often sell out. We arrived to a little crowd, you take a number and wait for your turn. The funny thing is they don’t really have signs next to any of their baked goods, so while they all looked great, we didn’t know what anything was. We ordered some poi donuts and pointed at various other things which looked good. The donuts were yummy, but you don’t actually taste any poi, it’s just a purple colored donut really.

Kamehameha Bakery loot. Poi donuts on the bottom. Pic from Nina.

Inside of poi donut (Pic from Pinterest)

We drove back to the Waikiki area and went around to Diamond Head and parked at the KCC. It was packed at this time (close to 8am) at the farmers market but luckily there were were always people coming and going so we found parking pretty quickly. There’s lots of stuff at the market, and it was great to wander around and sample different items. We ate takoyaki (legit, according to Nina and Anne who had just returned from Tokyo), giant ama ebi garlic shrimp (the biggest shrimp you’ll ever see), abalone, fresh cut pineapple, pineapple juice served (albeit gimmicky) in a hollowed out pineapple, some chicken and rice from The Pig and The Lady (delicious!), and tried a cruffin, the latest bakery trend that is a cross between a croissant and a muffin. Not too bad and it had a coconut filling to boot. We also had some fresh strawberry azuki bean mochi.

KCC Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning

Grilled Big Island abalone

Giant head-on ama-ebi shrimp. Pic from Christine.

Pig & The Lady


Mmm, these were good!

The cruffin, a croissant-muffin, this one was stuffed with haupia (coconut pudding)

Strawberry azuki bean mochi. Not as good as Two Ladies Kitchen on the Big Island but still good!

We tried local jams, cookies, and honey, drank Waimanalo Lemonade (the li hing flavor is my favorite!), sugar cane juice, and iced kona coffee. There was a lot of stuff to eat and sample and having friends there made it easier for us to try different things without getting too full.

We went on a little drive and got even more food, some  scones at Diamond Head Café and Bakery, some local breakfast at Zippy’s – Spam and Eggs, what’s more Hawaiian than that?, and shave ice at Happy  Haleiwa.

Happy Haleiwa, which is mostly a clothing store, now has a cafe outpost on Kapahulu.

It was a very productive morning so we headed back to Waikiki for a rest/beach time. My friends chilled at their hotel while DH and I went to Waikiki Beach. It was a glorious day at the beach, the weather was perfect and the water was a perfect temperature.

Walking to Waikiki Beach

A beautiful afternoon

On the way back to the condo we tried some shave ice at the Island Vintage kiosk near the Royal Hawaiian on Kalakaua. Let me tell you, this is an amazing shave ice! Get the Heavenly Lillikoi and you will not be disappointed.

Island Vintage Shave Ice – so ono!

We took the car to grab some lunch at Ono Seafood – my favorite poke place near Waikiki. We got the Shoyu Ahi (me), and Spicy Ahi (Steve), our usual orders!

Interior of Ono Seafood

Shoyu Ahi – I always try to eat this immediately so I am usually eating in the car.

We spent some time on the rooftop of the Fairway Villa

Our other friends, another couple, arrived at that time and they were staying at the Royal Hawaiian. We all met up that evening at The Pig and the Lady for dinner.

Steve and I came here last year and really liked it. Not surprisingly, their menu has changed quite a bit since we were last here. We tried the Laotian Fried Chicken: outstanding. Truffle potato beignets: unfortunately our first order was cold. It was not appealing so we had to send it back. Luckily our next order was better but I still feel like these sounded way better than they tasted. Kualoa oysters were good. A fresh farmers salad was delicious with lots of Vietnamese herbs, Oxtail Pho was lackluster and not served hot enough. We got two pastas which had interesting flavors. The Balinese Fish Nasi Campur was great, and our steak dish was decent but we were pretty full by then. We also got 3 different desserts which were very unique. A sugar-cured egg yolk on top of meringue was especially pretty to look at.

Lana and Terry have arrived! (Terry not pictured)


Laotian Fried Chicken: twice fried chicken wings, money $auce, fried shallots, kaffir lime, peanut slaw. Yum!

Farmer’s Haku Lei salad: seeds, leaves, roots, herbs

Asians taking pictures of other Asians taking pictures of food.

Kualoa Ranch Oysters

Ahi tartar on Spanish toast

Homemade pasta with fresh corn

Truffle cheese beignets

Another homemade pasta – think this was a carbonara-like dish.

Balinese Fish Nasi Campur – I really enjoyed this


Yuzu Semi-Freddo: cocoa coffee crumble, fresh strawberries, charred pavlova, sugar cured yolk, strawberry yuzu sauce – looks like ketchup on a sunny side up egg!

Overall a fun atmosphere for dinner with some tasty food. It pleased the foodies but the non-adventurous may find it hard to find something to eat. I couldn’t help but think our meal last year was better but since it was only Steve and I we didn’t get to order that much before getting too full. I really like having a group to be able to taste so many different flavors.

Coming up the next day – Diamond Head Hike, KokoHead Café for brunch, and Pearl Harbor.

Read more about our November 2016 Trip to Oahu with friends!

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