Just as the other posts let’s not waste any time and get right into the fooooood. On Day 4, we went shopping at Ala Moana and the Waikele Outlets for most of the day, so most of our eating was ‘on-the-go’ and the main meal of our day was definitely dinner – we were so hungry after all of our shopping!
Curry House (CoCo Ichibanya)
Okay, you guys are going to think I’m crazy, but Curry House is hands-down my favorite Japanese curry spot. Even after living in Japan and eating Japanese curry from tons of Japanese restaurants, Curry House is still my favorite. Curry House is actually a restaurant chain from Japan and it is known as CoCo Ichibanya there. It is kind of like the McDonald’s of curry in Japan in the sense that it’s fast and cheap. But, the curry doesn’t taste any kind of cheap to me!
I personally really like the consistency of their curry—not too soupy and not too thick, but juuust right. And the taste: I can’t even really describe to you what’s so good about it. I think it’s because it has just the right amount of curry taste to it. You know what I mean? Sometimes curry tastes too much like whatever ingredients you also throw in there. For example, I don’t like when there’s a beefy stew type of taste to the curry. Oh! And another thing I really like is that they put very minimal other ingredients into their base curry. Obviously if you order curry with corn or beef or other shit in it, there will be those ingredients present. But, if you just order plain curry, there are hardly any other ingredients in it. And the ingredients that are there (used to create flavor), are cut up really small so they’re basically nonexistent. This allows for any other additions you make to the curry (like adding chicken katsu) to really shine. (Their chicken katsu is pretty good, btw.)
Sorry the photos aren’t the best, since we ordered them in take-out containers. But, trust me, it was delicious. I got chicken katsu curry with cheese. NOMS. Sounds weird, but it’s gooood.
There are a few locations across the island, but I will list the two locations that I used to frequent the most when I lived on Oahu.
McCully Shopping Center
1960 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96826
Phone number: (808) 949-4590
Sunday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Monday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am – 11:30 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:30 pm
Ala Moana Center Food Court
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone number: (808) 947-4889
Monday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Tuesday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Friday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Mr. Tea Café
The main attraction of this place is probably their mustache logo, let’s be honest. How could you not want to drink tea out of a cup with a mustache on it?! The location within Ala Moana is another huge attraction because in reality, it’s just boba. It’s good boba and it’s a great place to stop for a refreshing treat while you’re shopping.
They offer different kinds of tea, like black tea and green tea to name a couple. They also have different kinds of toppings (they call it toppings, but it goes inside your drink), like boba and custard. And! You can customize the sweetness of your drink! I think this is a huge plus because some people don’t like it really sweet and some people do! I opted for a milk black tea with regular boba and regular sweetness level. And it was good! It was definitely satisfying, but between you and me, Coffee or Tea in McCully Shopping Center is still my favorite place for boba. Maybe because it’s more fob and I’m kind of a fob? Unfortunately, that place won’t be covered in this post because we didn’t go there on this trip. Possibly in a future post!
One drawback is that there is no seating area within the shop or directly outside. Sure, there are tons of places to sit in the shopping center, but that kind of takes away from the café feeling, yeah? And ‘café’ is in the name of the place… awkward.
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone number: (808) 954-2791
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Monday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
This is one of the restaurants that I dined at on a regular basis while I lived on Oahu. If any of you know me, you know that I LOVE me some good hot pot. This is the only restaurant that I’ve been to that serves Mongolian Hot Pot, as most of the hot pot restaurants in Honolulu are Taiwanese or Japanese (shabu shabu). I don’t really know what makes it Mongolian (I’m guessing that it’s the ingredients used to make the soup), but what I do know is that it is NOMS.
During a quick read of their website, I found an interesting tidbit on the history of Mongolian hot pot:
Mongol horsemen would fill their overturned helmets with water, place them in embers to simmer and add meat and vegetables. As the Mongols traveled throughout China, they began to create their own unique dishes by adding local ingredients.
When Justin and I went, it was AYCE (all you can eat)!! I’m not sure if this is something new, because when I was in college, they just charged you by what you eat. Definitely not complaining! Okay, upon further research, you can do either ala carte or AYCE. The cost for AYCE is $25.99 for an adult and $16.99 for a child under 4 feet tall (yes, that is actually stated on the menu – kind of smart though because a really big 8 year old will likely eat more than a tiny 8 year old), children under 3 feet tall are free. I definitely think doing AYCE instead of ala carte is worth the money if you’re going to be ordering a lot of meat (which we did). If you aren’t a huge meat eater, ala carte might be a more cost-effective choice.
Now, let’s talk about the food! There are only 2 types of soup you can choose from – their original “milky” bone marrow broth and a spicy version of the same broth. We got both, served in one pot, separated by a partition. Both soups are so good even by themselves. We spent the first 5 minutes just drinking the soup before putting anything in it. It’s a huge plus that the servers will fill your pots with more soup when they see you are getting low. We ordered tons of pork and lamb, some veggies, and lots of noodles. There are lots of options on the menu and the accompanying photos helps a lot since there are some items on the menu that I was unsure of.
There is a big sauce bar that you can go and choose your own sauces. I never know what to get so I normally end up mixing a bunch of them together LOL. Their house sauce is pretty good, so if you don’t know what to get, that would be a safe bet.
The serving sizes of the items are a bit unclear. We ordered 3 orders of lamb, each after finishing the previous order, and none of them were the same size. In fact, our last order of lamb was actually a half-order, but when it came out, it was bigger than the previous two orders! The menu states that you may be charged for uneaten food (a common rule amongst AYCE places to prevent over-ordering), so keep that in mind when ordering things. I would definitely recommend ordering one serving at a time.
To order, you fill out a form that they have at every table on a clipboard with a pen attached. The form lists the entire menu, and you just note down which items you want and how much you want. The servers are always pretty good about picking up our clipboard promptly when we want to order more things and the same goes for clearing our empty dishes or filling up our drinks. I’ve seen some poor ratings on yelp because of the service, but in all of the times I’ve eaten there, I’ve never had that problem.
Located in Ward Village, take advantage of the free parking in the center’s parking structure. Park on the 3rd floor for an easy walk across a bridge to the restaurant.
It gets really busy during dinner time, so try to go early if you can. We had a very early dinner on a Sunday, and it was empty.
Go with a Chinese person. Kinda joking on this one, but not really. I have a lot of Chinese friends, and it definitely boosts the service when you talk to the servers in Chinese (I’m pretty sure they speak Mandarin, but I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on that).
Not sure if they still offer this, but they used to give free dessert if you check-in on Facebook (if you even have room for dessert). Ask a server about this.
Not ideal for vegetarians. Although there are tons of veggies and non-meat options on the menu, it’s hot pot. Everything is cooked in one pot so if you’re the only vegetarian in the group, your food will also be cooked in the same soup as the meat-eater’s food.
1200 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone number: (808) 593-0055
Sunday: 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Monday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Tuesday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Wednesday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Thursday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Friday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Yes, we did eat all of that food…
And, that’s it for this post guys! I would love to hear what you think of these places! Stay tuned for Day 5, which will be the last installment of this food guide. Thanks for reading!
Until next time. <3