Monday, December 29, 2008

Cheap Eats in Waikiki

There are lots of wonderful places to eat on Oahu but finding reasonably priced places right in the tourist zone of Waikiki is a challenge. In fact, finding a really tasty meal for under $10 is almost impossible. Here are a few of spots that not only fit the bill but are worth seeking out.

Gyoza No Ohsho
Gyoza
This tiny restaurant in the King's Village Shopping Center serves gyoza, ramen and some rice bowls. But the thing to order, not surprisingly, is the gyoza. Japanese gyoza are like a smaller, thinner more delicate version of Chinese potstickers. At Gyoza No Ohsho there are 6 to an order for $3.95, served in a cast iron skillet. The dumplings are available in the traditional style, fried and steamed, and there are also boiled and cheese varieties. They are juicy and flavorful with a pork and ginger filling and have a very thin and delicate wrapper. Dip them in a combination of soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil, if you like. The ramen is ok, but I think you're better off with the gyoza, either as a snack or a light meal depending upon how many you order.

Fatty's Chinese Fast Food
Beef  & Choi Sum Chow Fun
The fast food in the name really just means the food is cooked quickly. This little hole-in-the-wall can be a bit hard to find because it doesn't face the street; it's in the alley next to the Miramar Hotel. It looks and feels like a real dive, but sitting at the counter you can see all the dishes, mostly stir fries, being cooked to order. I had a very large portion of beef and choi sum chow fun which was plenty for two people. Although not on the menu, you can order a side dish of choi sum, which is a bit like a cross between bok choi and broccoli. It would go well with the "three meats on rice" which is three neat lines of sliced char siu pork, chicken with a minced ginger cilantro sauce and roast duck on top of a bowl of rice. Whatever you do, avoid the already cooked options and order from the menu.

Me's BBQ
Me's BBQ
This little Korean takeaway counter offers a lot of options including some really delicious vegetable side dishes and kimchi. You can make a meal of vegetarian sides, or pair them with barbecue chicken, "kal-bi" short ribs or order other classic Korean dishes such as Bi Bim Bap or fried "Man-Doo" dumplings. Almost everything is between $7 and $10 and everything I've had here has been fresh and tasty. Whatever you end up ordering, keep in mind the portions are huge. They also offer very cheap sandwiches and breakfasts at certain ours of the day, though I've never tried them. Eat outside at one of the picnic tables or take your feast to the beach just a couple blocks away.

Teddy's Bigger Burgers
Burger & Onion RIngs
If you're in the mood for burgers, this retro burger spot is the place to go. It's really just a fast food outlet, but the burgers are cooked to order and quite tasty. So are the onion rings. Order the small size which is 5 ounces, anything else is obscenely large. Burgers come with "secret sauce" if you don't like that kind of thing, ask them to hold it. I also recommend the chocolate shake which is very intensely flavored, thick and creamy, almost like a soft serve ice cream. I had no problem getting a burger rare though I've been told when it gets very busy the wait may be long and the chances of getting your order done the way you like may decrease.

If you have any other cheap finds in this area, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Gyoza No Ohsho
131 Kaiulani Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-922-2161

Fatty's Chinese Fast Food
2345 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-922-9600

Me's BBQ
151 Uluniu Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-926-9717

Teddy's Bigger Burgers
134 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii
808-926-3444