Chinatown is one of my favorite areas of just about any major city in this world.
For me it’s an entrance point to any city or culture. Go to Chinatown in any city from Buenos Aires to Bangkok and you’ll find similar people, similar stores, wonderful Chinese food and those familiar Chinatown smells.
I’m comfortable in Chinatown.
With a large population of Chinese and other Asian immigrants (these days lots of Southeast Asians and Filipinos), Honolulu’s Chinatown is a thriving entrance to the United States.
For many it’s a place to break into life in America and gradually fit into the new culture while still relying on some home Asian comforts.
There are four main markets in Chinatown Honolulu.
No, the market’s aren’t quite a thrilling as Sanjiang’s market in China, but you can find lots of cooking ingredients and plenty of delicious Asian food.
Try the Maunakea Marketplace for a delicious food court.
Chinatown Honolulu is a great place to buy fruits and vegetables – some of the cheapest and best produce in the city.
Mangoes aren’t quite as cheap as they are at my favorite market in Bangkok, but I will say that the selection of fruit did look wonderful. I wanted to buy it all and begin eating it all right then and there!
It’s also the area you want to go if you’re looking for fresh fish or freshly butchered meat to take home.
One thing I found interesting is that you can buy Hong Kong street food style roast pork and duck with food stamps – can you believe that? If I get some food stamps I’m heading straight for the roast pork!
Alas, it was time to eat, and there’s no shortage of high quality restaurants in Chinatown.
Dim Sum dumplings are widely available, and for all practical matters it’s just as good as Hong Kong dim sum (if not even better).
In the center of Chinatown is a small factory that’s been around for years crafting the same exact sheets of wide rice noodles known as fun roll noodles (similar to sen yai in Thailand).
As soon as you taste it you’ll know the noodles are are handmade by motherly figures – the outstanding taste speaks for itself. Get a little bowl of soy sauce, dip in a piece of fun and you’re set for a mouthful of pleasure.
Get it from Ying Leong Look Funn Factory, opposite from Kekaulike Market.
Lastly on a quick trip to Chinatown you’ll need to stop by Char Hung Sut for a sample of their famous char siu bau. Originally Chinese, these giant steamed buns have been modified to a Hawaiian palate. They are meaty, pork filled and ultimately delicious.
Next time you’re in Honolulu, be sure to check out Chinatown for interesting sites and scrumptious cuisine!