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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A night at Honolulu Farmers Market

Left: Otsuji Farm's fried banana and "Sushi Surfer Sliders;" Right: The Pig and the Lady's Vietnamese chicken salad on shallot rice.

The Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell is a bit light on the farmers, (I count five produce stands out of 23 total vendors), but it's become something of a street food market—a fun way to graze and spend a Wednesday night picnicking on the grass.

Some highlights from a recent night at the market:

Otsuji Farm: Of the "Sushi Surfer Sliders," go for the kale tempura (it's crisper than the eggplant) topped with ahi and a teriyaki drizzle ($5). Also fun is the banana wrapped in shredded Okinawan sweet potato and deep fried ($5). Served sliced, top it with powdered sugar, cinnamon, chocolate syrup or whipped cream from the condiments bar.

The Pig and the Lady: The menu has expanded considerably. Staples are the noodle soup (last week, Hu Tieu Ga Ca ($10.50), a chicken noodle soup with fish and pork cracklings), a Vietnamese chicken salad on shallot rice ($8.50), and Bo Lo Lat ($3), pork wrapped in betel nut leaf and grilled. Specials are announced the day of the market on the website:

Above: Carnitas taco plate from Zaratez

Zaratez: Tacos, burritos and taquitos ($10 for each plate with rice and beans) from this food-truck-turned-farmers-market vendor, same delicious quality. Also now for sale: salsa to take home, to slather on everything.

Left: Daizu Tei's okonomiyaki; Right: Kombucha from Licious Dishes (photo by David Croxford)

Daizu Tei: In addition to selling organic natto, Daizu Tei griddles up a vegan okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake) with okara (the pulp remaining after making tofu), onion, cabbage, kale, green onion and carrot ($4 a slice).

Licious Dishes: Bright vivid flavors with the tri-layer dip with a cashew "sour cream" ($8.50) and kombucha, the fermented goji-strawberry concoction recently named "Best Health Drink" by HONOLULU Magazine.

The Honolulu Farmers Market is Wednesdays 4 to 7 p.m. on the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. The weekly tip sheet:

Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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