Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Pahoa’s Mexican Food, Li Hing Mui, and the Chicken Guy

on May 22, 2013

Going and coming to Kalapana, you must pass through (or right beside, depending on the exact road) Pahoa.Old Pahoa

When I was telling Amanda about Pahoa, I mentioned: 1) the best Mexican food on the island (Luquin’s), 2) the first time we were there, there was a brawl in the street of Old Pahoa, like “old West” style, with, it turns out, fireworks going off, but it sounded like gun-shots, and 3) there’s a guy who rides around on his bicycle, with a chicken on his shoulder.

There’s a lot more to Pahoa than that, but those are my highlights.

Luquin’s ~ If you have read my blog off and on from the beginning, you will know that Mexican food is an ongoing theme – a constant under-current.   I love Mexican food.  I mean ~ I’m not adventurous at all. I order the same exact thing wherever I go: a cheese enchilada, a beef enchilada, and soft shell (if available) beef taco.  I do switch it up with the sauce ~ choosing randomly (so as to throw chaos into the situation) between tomato, mole and verde sauces.

Lilikoi Mango Margarita, with li hing muiPeter switches things around, but always gets chili relleno (at every Mexican restaurant).

And, always, a margarita – house specialty, blended, if possible.  At Luquins, my favorite FAVORITE is lilikoi (passion fruit) mango combo, blended, with a Li hing mui rim.  Wikipedia says “Many bars in Hawaii also rim their glasses with li hing powder in addition to putting it in the drink.”   I wonder why it’s specific to Hawaii… SERIOUSLY! if you try it, you will LOVE IT! Love love love it.

Luquin’s always is exactly what we hope for! We are never disappointed.

We’ve also been to 2 other really good restaurants right on the main street in Old Pahoa, across the street from Luquins – one is Thai food, and the other is a fancier style restaurant – I forget the names of both places. However, we were told that the Thai restaurant rivals the Thai food in Volcano Village, and the cost is less expensive.  We’ve eaten there, and I remember it being good – I think that’s the place that has Trivia Pursuit cards at each table, in case dinner conversation wanes.  (You should still go to the one in Volcano Village, too, though.)
Enchilada Chili Relleno

Somewhere in Pahoa is the Black Rock Cafe, which is half bar (not even a pub, but more saloon-y), and half restaurant.   On the restaurant side (and maybe also the bar-side…?) has really good fish and chips, and I’ve never been disappointed with any of their food either.

There’s a pretty good grocery store just as you come into town (the Kea’au way), called Malama Market.  Perhaps it’s moreFarmer's Market expensive than shopping in Hilo, but it’s pretty convenient and has every possible thing you can think of! (Well, I’m not sure what all you can think of, but so far, I’ve found everything I’ve needed.)

Halfway between Pahoa and Kea’au you will find the Maku’u Farmer’s Market.  It’s one the largest Farmer’s Markets on the Island, but it’s only open on Sundays, and only from 8am to 2pm… And, to get the best of the choices, you have to get there early.  (Also, if you want a hotdog with “all the fixings”, you have to get there early, too.  I had mine on pink Punalu’u bread (more on Punalu’u bread later, probably.)

Kea’au also has a Farmer’s Market – it’s very small, but is open every day, forFarmers Market purchase your convenient fresh vegetable and fruit shopping.  I bought avocados, a bag full of rambutan (which I bought because I’d never seen such a thing and the vendor gave me an entire bag for $1), and a bunch of apple bananas for about $5.

Across the street from the Farmer’s Market is the Kea’au Shopping Center, which has everything in just 2 parking lots:

  • There’s a nice little grocery store there – Foodland. The prices are pretty good, and if you have a Maika’i card, you can often save about 1/4-1/3 the cost on most items.
  • There’s also a health food store there, called Kea’au Natural Foods, which has a lot of everything packed into a very small space.
  • Pizza Hut and McDonalds
  • A couple of restaurants
  • a laundromat
  • Ace Hardware (Peter’s favorite place in Kea’au)

Kea’au is on the main road going from Hilo to Volcano, and is at the turn-off to go to Pahoa.  It’s a larger town than Pahoa and has more options for shopping, etc., but isn’t near as quirky.

The first time we were in Pahoa, this man rode by on his bicycle with a chicken on his shoulder.  This time, I told everyone to “keep their eye out” for the “chicken guy”, but really didn’t expect to see him.   The next thing you know, Tom, the Chicken Guyin the parking lot of Malama Market, there goes the chicken guy!  The chicken was riding on the back of the bike this time.

Originally, apparently, Tom (the Chicken Guy) was on his way to a parade of some sort, and the chicken jumped on the back of his bike all by itself, and so started the tradition.  Since then, Tom has been around here and there with his chicken (including, apparently, the Burning Man festival/event in Nevada….)  He even now collects pictures that people take of him…

Sunday, I think we’ll talk about Punalu’u, South Point and the Green Sand Beach.

 

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