On our way back from Maui to Vancouver, we had a 5 hour layover in Honolulu. Because we had so much free time, and because the airport is relatively close to the city, we decided to go in town for dinner (and may we add that the airport in Honolulu is not a very nice airport to spend 5 hours in?).
I had suggested that we go to Chinatown, because I remembered reading a long time ago that it was a nice, historic place to visit. As well, Chinese food seemed quite appealing at the time. So, we went to the information desk and asked the lady there some logistics about going to Chinatown, with no great success. It seems that she wanted us to go to a mall with a Chinese restaurant instead.
We headed to the taxi stand, and asked our driver (3 times) to bring us to Chinatown – and was dropped off instead at the cruise ship terminal. Slightly offended and annoyed, we asked again to be dropped off in Chinatown. Little did we know that the cab driver was not suffering from limited English or ignorance, but was really just trying to keep us safe.
As soon as we arrived in Chinatown, we were shocked by how seedy and dirty the area seemed to be. The streets were lined with prostitutes, homelessness and gambling – not the best for leisurely walks. I had hoped for a lively area, full of neon and photo ops, but instead worried about having to get out of the cab. Being Memorial Day probably did not help, but almost all of the restaurants were closed, and not one shop was open.
The cab driver dropped us off in front of two restaurants – one full and one empty – and we ran inside of the full one without attempting to look around for something else. Yikes!
The restaurant we ended-up at was Legend Seafood Restaurant, on North Beretania St. It is quite a large restaurant, and it was busy with numerous birthday parties. We were seated in the corner the furthest away from everyone else (due to a distrust of white diners? unsure) but at least were not given cutlery. The menu is very extensive, with items such as lobster, crab, abalone and shark fin’s. We ordered the Salt & Pepper Squid, the Garlic Pan-fried Scallops, the Shredded Pork Noodles and 2 Tsing Tao. The food was a bit heavy on MSG, but was tasty. My favourite was the squid – it was delicate, tender and flavourful. And the price? Surprisingly affordable.
At the end of dinner, we asked the staff to call us a cab and headed back to the airport for a Kona Beer. And more waiting around prior to our flight.
Was the detour worth it? Not really. While the food was good and affordable, the cost of dinner was doubled by the cab fare. Had we done this during the day, and been able to walk around, it would have been a more logical outing.
At least though, it gave us another story!