It was my wife’s colleague who suggested a spot not far away in Waipahu for breakfast at Honolulu Kitchen. We had just finished a beach clean-up and we reached “Hangry” mode. He spoke so highly of the variety of Manapuas, we just had to try these confections for ourselves.
Manapuas are a derivative of the Chinese Char Siu Bao steamed bun with pork. The word Manapua means “Pastry with Pork”. These steamed buns have a slightly sweetened taste and its popularity has expanded to hold just about anything the imagination can stuff into the bun.
Honolulu Kitchen has taken this Dim Sum specialty one step further to create deep Fried Manapuas, which brings out the sweetness in the bun, and compliments the sweet as well as the savory flavors within. We tried Mini Fried Manapuas with Kalua Pork, Pork Adobo, Strawberry Cream Cheese, and Pumpkin. The Kalua was my favorite savory flavor, with the salty shredded pork melting on the tongue, whereas the pumpkin carried a bold flavor of nutmeg and pumpkin spice flavor that no white girl can resist.
I came in again during a weekday, and noticed that business seemed to be bustling all week. The restaurant itself offers a spacious front lobby for ordering, with bold red counters, a humble seating area off to the side, and a display case for the Manapuas up front, as well as all the other Chinese entrees they offer. As always, restaurants in Hawaii serve up a magnificent fusion of cultures, and it isn’t unusual to see Spicy Korean, next to a Filipino Adobo Manapua, with a side of Portuguese Sausage and Fried Saimin in a Chinese restaurant. Many locals come here on lunch or to pick up for a party, which boosts my confidence that this is indeed a treasured place.
The staff were friendly and moved a long line of orders with efficiency. They have a scrolling menu that lists their newest flavors, links to follow them on Instagram, as well as showcasing all the astounding designs they can decorate the Manapuas for events. Pusheen being my personal favorite, they even managed a one of a kind design for my Elev8 Hawaii. Mahalo to manager Kristin for such great service and samples!
94-861 Farrington Hwy
Waipahu, Hi 96797
Tel: (808) 671-5241
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