[Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   How to Cook ʻAhi
by Dennis Painter

Our favorite place to eat on the Big Island is out on the lānai (veranda) at Hale Pōhaku! Dennis grills ʻahi and we usually have Waimea butter lettuce or other fresh local greens with sunflower sprouts and papaya seed dressing (Original Hawaiʻi Hula Dressing), taro rolls from KTA, purple potatoes or local sweet potatoes, and macnut ice cream for dessert. ʻOno (delicious)!  [Beautiful ʻahi yellow-fin tuna]
Note: ʻAhi is the Hawaiian name for yellowfin tuna, or Hawaiian wahoo, and it is our favorite fish! If you buy it in the market (we recommend KTA), look for a deep red color similar to raw beef (it lightens as it cooks). It is a wonderfully flavored fish! We like ours rare to medium-rare when grilled and even raw as sashimi.

 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Mahimahi or ʻŌpakapaka

Note: Mahimahi is so-called "dolphin fish" but is in no way related to dolphins and is a true fish, not a mammal. It is a gorgeous fish with iridescent colors when in the water. It is a moist fish and takes well to baking and sautéeing.

ʻŌpakapaka is one of the most popular (and hence expensive) fishes in restaurants in Hawaiʻi. It is a mild flavored fish, but crisps up nicely with the mayo treatment, which also brings out its flavor.


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Piña Coladas
by Dennis Painter

Dennis also makes piña coladas, which we enjoy on the lānai in the afternoons, while we watch the naiʻa (dolphins) and honu (sea turtles). I prefer the taste of the dark rum, so these turn out a light to medium brown rather than white. But very tasty!

½   15-oz. can Coco Lopez coconut cream
1 cup pineapple juice
½   tray ice cubes
1 cup dark rum
2 to 3 tablespoons pineapple chunks (optional but highly recommended)


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Ono Panko
by Sherron Bull

This is Sherron's favorite way to prepare ono, a firm white fish with a very nice flavor. The panko crumbs keep the fish moist inside, while the crumbs get nice and crunchy on the outside. And it's very easy and tasty! This serves 4, depending upon the amount of fish.

½ cube butter, or more as needed
4 pieces of ono filets, about 1" thick
Soy milk to dip fish in (or use regular milk)
½ package panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs), enough to thoroughly coat the fish
Granulated garlic powder, to taste
Dried or fresh basil, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
This is not low-cal, but it is delicious!

 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Smoked ʻAhi
by Sherron Bull


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Dennis' Macaroni Salad
by Dennis Painter

This macaroni salad is a favorite of our hānai son, Dave, who lives on the mainland. We always have to make sure that we have it made and ready for him when he arrives to visit. It is tangy with lots of dry mustard and pepper, and the Edelweiss dressing adds just the right amount of tasty zing plus gives it moisture. You can always reduce or increase the amount of dry Chinese mustard to suit your tastes.  [Chef Hans-Peter Hager's Edelweiss Tarragon Dressing]

1 12-ounce package macaroni (we like the tri-color spiral pasta, as it holds the sauce better)
1 bottle Edelweiss Creamy Tarragon dressing
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, diced
½ red onion, diced
4-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 to 2 teaspoons dry mustard, or more to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Note: Even though the Edelweiss Restaurant closed its doors for good when Chef Hans-Peter Hager retired in 2007, his bottled dressing is still available at KTA and other stores. There are several different Edelweiss varieties.


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Haupia Coconut Pudding
by Auntie Maebelle

This is a recipe from Auntie Maebelle on the Aloha Joe website. I use a larger can of coconut milk and reduce the water appropriately. This is very good and easy, but it can be a little difficult to get the servings out of the dish in one piece! We love it with crushed pineapple spooned over the top.  [Visit Aloha Joe's music website!]

1 12-ounce can coconut milk, chilled (not coconut cream)
1½ cups water
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 7-ounce can crushed pineapple, in its own juice (optional)


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Hoʻiʻo

You can get a lot of local produce at the local Farmers Markets. I like the hoʻiʻo when they have them - they look like fiddleheads, which they are. They are a native fern and the young fronds can be eaten raw or cooked.

I like to sprinkle them with furikake, which is a Japanese seaweed and sesame seed "gourmet topping." My favorite is Urashima Ao Nori Goma Furikake, which contains only prepared seaweed and sesame seed. A lot of the other brands have sugar, salt, and a lot of other undesirable ingredients. The Urashima brand has become difficult to find lately, however.


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Banana-Nut Bread
by Sherron Bull

This makes a heavy, dense but tasty loaf. We love it with apple bananas (see Other Favorites for a photo), but it is also good with regular bananas. It is also very tasty made with macnuts instead of walnuts, which really gives it a tropical flair!

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup butter
1½ cups very ripe bananas, mashed (about 4)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts, chopped macnuts or black walnuts


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Other Favorites:

These are foods and other items we have found that we really enjoy!


 [Hale Pōhaku honu turtle logo]   Is it ono or ʻono? Ahi or ʻahi?

For the longest time, we thought that the fish "ono" had been given it's name because it was so delicious! Haven't you heard over and over that "ono" means delicious? Well, ʻono does mean delicious. The problem is that the actual fish is not ʻono, it is just ono. That apostrophe, actually a glottal stop, or ʻokina in Hawaiian, at the beginning of the word makes it an entirely different word! Ono does not mean delicious; it is a type of fish — but ʻono (with the ʻokina) does mean delicious.

The same is true for 'ahi. We long thought that the yellowfin tuna was named ahi for "fire," perhaps because of its deep red flesh. Wrong again! Ahi does mean fire in Hawaiian, but that is not the name of the succulent deep red fleshed yellowfin tuna! The Hawaiian name for the yellowfin tuna is ʻahi! Again, that ʻokina makes all the difference!

So we have:
   ʻono = delicious

ono = a delicious fish

   ahi = fire

ʻahi = yellowfin tuna with flesh the color of fire

 [A beautiful ʻahi (yellowfin) tuna]

ʻAhi, an ʻono fish!

We love the Hawaiian language! It is beautiful and melodic and is often called a "simple" language because it has only 13 letters (8 consonants, including the ʻokina, and 5 vowels). But Hawaiian is far from simple! It has deep complexity that would amaze you! For example, the language not only can describe the relationship of your siblings, but there are different words for the eldest and the youngest, both male and female. And there are words for not just one or many, but one or two or three or more. And it isn't just those ʻokina that change the definitions of words; there are also macrons, or kahakō in Hawaiian, that also change both the pronunciation and meaning of words. Unfortunately, most printed text just leaves them both off! So you have to infer what word is meant!

Luckily the Hawaiians are a wonderful, warm and patient people and are very understanding of our lack of knowledge and familiarity with their language. So don't be shy about trying out the language!