Get the story on the person behind the prominent promenade Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Through January, the museum will be hosting Ho‘oulu Hawai‘i: The King Kalākaua Era. It brings together works and reveals never-beforedisplayed pieces. Why go? Learning more about the Merrie Monarch, as he was called, offers insight into what the Kingdom of Hawaii faced in the final years before being overthrown in 1873. During his nearly 20-year reign (1874– 1891), King Kalākaua guided his island nation back to its Hawaiian roots by bringing back hula and other native traditions. The exhibition includes a look at travel and technology, Kalākaua’s scrapbooks, photography, early telephones in the kingdom, hula, music, fashion and ukulele.
Buy, try or just enjoy the melodic strains of the ukulele all over town. Look for some of the superstar players, such as Jack Shimabukuro, Taimane Gardner or the trio Keauhou. As the uke has become more popular, many instrument production shops have added a factory tour to give enthusiasts a behind-the-scenes peek at how these fourstring lutes are made. Some names to look for are Kamaka Ukulele, Koaloha Ukulele and the Kanile`a `Ukulele factory (with tour) on the windward side of the island.
Consider being part of the solution to the island’s traffic gridlock by signing up for Bikeshare Hawaii. The company has just added 40 new Biki docking stations to its already existing 100 around town. Not only are you, even as a visitor, helping ease road congestion, but the cost savings means you can do some serious souvenir shopping. A single ride costs $3.50, while an entire month tops out at $15.
Marin’s Michael Mina opened Mina’s Fish House at the Four Seasons Oahu, offering lineto- table seafood with panoramic views of the ocean. Top dishes include fries cooked in duck fat and Singapore Street Noodles. Since world class cuisine and views don’t come cheap, those on a budget should opt for happy hour.
Mead fans now have an imbibing spot in Oahu’s hip Chinatown: Paisley Meadery recently opened on North King Street, serving not only the bubbly honey-based libation but also multicultural cuisine, including street tacos and Vietnamese-style sandwiches.
While seafood is a natural for Oahu dining, the savory, sometimes salty porcine is much celebrated as well. The latest dining spot to honor the swine is the Surfing Pig in the hipster neighborhood of Kaimuki. This version is an offshoot of sister restaurant Kono’s, the North Shore haunt famous for its 12-hour slow-roasted kalua pork. The newcomer’s menu includes roasted ribs, flatbread pizza, crab cakes and pasta.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: Island Flavor.