My husband and I decided it was time to rediscover Honolulu's Chinatown. It was a perfect morning for walking around this unique downtown area. The sun was out and yet it was cool, we were anticipating some liquid sunshine. That is what us local folks call the little bit of rain that falls resulting in beautiful rainbows across the blue Hawaiian sky.
There are many municipal parking lots in downtown that are very affordable. Simply park in one of these lots and head on down to the hustle and bustle of the shops and markets near Mauna Kea Street and King Street. There are many shops to look into where they sell grocery, herbal medicine, roast chicken and duck, noodles, pots and pans and much more.
We decided to explore Mauna Kea Marketplace. The building consists of a courtyard where you can sit and have a cup of coffee and a food court representing Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Filipino, Thai, Hawaiian, Korean and Japanese delicacies. And all of the plates are affordable. Then there is the actual market where the vendors are selling fresh fish, meats, vegetables, fruits and much more. I enjoyed watching the interaction between the vendors and the shoppers. And everything looks so fresh and reasonable. Of course there are many products that I would not know how to cook. And some of the seafood, it's a little too adventurous for my stomach.
After visiting this area, it was time for some dim sum. Dim sum is the Chinese dumplings that are steamed, baked or fried that make a perfect breakfast, lunch or brunch. There are many of these dim sum restaurants in Honolulu's Chinatown. Not only are the dumplings delicious or as we would say in pidgin "broke da mout' " and once again, very reasonable. You can get full for about $10 per person and that includes tip.
We are very proud to have our own Chinatown located in downtown Honolulu. There is much history that dates back to the late 1800s when Chinatown first came to be. Much of Hawaii's culture originates from the immigrants who first came to Hawaii to work in the sugar and pineapple plantations. The Chinese first came in 1789. But it was the period between 1852 and 1876 when a large number of contracted Chinese laborers came to Hawaii. The Chinese outnumbered all other foreign laborers and even the Caucasians for a period of time. The Chinese were very business minded and decided to run their own businesses instead of work in the fields. And this is the beginning of Honolulu's Chinatown. Chinatown became a community of stores, restaurants and temples.
The Chinese stores played a very important part in the development of business in Hawaii. They originally helped the Chinese immigrants by acting as their bank and post office. They also offered room and board for the new immigrants who came from the same village back home. The Chinese businessmen continued to expand their reach and are considered major leaders in Hawaii business.
But just like many other cities with older downtown areas our Chinatown lost its luster through the years. Many of the buildings were in need of major restoration and the area became known for criminal activities. People stopped going to Chinatown and the downtown area especially during the evenings.
The revitalization of Chinatown began a few years ago with the restoration of older buildings and the construction of new residential buildings and commercial space. The unique blend of old and new and the variety of cultures and arts have brought back many of our local people and visitors to rediscover Chinatown.
Buy your gifts there and enjoy the foods at affordable prices. Eclectic and colorful are two perfect words to describe Chinatown. ,,. Experience the aromas, the crowd, the markets, the restaurants and bars, the art galleries, the lei stands, the knick knack shops, the herbal medicine shops and more. Come and enjoy this special place on your next visit to Hawaii.