Not that the view from the top of Diamond Head isn’t a reward in itself, but knowing that luscious blueberry cream cheese scones, slices of lemon crunch cake and rice balls stuffed with juicy morsels of crispy chicken await you, makes the trek to the top of Hawaii’s most famous crater a little more – well excuse the pun, sweet.
Diamond Head Market and Grill is located at the bottom of Diamond Head’s west side, and serves what I like to call vintage Island cuisine – foods that your grandmother and mother made for Island celebrations and family get togethers. Grilled plates of Korean kalbi ribs, Chinese style charsiu chicken and Japanese teriyaki beef reflect Hawaii’s plantation heritage. Owner Kelvin Ro, who grew up in a plantation town, said he wanted to offer updated favorites of the foods he grew up on. “We must be doing something right because we get lots of visitors from the hotels who tell us the staff told them to come here to get a sampling of local food” said Ro.
The market is famous for their bakery and is popular with Japanese visitors who come to buy Ro’s signature blueberry cream cheese scones. Other vintage baked goods include a lemon chiffon crunch cake and pumpkin crunch pie. The market opens at 6:30am and makes a good before or after stop if you’re hiking Diamond Head.
“We’re such an eclectic place, we have the deli, a bakery and our grill. We serve sandwiches, grilled plate lunches and one of our best sellers is a portabello mushroom hamburger. Lots of different things” says owner Ro. The market is in close proximity to Kapiolani Park, the east end of Waikiki beach and the Waikiki Shell. On any day, an interesting mix of surfers, visitors and locals can be seen in the market and at the take-out window.
One of the great everyday pleasures of life in Hawaii is sitting back in the park as sun the begins to dip behind the Waianae mountain range and enjoying an afternoon picnic – local style – a plate of gilled fish, teriyaki beef or kalbi, some rice and macaroni salad.
At Diamond Head Market and Grill, even if you’re a visitor, you can experience this favorite Hawaii tradition. Pick-up your dinner and head to the park and eat like a local!
Diamond Head Market & Grill: http://www.diamondheadmarket.com/HoursAddressMap.html
Origins of Macaroni Salad in Hawaii: http://www.shareyourtable.com/multimedia/origins/2009/mac_salad
Diamond Head State Park: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/oahu/index.cfm?park_id=15
About Melanie H. Kosaka
Melanie Kosaka is the owner and founder of ShareYourTable – a company specializing in culinary television production and interactive media. Her credits include the James Beard award winning series, The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi, which has been distributed in 66 countries, New American Cuisine featuring star chefs from around the United States, and GetHealthyNowHawaii.com–an online based educational product. FDM has produced over 500 hours of cooking and lifestyle programming for national and international distribution.
Follow Melanie on Twitter at @shareyourtable