Contributed by: Michelle Goldberg | Last Date of Travel: 2005
Kosher Info: Eating kosher in Hawaii is a lot easier now than when I went there back in ’05. At least it is on the island of Oahu, in the Honolulu/Waikiki area. A kosher restaurant called Yudi’s Deli opened in Honolulu, just 3 miles from the beach and many hotels. I’ve never been there, but you can check out their website and see for yourself at www.oahukosher.com. They will also deliver to other Islands, or package things for you to take to the other islands yourself, for a fee of course.
There is also a Chabad house on the island located right off the beach in the lobby of a hotel. They Serve Shabbat dinner, which you have to pay for, and a free Shabbat day “Kiddush” after davening. The Kiddush is more of a sit-down lunch really, it’s free and its very filling. When I was there, they had fish, chullent and much more. If you do go for the Kiddush then I would suggest giving a donation to the Chabad house because like I said, it’s completely free.
The good thing about Hawaii is that it’s in America. This means when you go to the grocery store, the foods will be the same brands and have the same kosher certifications as we are used to in the contiguous states. Of course there are going to be some differences, but I didn’t have a problem finding kosher food in the convenient stores. The best thing about Hawaii is definitely the fresh fruit so take advantage of it and enjoy.
Another, more risky option is the Shore Bird restaurant located in the Outrigger hotel on the Waikiki Beach (not a kosher institution). They have a completely open grill. Customers order their raw fish or meat, with or without seasoning and then cook it themselves on the large grill. The wait staff will provide you with whatever you need, including tin foil so that you can double wrap the unseasoned fish yourself. I would speak to your Rabbi about this before you decide to make a reservation (which is a must). Also, make sure you have a fish guide with you so that you know which fish is kosher. Hawaiians tend to use different names for their fish than most Americans.
Tourist Info: Oahu is a beautiful island and I recommend seeing most of it. just driving along the coast line is magnificent. There are many pull offs where you can park and get out of the car to take pictures. The most popular place to stay is in Waikiki. It doesn’t matter what hotel you stay at, but I would suggest staying on the beach. It’s the best part of the Island, why miss it.
Day trips: Diamond Head State Monument. You can hike up the volcanic crater and at the summit, there is the most amazing view of the island and neighboring islands. The trail is 1 ¾ a mile and takes around and hour and a half. It’s pretty steep at times and there are a lot of steps so it might take longer depending on your athletic ability. My 4 year old niece was able to walk all the way up, but I had to give her a piggy back ride for most of the trip down. It gets very hot so bring water, sun screen and a hat! http://www.hawaiiweb.com/html/diamond_head.html
Pearl Harbor: Even if you’re not a history buff, this is someplace you have to go. How can you go to Hawaii and not go to Pearl Harbor. It was actually pretty interesting, but I don’t suggest bringing children, they aren’t interested in those kinds of things.
Hiking: There are plenty of guided Hiking tours to choose from if that’s your kind of thing. They range in length and difficulty. You get to see the beauty of the inner island that hasn’t been taken over by hotels. There are a lot of waterfalls too and some hikes will let you actually swim in them. I definitely recommend going on a hike, even if it’s a short one. The tour guides always point out interesting things about the island.
Polynesian Cultural Center: A couple hours north of Honolulu is the cultural center. There you get a real taste of true Hawaiian culture. I didn’t go there, but everyone says it was a lot of fun. They have all day and half day activities, but make sure you bring your own food.
Jewish Info: There really isn’t anything Jewish to see in Oahu. The Chabad house does have a Judaica shop, but none of it is really Hawaiian. They may have a mezuzah or yarmulke with a Hawaiian theme.
Hawaii is a great place to vacation. I would recommend it for both honeymooners and families. Hope you have fun!