Our little road trip took us from the Keauhou Farmer's Market, through Kamuela, with a stop at Village Burger. Just outside Hilo, we made a stop at one of those "old familiar places", Akaka Falls State Park....which actually has two waterfalls; the smaller Kahuna Falls....and the "Big Kahuna", Akaka Falls.
Not much has changed here....except there's now a $5 parking fee.
There's something about bamboo that cools me and gives me that relaxed "aaaahhh" feeling.
Before heading to our hotel, we drove into Hilo, near the airport and hit up Big Island Candies.
I've often recommended visiting Big Island Candies when in Hilo, but always add on...."make sure to bring money." They'll start serving you samples from the time you walk in the door, don't be surprised if you've done the ol' credit card damage before leaving. I was surprised not to see a tour bus or two in the parking lot while we were there.
Instead of staying around Banyan Drive, we opted for the Dolphin Bay Hotel, in a semi-residential area, right across the Wailuku River from downtown Hilo. The place reminded me of those 60's-70's apartments I grew up in. No A/C, but there was a kitchenette....so we decided, as we often do, to self cater.
I'm lucky enough to remember the fish auction at Suisan, long gone now. Suisan is still the major food and seafood distributor on the island and of course the shop on Lihiwai Street is still open for business.
We ended up buying some "stuffs" for dinner.
If you're staying on Banyan Drive, Lihiwai street is close by.
Suisan Company Limited
93 Lihiwai St
Hilo, HI 96720
We were happy to arrive on Saturday, because Suisan, like most of the other shops in Hilo is closed on Sunday.......we often joke that everyday feels like Sunday in Hilo, so Sunday feels like Christmas Day without the festivities!
We wanted to hit up one of our favorite places in Hilo, the Hilo Farmer's Market. We'd be leaving early the next morning, so even though the place was winding down, we wanted to see if things were as we remembered.
Even though the Farmer's Market runs 7 days a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the busiest, with the most vendors. You can get everything from rambutan to musubis here. The Missus loves the papaya from the market.
Located on the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street, you really shouldn't miss it if you're in Hilo.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sunday 7am - 4pm
Wed and Sat 6am - 4pm
It really seemed like Hilo hadn't changed much....... After driving back to the hotel, the Missus decided on going for a walk....a loooong walk. We'd pretty much seen most of Hilo during our previous visits, so I thought why not.? We walked from the hotel right off of Puueo Street onto Kamehameha Avenue, drifting in and out of businesses, finally stopping on Bishop Street....here you can see a bridge over the Wailoa River.
It hard to believe that this area was once Shinmachi "New Town", a "thriving community" which was wiped out in the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960. If you ever have the chance, check out the small, but interesting Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo.
It was getting a bit sticky out and we headed back....stopping at KTA to refresh ourselves in the A/C and pick up some liquid refreshment. Dinner itself was quite satisfying, all the great veggies and the saussicon we bought at the Keauhou Farmer;s Market.
Because we had samples of the poke from Suisan, we knew we'd enjoy it. Though there seemed to be a lot of "sauce", the two poke we had weren't salty. The Missus preferred the wasabi poke.
There was just enough wasabi in this with a touch of sweetness.
The furikake poke was also good, though not quite as good as the wasabi version.
We both really took to something they called "Hawaiian Candy" at Suisan. It's very crisp, dried fish....crunchy like candy, salty like dried fish, it has an addictive quality that we both enjoyed.
Since this doesn't need refrigeration it lasts and we snacked on it during the rest of our trip. Good stuff!
We had tried the Mehana Red Ale earlier in the trip, so we opted for the Pale Ale, which turned out to be a bit too "hoppy" for the Missus. I still enjoyed it though. I would have enjoyed visiting the brewery, but we were in Hilo outside of their hours.....we'll get that in next time.
Of course, we had to have some boiled peanuts which the Missus just couldn't get enough of. I think She would be perfectly happy if all we ate was poke and boiled peanuts the entire time we were home.
We also finished up the tamarillos.....
Because we'd be getting an early start the next morning, we crashed early....but man, those coqui frogs, an invasive species of tiny, quarter sized frogs from Puerto Rico which make a very loud "KOOO-KEEE" sound kept me awake. I don't recall it being this bad before. Yikes! Oh well, we were on vacation, so what a couple of million frogs mating outside our window, right? Perhaps things had changed in Hilo since our last visit after all.......