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Food for Thought

Three food enthusiasts visit International Market Place’s new Kūhiō Avenue Food Hall.



Kate Li and Christina He are childhood best friends who run the food Instagram account @katinaeats. During the pandemic, they’ve used their platform to help promote local restaurants and teamed up to launch the false eyelashes brand Milky Lashes.


Mushroom Burger and Hawaiian Burger

$12 each
The mushroom-and-Swiss combo is a classic, and this one will not disappoint. We also love anything teriyaki, so the Hawaiian Burger is right up our alley; since we tend to go for flavors that are a little on the sweeter side, the grilled pineapple was a welcome addition.


Birria Beef Tacos

$12 each
Birria has quickly become one of our favorite new food trends. Here the birria comes in a set of three perfectly crispy tortilla shells with a side of lime and salsa roja, which adds a nice, juicy texture and kick.


Fried Calamari

$13 each
We like how the calamari are only lightly breaded. This appetizer is perfect to share with friends before or after the beach—the service is quick, the restaurant is breezy, open air, and casual, and the parking in International Market Place is really convenient. And there are a lot of nearby shops if you want to walk it off before hitting the water!lime and salsa roja, which adds a nice, juicy texture and kick.

A classically trained musician, former bartender, and occasional beverage consultant and food writer, Randy Wong has spent the last two decades traveling for gigs and finding harmonies between food, beverage, culture, and community. 


Mexican Salad

$14 each
Taking a breather from plate lunches, but still wanting meat, I grabbed this salad with carne asada. The machaca-like beef strips are packed with flavor, and I love the way the lettuce is finely chopped. The dish is so balanced; everything is in harmony. A bonus: the salad is chilled, which makes it more refreshing.


Shrimp Ceviche

$15 each
Although poke (a local dish of cubed, seasoned raw fish) is everywhere in Hawai‘i, ceviche is harder to come by. The bright zing of citrus pairs well with the light smokiness and slight minerality of the IMP Paloma with mezcal.


Elote Mexican Street Corn

$7 each
Stunningly presented and always a showstopper, elote is one of my favorite street foods of all time. Fire roasted and still on the cob, every kernel is coated with an irresistible blend of Mexican cheese and mayonnaise. La Pina’s has just the right blend of salt, spice, and everything nice.


IMP Paloma with Mezcal

$9 each
A refreshing update to the thirst-quenching classic. The added warmth from the cinnamon amplifies the light, smokey taste of the mezcal.


La Piña
Pineapple Split

$18 each
This is a love-at-first-sight, super Instagrammable dish. If you’re addicted to the ’gram, this item is a total must. It’s a pineapple palace with churros that encase a giant scoop of coconut gelato topped with even more pineapple and a chocolate drizzle. Everyone who passes by will want a taste.

Kūhiō Ave. Food Hall is located on level 1 fronting the Kūhiō Avenue entrance. Follow them on Instagram at @kuhioavefoodhall.