HONOLULU -- Hawaii's growing reputation as a culinary destination
got a boost recently with the introduction of two different food
experiences on Oahu with the same aim: to give local culture the
One is a new farmer's market at the end of Waikiki, the other a
cooking class held weekly at the Lyon Arboretum, which is located
15 minutes from Waikiki in the Manoa Valley.
The farmer's market is an enticing stopover for visitors to the
Diamond Head Crater. Located at Kapiolani Community College along
Diamond Head Road near the entrance to the crater trail, the market
is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, selling products grown
exclusively in Hawaii by island farmers and food producers.
In addition to fresh food are easy-to-pack items such as jams
and jellies made from mango, papaya, strawberry guava and other
exotic fruit selections created from jaboticaba and ohelo
The other food experience, "Foods of Hawaii," which began this
fall, calls itself a cooking class and cultural/history lesson
rolled into one.
Visitors are asked to arrive at 9 a.m. for the 10 a.m. class,
held each Tuesday, to allow time for a tour of the arboretum's
tropical, native and culinary plants, including nutmeg, cloves and
vanilla orchids. Also on the property are cacao trees, sweet
potatoes and fruit trees.
"Whatever is in season or in bloom, we'll bring into the
classroom," said Joan Namkoong, the program's creator and chef.
In the demonstration kitchen, visitors are given snacks of
seasonal island fruits along with a lesson on choosing and
preparing fruit for eating. The three-hour cooking class features
recipes adapted for home using island staples such as kalua pig
(traditional Hawaiian roast pork), ahi (tuna) and vegetables.
Participants then lunch on the food they have prepared.
But cooking and tasting what they've made are only part of the
"It's more than just a cooking class, it's a food experience,
and it's a way to learn about Hawaii's culture through the food,"
The cost of the class and tour is $85; transportation to and
from Lyon Arboretum is not included (about $15 one-way in a cab
There is a minimum requirement of four people and a maximum of
15. A group of 12 can arrange for an alternate day and time. The
deadline for reservations is noon on Mondays.
For more information about "Foods of Hawaii," call (808)
988-0471. For more about the Farmer's Market, call the Hawaii Farm
Bureau at (808) 848-2074.