The 53rd Annual Kunia Orchid Show is at the Del Monte Kunia Gym this weekend, but next year it will be held at Leilehua High School Gym. It felt very much like a Hilo-kind of morning when I arrived at the gym at 8:45 a.m. It was cool, there was a slight drizzle and the red dirt road leading to the gym was slick with mud. Huli huli chickens were turning on spits. Teri-beef, curry bowls, cascaron, edamame and boiled peanuts were some of the food items available for pick up from tents after attending the show.
As soon as we were allowed into the gym, people swarmed to the orchid vendors that ring the gymnasium. Lavender Honohono orchids seemed to be in big demand for Easter and Mother's Day. I was more focused on photographing the stunning orchid displays in the middle of the room than buying orchids.
It's a photographer's heaven. Orchids, in every conceivable hue, shape and even, fragrance, are artfully arranged around a theme for each display. The most nostalgic of the orchid displays centered around a blowup of a black and white photo of the Kunia show planners grouped around the front of Kunia gym. Del Monte is closing the Kunia plantation, which accounts for the change next year to Leilehua Gym.
I had a difficult time taking a photo using natural light because of the number of flashes exploding around me by other avid shutterbugs. It seems every orchid "face" is attracting your attention for a closeup. Fabulous flowers.
On my way back to the car, I bought an-pan, which are rolls filled with bean paste. Also got the Filipino dessert, cascaron. That's 3 fat, fried coconut and mochi balls on a stick to go with my coffee. It's a forty-five minute drive from my home to Kunia but it was well worth the effort.
I took the North Shore route to get back home. On the way, I stopped by the Sunset Beach farmers' market for the first time. That was a serendipitous detour because, very much like Hilo's farmers' market, this market carries local produce that are never carried in a regular supermarket. I found gigantic, footlong yams, kumquats, mountain apples, large baseball-sized green-on-the-outside-but-ripe/white-inside guavas and pomegranates. The vendors seemed to make up a true community and each one of them was very friendly.
I would seriously recommend that if you are an expat living on the Mainland you might want to skip the next paragraph. In fact, I offer my sincere apologies in advance for what I'm about to do-get you all 'ono for Hawaiian food. I ended up at Ono Loa Hawaiian food takeout at the historic Waiahole Poi Factory Building. In no time at all, Maxine put together my order of steaming pork laulau, fresh sweet poi, cold lomi salmon, tender chicken long rice, a square each of haupia and chocolate pudding, slice of pineapple, slice of Okinawan sweet potato and of course, a little plastic container of chili water. Oh, I also had to have a side of squid luau, rationalizing that I don't come out this far often. I always say "Bye" to sweet Uncle Al, who was sweeping the front, as I exited the wooden building.
First, there's the dilemma of where to begin amid all this great food. The second question is whether the poi will last. You've heard of a three-dog night? Well, this was more like a four-poi bowl meal so I reeaallly had to make the poi stretch to last until the last bit of laulau.
A most satisfying and fulfilling morning.
Ono Loa which means Very, Very Delicious is open for lunch but not on Thursday or Friday. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org NOTE: Catering and shipping is available.