On Labor Day, we took a drive to Kaneohe to explore Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. As we left town, it was sunny with blue skies. When we came over the Pali, the skies turned cloudy and grey. We got caught in some pretty heavy rain, while exploring the garden and decided to cut our visit short and find some lunch.
I was recently reminded of Waiahole Poi Factory from a commercial I saw on t.v. and a friend’s post on Instagram. I suggested it to my date, who loves Hawaiian food, and he was quickly on board with the idea.
Although it was quite busy on this rainy holiday, we stood in a quick-moving line, ordered our food, and found a table with ease. The food also came out quickly.
I ordered my favorite squid lu’au, which came with a small container of lomi salmon and poi. It was the perfect amount of food for me, as I also ordered dessert.
My date got a regular sized combo plate. He really liked the beef lu’au, and was very full after eating his plate.
My favorite part of the meal was the delicious dessert known as the Sweet Lady of Waiahole, a piece of kulolo topped with haupia ice cream. Kulolo is made from taro, coconut milk, and sugar. It has the consistency of a block of thick, sticky mochi. The ice cream tasted like sweet, creamy haupia, a Hawaiian coconut milk dessert. It was quite popular, as several Sweet Ladies were seen coming out of the kitchen in the short time that we were there. You can read more about the history of Waiahole Poi Factory and its transformation into the restaurant that exists today on their website. They’ve got a fairly recent video explaining the history of the factory, which dates back to 1905. Knowing the history of this landmark on Kamehameha Highway, gave me a deeper appreciation for the Hawaiian food that they serve up daily. If you’re looking for ‘ono (delicious) Hawaiian food, consider checking out Waiahole Poi Factory. I am already thinking about when I can make the drive back for another Sweet Lady!
- Waiahole Poi Factory: 48-140 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
- street parking
- Feels: casual; stop by after hiking or a day at the beach!
- open daily 11am to 5pm
*Bonus: Locals know the song “Sweet Lady of Waiahole,” made famous by Bruddah Waltah. I found this clip on YouTube from KITV4 news, where they talk about the actual Sweet Lady of Waiahole who inspired the song.