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On the Menu

Heaven in a Bun

By Steve Murray Photos By Anthony Consillio
December 29, 2013

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Ask friends and family about a great place to get manapua and Island Manapua is sure to be on the short list of recommendations. For more than 30 years, the Gulick Avenue restaurant has been serving these pork-filled buns and other Chinese menu items to countless Kalihi families. And as more restaurants opened, the demand for tasty manapua has grown, leading to long lines of eager customers.

At Island Manapua, you’ll find heaven in a bun — a plethora of sweet, spicy and savory dumplings in both steamed and baked form.

Of course, the standards are there: Char Siu, Curry Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken are still among the most coveted items, as are Oyster Sauce Chicken, Lup Cheong and Hot Dog-baked manapua. And there are more unique options for the early rising diners. Ham and Cheese? Check. Vegetarian? Got it. Pizza? You bet. Black Sugar? Definitely. And at $1.75 each, these pockets of goodness are also a good value.

Beyond the delicious and simple dumpling, Island Manapua is also one of the busiest Chinese restaurants in town. Stop by any day and the numbers of those seeking Roast Duck, Ginger Chicken and Spicy Eggplant equal those ordering manapua. On weekends, it seems that every family picnic, luau or football game around town features at least one box of the restaurant’s edible delights. That’s just bound to happen whenever flavor meets value.

A fine example of this are Island Manapua’s plate lunches and daily special combos. Choose a starch and Orange Chicken, Pot Roast Pork and Roasted Pork with Tofu, and you’ll get a full meal and change back from your $10 bill. And the goodness doesn’t end there.

Boneless Peking Duck Cake Noodles ($8.95) features crispy, tangy duck and tender noodles, and is guaranteed to satisfy. So are the many choices of dim sum ($1.25 each), which include White Rice Cakes, Taro Cake, Spring Rolls and Jin Dui. Pork Hash (95 cents) is particularly tempting and fun to eat.

Want more bang for your buck? As a special scoop for Dining Out readers, diners may take advantage of an ongoing Hot Deals Hawaii offer where customers may purchase an $18 voucher for just $10 — an almost 50 percent savings. The special deal is available through Jan. 2, and vouchers are valid at the Kalihi location for six months. (Limit is one voucher per party/visit, and voucher may not be combined with other specials/discounts/coupons.) Simply visit HotDealsHawaii.com and enjoy the savings Island Manapua has to offer.

Island Manapua Factory

811 Gulick Ave., Honolulu
847-2677
Open daily 5:30 a.m.-3 p.m.