Local-style classics

Cover Story

August 20, 2023

Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

(From left) Amalia Joy Ruiz, Elsa Mamaclay, Kim Park, Jifen Huang and Dez Kanoe showcase some of Young’s Fish Market’s bestselling items.

If you’re in the mood for classic Hawaiian-style food, look no further than Young’s Fish Market. For decades now, the family-owned business has been dishing out local favorites such as laulau, squid luau and beef stew — making this eatery a multigenerational favorite.

It first opened as a small market in Kalihi that just sold fish. As the years passed, owners Wilfred and Charlotte Young added Chinese groceries and snacks to offset the slow times between fishing seasons. They then ventured into ready-made Chinese food and finally, at a suggestion from a friend, Hawaiian food.

Young’s Fish Market offers a variety of local plate lunches.

Today, Young’s Fish Market is run by Wilfred and Charlotte’s grandchildren, Daniel and Andrea Young, who opened a second location in Kapolei in 2019.We caught up with Andrea, the restaurants’ general manager.

DO: What is your favorite dish on the menu?

AY: It really depends on my mood. Usually, it’s the laulau because I get a full meal out of one item — vegetables and protein together in one. Or our beef stew — super soft beef, carrots, potatoes and gravy. It’s super flavorful and a popular choice. Even just the gravy over rice is tasty.

Combination Plate ($24.25), shown with laulau and kalua pig

DO: What are some unique items on the menu?

AY: We offer many different types of hot laulau on different days of the week — pork laulau daily, chicken laulau on Mondays and Thursdays, butterfish laulau on Tuesdays and Fridays, and beef laulau on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The pork and chicken laulau are $9; the butterfish laulau is $12.50 and the beef laulau is $11.25. We also offer a vegetable laulau (frozen only) for $9 daily. It includes butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and tofu.

Beef Stew Plate ($16.75)

DO: Are there any current specials we should know about?

AY: For the month of August, we brought back our Chinese Style Oxtail Laulau ($16). It was inspired by oxtail soup and was originally a collaboration with Lanai Tabura that was extremely popular. We have brought it back at various times over the years, and this year we’re carrying it for August only.

DO: Any pro tips for dining at Young’s Fish Market?

AY: Our Big Al’s Hawaiian Bento ($15.75) is a great option for people who like variety. It features a smaller version of our pork laulau, kalua pig, one scoop of rice, pipikaula and sweet potato.

DO: Young’s Fish Market has been a staple since 1951. What do you attribute that success to?

AY: We feel fortunate to still be around in a time where so many multigenerational businesses are closing. We do our best to adapt to the times and adjust our menu to the ever-changing landscape (while still) trying to maintain the quality and consistency of our staple items. The recipes haven’t changed since the beginning and that has helped us to become a go-to spot for locals. We are grateful to our loyal customers.

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best