Tourist Tuesdays are designated to help me see my Island home from the perspective of a visitor.
I admit, today’s answer to the challenge is a soft punt. Liliha Bakery is iconic in both local and tourist circles. It is also in my backyard, just mauka (mountain direction) from Honolulu’s Chinatown.
Liliha Bakery is the equivalent to my own personal Cheers!, ‘where everybody knows my name‘
…at least the late night crowd does. Wilma cooks up the best cheeseburgers, ever! Marla, Thelma, Li, and Celeste swirl behind the counter seeing to everyone’s needs.
During the day, buses of tourists and vans of foodies pull up. Frequently, the lines spill out into the parking lot. No worries. You go in, pull your number, and wait for the neon board to flash your turn. All hours of the day and night. Sundays, the after-church crowd brings it to a crescendo. Everyone is trying to get their last favorite goodie before the store takes its weekly break from the 24-hour schedule. Locals and tourists alike mill about as if it were a giant tailgating party.
The grill offers a classic 50s-style Hawaiian diner menu. Patrons perched upon swivel stools get to sway to the early rocker jukebox tunes while becoming instant friends with the strangers down the length of the counter.
What!?! You NEVER had Coco Puffs?
I have a list of my personal favorite treats from Liliha which include custard pie, palmeras, and Portuguese sweet bread. But if I’m expected to bring a treat to any event, I reach for everybody’s favorite, Coco Puffs. What is a Coco Puff? It is a classically made cream puff with chocolate filling topped with chantilly frosting. Oh, my!
Coco Puffs are the signature creation of the Liliha Bakery. They are always welcome at any event or occasion.
How can they improve on a classic? In my humble opinion, they have done just that. The new green tea puffs are my favorite. But take the sampling test! Whether you are a fan of the classic cream puff, chocolate puff, coco puff or the new green tea puff, Liliha Bakery will not disappoint.
Don’t take my word for it.
This landmark bakery is where locals and visitors go when only oven-fresh will do. Other places sell baked items that are delivered in trucks and sit in glass cases all day. Not Liliha Bakery. Since Day One, the commitment has been to keep customers happy with fresh cakes and pastries straight from the ovens just behind the wall. To keep this promise, Liliha Bakery fires up its ovens at 2 a.m., baking around the clock, and they don’t quit till 10 p.m., every day. Experienced bakers, some who are 20- or 30-year veterans, use the same time-honored baking methods, making everything from scratch with the freshest island ingredients.
via Liliha Bakery: About Us.
Very few establishments can hit that sweet spot of catering to tourists and locals alike. Do you have a favorite spot where the different crowds mix? Tell us about it below. Is Liliha Bakery one of your favorite Island treats? Talk story with us about your times there.