Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Oahu Grand Tour: Pearl Harbour, Pineapples & Pupu

Oahu is full of must-see sites, and the Polynesian Cultural Centre and Pearl Harbour are just two of the most popular destinations on Oahu. Our grand tour started early in the morning with a 6am pickup by Kona, our Hawaian-born tour guide for the day, and a crack-of-dawn visit to Pearl Harbour and the USS Arizona Memorial, followed by exploring the lush beauty of the countryside and North Shore of the island. With lunch and half a day at the Polynesian Cultural Centre, a visit to the Dole Pineapple Pavilion and enjoying the scenic island treasures such as Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, La’ie Point, and the surfer paradise of Oahu's crashing beaches, we were treated to a history lesson from Kona and taught a smattering of Hawaiian, such as "Hele Mai" — Let's get going!

Our grand tour of Oahu

Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour

American flag waving in the wind at Pearl Harbour

American Warship at Pearl Harbour

The Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu's east shore

A young pineapple growing at the Dole Plantation

After a few weeks, the young pineapples become ripe and are ready to be harvested

A North Shore Farmer's Market at the Dole Plantation

Pam at the Farmer's Market sells fresh local pineapple, mango, papaya and coconut

A tray of Pam's produce: fresh pineapple, mango, papaya and coconut

The surf at Waimea Beach

Waves can get up to 30-feet high on peak days

The Polynesian Cultural Centre on Oahu's north shore

The Polynesian Cultural Centre

A band from Tonga

An animated Tonga dance performance

A dancer from New Zealand

The Samoan dance troupe

A taste of Tahiti

The Hawaiian procession with royal island colours

Lushly landscaped, the Polynesian Cultural Centre is delight for all the senses

An island hibiscus growing at the centre

One of the sous chefs at the Polynesian buffet

The Polynesian Cultural Centre buffet lunch: Pork with Honey Mustard Glaze, Oriental Chicken, Shrimp with Citrus & Coconut Sauce, Steamed Rice and Island Greens

A locally owned Macadamia Farm

Beautiful local flowers framed the entry to the Macadamia Nut Farm

The serene Byodo-In Temple at the foot of the Ko'olau Mountains 
in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, a replica of a 10th-century temple in Uji, Japan

A meandering walkway up to a meditation garden

A lush mossy step on the footpath

Ringing the large bell at the temple ensures a long healthy life

A proud and regal peacock keeps watch on the temple grounds

An impressive golden Buddha is 'centre-stage' in the temple

The Byodo-In Temple with the mist-shrouded Ko'olau Mountains behind

A family of hawaiian ducks have adopted the Temple pond as their home

The temple koi pond

At an altitude of 1,186 feet, the Nuuanu Pali Lookout has fabulous views of Oahu’s north eastern coast, and was the site of the Battle of Nu'uanu, which led to the unification of the islands of Hawaii

Painting of the Battle of Nu'anu Pali 

A family of beautiful cats live in the wild at Nu'uanu State Park

Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 lb chicken thighs, boneless
1/4 cup green onions, chopped on a diagonal for garnish

Huli Huli Sauce:
2 cups pineapple juice
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients together until well combined. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. This will be the glaze-dipping sauce. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl with the sauce, turning to coat well. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate 2 to 6 hours.

Add the reserved sauce to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high. Grill the marinated chicken thighs on both sides until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side, discarding the marinade after they're cooked.

Arrange the chicken on a large platter and drizzle with the warm glaze. Cover and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with the chopped green onions and serve with any leftover glaze for dipping.