Libby Manapua Shop


Pork Manapua, Halfmoon (both split in half), Porkhash and White Rice Cake, with Coleman’s mustard & Shoyu dipping sauce

When it comes to Manapua, several famous Oahu institutions (yes, these are indeed institutions) immediately come to mind: Char Hung Sut, Chun Wah Kam and Libby’s. Of these three, Libby’s is the “back-to-basics” winner, in my opinion.


Libby Manapua Shop – 410 Kalihi St. (just a few blocks mauka of Nimitz Hwy.)

Located in lower Kalihi’s industrial corridor just off of Nimitz, make a turn mauka (towards the mountain) on Kalihi st. and drive a few blocks up. On the ewa corner at address 410 you’ll find one of Oahu’s truly hidden gems.

If you’re a visitor to Oahu, this is the perfect last stop to make on your way to the airport to buy a wonderful fresh food gift for folks back home, or simply to enjoy while you wait for your flight to depart.


Libby’s famous pink box

Don’t be surprised if you find a line coming out the door. A limited amount of parking space is available in back. The entrance is on the street corner. Upon entering, you’ll find a customer counter in a somewhat cramped space with one person doing cashier duty, several ladies taking orders and folks in back quickly serving it up. The full menu board spans the back wall, along with multiple stacks empty pink boxes of various sizes. Behind is a hot mustard dispenser, plastic containers, shoyu packets and napkins to complete your dim sum take-out.


Charsiu Pork Manapua, 1 dozen

Now don’t go looking for baked manapua or fancy fillings at Libby’s . They stick with the basic, yet with that they do it right! Choose either Charsiu Pork, Chicken or Blacksugar in steamed white bun. That’s it. No more, no less. In my opinion, Charsiu Pork is THE Manapua for all others to honor. As you can see in the photo above, that’s ALL I chose for our luncheon on this order. With that, Libby’s Charsiu Pork Manapua is PERFECT. The steamed bun is soft and supple, not soggy, overbaked, or dry. It has just enough pliability to allow the sometimes conservative, sometimes generous Charsiu Pork filling. Speaking of which, the filling has a nice balance of Charsiu flavor, without being too sweet, under/over-powering or “unfamiliar”, as I’ve tasted in others. It’s shredded texture and moisture level is also just right. At 95¢ each, this meal-in-itself is indeed one of Hawaii’s perfect comfort foods.


(clockwise from left) White Rice Cake – 45¢ ea., Halfmoon- 45¢ ea. & Porkhash – 45¢ ea.

Reiterating once again, Libby’s is all about the basics, and with that, my Manapua orders always also include a side of Porkhash, Halfmoon and White Rice Cake. There are a few other items to choose as you’ll see in the menu below, but the selections here are what I’d recommend. To be honest, I could actually just order 2 dozen Porkhash, along with a few containers of mustard and shoyu dipping sauce, wolf that all down and call it a day. I love this stuff! lol. Sometimes we also like to order a side of Chow Fun noodles, which gives the meal a little more body. Otherwise, this dim sum spread works just perfectly.


Gotta’ love their hand-drawn logo… classic

For your convenience, I’ll provide you the full menu here, which is current as of this posting:

Libby Manapua Shop
410 Kalihi St., Honolulu, HI
(808)841-2253

MENU (all take-out)
Charsiu pork manapua – 95¢
Blacksugar manapua – 90¢
Chicken manapua – $1.00
Porkhash – 45¢
Halfmoon – 45¢
Pepeyau – 45¢
Rice cake (white or brown layered) – 45¢
Cookies (almond or tea) – 50¢
Coconut custard mochi – 75¢
Coconut custard mochi w/ chocolate chips – 80¢
Spring rolls (vegetarian) – 65¢
Spring rolls (shrimp paste w/curry sauce) – 60¢
Pot Stickers – 55¢
Pillows (like a turnover or pocket) – $1.20
-Azuki bean, chicken curry, chicken teriyaki, sesame chicken, hamburger curry, pizza or bbq hamburger
Chow fun, large (quart size) – $3.90
Chow fun, small (pint size) – $2.85
Gon lau mein, large (quart size) – $4.00
– small (pint size) – $2.90



Comments

Libby Manapua Shop — 66 Comments

  1. Pingback: Libby Manapua Shop | Keep It Off My Wave

  2. Pomai,

    Great blog! I read every post and enjoyed them all. Keep it up, I want to keep reading more. Going back to Hawaii Jan. 12-19, and intend to use many of your suggestions.

    On a further immediate note, please tell me where you would recommend picking up manapua after hiking Leahi and on the way to Bellows? Any place on Kapahulu or towards Hawaii Kai? Does the windward side have good dim sum?

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Yvonne

  3. Hi Yvonne,

    Mahalo for the compliments!

    The closest Manapua shop to Hawaii Kai would be Kwong On, a hole-in-the-wall Chinese take-out that has outstanding baked and steamed Manapau at only 65 cents each!

    Kwong On
    3620A Waialae Ave
    Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
    (Kaimuki, East Oahu, Oahu)
    (808) 734-4666

    Driving from Hawaii Kai, once you enter H-1 freeway heading ewa (towards town), take the Waialae exit, which is the second one after the Kahala exit. Drive up to 12th ave. and look for a place called Toys ‘N Joys on the right (mountain side of street). Kwong On is just a few doors down from there. Their hours are very limited so call before going.

    In Kaneohe (windward side), you definately have to stop by Kin Wah.. arguably one of the best Chinese restaurants on the island. They’re usually PACKED though so go during non-peak hours. They’re tucked behind a small strip mall behind a 7-11 across Windward City Shopping Center.

  4. just wondering if u guys or know of anyone that’ll send orders to N.C…

    I sure do miss your manapua and prok hash….I was raised in kalihi and my uncle would always take me to libby’s….goodness i’m just getting hungry for it now just talking about it…..lol….

  5. Hi Louisa,

    Zippy’s website sells this online:

    12 pcs of Pork Hash, 6 pcs of Char Siu Pork Manapua, and a Fried Noodle Kit.
    1 PKG-
    $37.75

    http://www.zippys.com

    I’m not sure, but I think they get their Manapua from Golden Coin. Definately not as good as Libby’s, but it works. That’s alot more expensive than what you’d pay locally at Libby’s or elsewhere, but at least they have it all packaged and ready to ship.

    The good thing about Manapua is that it freezes well. Let them defrost in the refrigerator first, then put a wet paper towel over them and microwave them for about 30-45 seconds. Comes out tasting fresh and hot like it just came out of the shop.

  6. I am in search of a recipe for (white rice cake) is there anyone who has it? I am originally from the islands but unfortunately moved to california I would appreciate the response on this matter. Mahalo Leahilani

  7. Aloha! I would love to learn how to make the half moon and the pork hash dim sum or manapua as we called it back home for the whole she bang.

    Its hard going home to get the Manapua and then to wait another year before having those delightful treats again.

    I tried looking for the half moon receipe but couldnt find one as close to the Char Hun Sut stuff.

    Thanks you guys!
    Keanu in houston

  8. Howzit Keanu (hey my sister has that name too!),

    There’s a few Manapua and Pork Hash recipes here:
    http://alohaworld.com/ono/viewrecipes.php?page=1&category=Chinese

    There’s a rice cake recipe here:
    http://starbulletin.com/2003/05/21/features/story1.html

    The half moon is also called Fun Gaw, but I can’t find a recipe for it either. Anybody wanna’ chime in?

    There’s certainly unlimited regional variations in Chinese dim sum, but once you get the basic ingredients and methods, it shouldn’t be too hard to duplicate the ones we have in Hawaii. Try call one of our shops and ask them for the recipe. I highly doubt they’d give it (some of them can hardly speak English), but why not try?!

  9. Pomai,
    Thanks for a great website. Just to let you know, I know for a fact that Libby’s does do mailings. Just mailed some to my family in Ca. They freeze, and pack in styrofoam cooler with gel packs and then deliver to the post. They use the US postal overnite service. That part tends to be quite expensive compared to the price of the food, but it gets there in 1 or 2 days. I’ve used them several times for mailings. I’ve even went in several days before I was to travel and paid for an order, then they freezed it for me. I picked it up on day of departure and packed it my care package then just sent it thru with my luggage. All my family and friends from the islands look forward to my mailings which I usually do for birthdays.
    In fact I just went to get some grinds this past weekend and I found that Libby’s now have extended parking lot across the street from their shop, no more going around the block. Hope this added info helps others satisfy their cravings….

  10. Rengalle, much mahalo for the tip on Libby’s phone ordering service!

    I’m sure Hawaii expats who read this will take advantage of it the next time they get that local style manapua fix.

    Nice to know they have added parking too. That little parking lot in the back of the building fills up quick when they’re busy.

  11. Hi, this might seem kinda silly, but I am currently deployed right now in Afghanistan and miss the Hawaiian food back home. I looked up your website and was wondering if you ship manapua overseas. If you can, please email my hotmail address and let me know.

  12. Nellie and Erika, I called Libby’s to verify phone ordering, and it ends up being extremely expensive for shipping. Plus, they don’t accept credit cards over the phone, so you must mail them a physical check before they process the order. Kinda’ humbug.

    After all said and done, you’re looking at close to $60 for just a dozen manapua for mail order. Ouch.

    If you scroll up the comments here, I posted some info about ordering online from Zippy’s, which is a bit cheaper.

    Mahalo Erika for your service to our country!

  13. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,IM A VERY DEDICATED CUSTOMER OF DA LIBBY’S MANAPUA SHOP.I WANTED TO KNOW OF HOW I CAN ORDER MANAPUA,PORK HASH,RICE CAKE FROM YOUR SHOP…I NOW RESIDE IN ATLANTA,GA I MIS DA FOOD SO MUCH,PLEASE WEN U HAVE DA TIME WRITE BACK TO ME SO I CAN PLACE MY ODRER.THIS IS THE BEST MANAPUA EVA….

    MAHALO
    LEHUA

  14. I found a recipe for white rice cake and made it two times over the weekend. Little different than the recipe here. Has anyone tried it? I am trying to remember, it’s been so long since I had it, my parents used to bring it back to the states when they came home from visiting. The recipe I used seemed a little too chewy, not tall enough but the taste on the second try was ok. Just texture felt wrong.
    Any way I would love to hear comments about the long method and where anyone has found the carbonate ingredient.
    Mahalo
    Lisa

  15. has anyone eaten here recently? I went about 2 days ago and I was disappointed to see that all 4 manapuas I ordered had HALF as much meat is they use to!!! =[ i don’t mind paying more for more meat because i understand the cost of things is rising…it was very sad…I don’t know if I’ll go back anytime soon.

  16. Hi aline,

    You know, I’ve had that experience several times at Char Hung Sut, as well as random ones from Libby’s. But wow, it sounds like the batch you had was so sparse of meat that it was discouraging to even return. You should mention that to the owner.

    I mean, sheesh, I’m there for Manapua, not dinner rolls.

    Based on your report, I’ll head on over to Libby’s next week and verify if this is a continuing “lack of charsiu filling” issue.

    Thanks for letting us know about that!

  17. Ouut of curiosity, how do they make white rice cakes? In almost all of the good chinese cookbooks there are recipes for dim sum except white rice cake.

  18. I am a native Hawaiian now residing in North Carolina. The last time I was home in Honolulu which was Feb of 2008, I went straight from the airport to Libby’s, my most favorite place on the island. I wanted to know if there was anyway I could get some manapua, porkhash, and brown rice shipped to North Carolina?

  19. Shantel, I called Libby’s recently and they told me they indeed do offer shipping to the mainland, but it’s going to cost you dearly: as in $75/dozen manapua dearly. Ouch.

    Reason being, they need to pack it frozen in a cooler with dry ice and sent out via Fed Ex using 1-day air. They won’t ship it out any other way.

    I’m going to be posting a “How to make home-made Manapua” in the upcoming month. Perhaps you might wanna’ wait for that one first.

  20. Libbys manapua is good, but customer service is bad. Everyone is all in a bad mood especially the owner. I will and I repeat will never buy any manapuas from libbys or will have my friends and family go there

  21. i hate this place, the owner/manager is rude and crazy.. I highly don’t recommend this place at all.. People stay away

  22. Libby’s has one of the best manapua in town but they don’t treat their customers well. They do not appreciate the many customers that have made them successful and allowed them to move from the old wooden building into their modern facility. They treat you like it is your good fortune to be able to buy their manapua. It is too bad because the founders were not that way.

  23. You would think that by now, they have read these blogs and have changed their attitude, but NOPE. They are so darn grouchy and rude is right! They should be so happy that they have customers and that they have a job!!!!

  24. Pomai, I hope someone mail a copy of comments to Libby so they know how unhappy they made the customers with their bad attitude. My late mother used to shopped at Libby when I was little and never any problem with Libby parents. Now it next generations that ruin business that their parents worked so hard to build for them.

  25. Betty, the best I can say is that they also post their comments on Yelp as well, as that probably has a bigger voice (more visited site) than this blog.

    Every time I’ve been in Libby’s, it was always so hurried, I never had a chance to, nor did I experience any attitude issues for the brief time that I was there.

    As far as how much they’ve recently been filling their manapua with Charsiu, now THAT’s another story!

  26. I don’t know about the attitude, but the food is great. I was hading out on a music tour to Japan a couple of years ago with Amy Hanaiali’i, flying on JAL. My good friend and guitarist extraordinaire, Chino Montero, had the wisdom to pick up two giant boxes of manapua and pork hash from Libby’s on the way to the airport.
    That was the best flight in history. Burrrrp. We just camped out in the back of the plane and went for it. Those pink boxes of grinz generated a LOT of interest in the neighboring seats… ;o)

  27. Pomai, the recipe in Honolulu Star Bulletin does not work I try twice. I found another recipe which the proper recipe for Bak Tong Koh.
    It the yeast in it that make it rise and give it that hole texture. It on calorie.count.about.com/bak-tong-koh-recipe-r27563.

    It the recipe all teahouses use to make bak tong koh.

  28. Betty, thanks for the tip. My sister gave me a Chinese Dim Sum Cook Book (I posted it here a while back) that has a Manapua bun recipe that looks promising. It includes photos, to which it looks exactly like the Manapua sold here in Hawaii. Only the charsiu filling looks different. That’s another challenge to master.

  29. Man i wish i could order an have delvered 2 me on the mainland middle of states lol cause i miss my MANAPUAS AN PORKHASH an so much more
    anyways i b glad 2 just talk 2 any1 from there (HI) cause i miss my home
    town an the food…. Anyways ty for the list of food an prices lol

    u can find me on facebook…. If u would like 2 get ahold of me comment here an ill get an email..

  30. hi there… just wondering if you ship your products to seattle washington. pls let me know. will definatly do business if you do…thanks

  31. I, too, experienced BAD attitudes from Libby owner and workers and must say that I will NEVER return there again. Too Bad…we spend a lot of money on manapua, pork hash, rice cakes etc….I’ll head across the street to Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory instead….they are much friendlier and their manapua’s are good too! They aren’t as “tight” as Libbys. I was shocked to say the least at the poor customer service at Libbys….I will tell all my family and friends to stay away from there!!!!! AUWE!!!!!!

  32. That is really too bad. Good fun, undone by a bad attitude behind the counter. Who needs that! That can kill a business, no matter how good the product is.

  33. It to a point it just extras they give to customers. I got a number 2 extras of rudeness sometime number 3 it all depend. He He.

  34. Do you ship to Florida? If so please let me know prices and timing. My party is on the 10th of October.
    Thank you,
    Teri 239-272-1398

  35. I am hooked. Went to Hawaii last summer to visit friends and the first place they brought me to was Libby’s. The best food ever. We went there almost every day to get the manapua and porkhash. I can not find anything like this in California. Can you share your recipe? Debbie

  36. Debbie, check out allrecipes for Hawaiian pork hash recipe just leave out the shrimp and see it just like Chinatown dim sum style. Manapua check grouprecipes for their manapua it great too. Hawaii Chinese dim sum are different due to it date back to field workers using simple ingredient in making it. I have people from mainland try it and did not like it but our dim sum have history it not like the Hong Kong style of dim sum.

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  38. Do you guys do overnight shipment of Manapua to the States? I love me some ono manapua & have been craving em fo quite some time.

    • Ama, as I replied to someone a while back in this thread, when I checked at the time, they arrange shipping, but not surprisingly it ends up being quite expensive, coming out over $60 when all’s said and done for a dozen Libby’s Manapua. I’m not sure if they’ll process credit cards now, but back then it was strictly cash, so you had to mail them a physical check before anything even happens. Not worth it.

      I’ll try calling them tomorrow morning (they close very early) to see what the latest scoops is on mail orders from Libby’s. I’m curious, too!

    • Liz, I don’t know what it is about this post that so many folks assume I’m the owner of Libby’s. I wish though, as they’re probably makin’ big time BANK! Please call Libby’s at the phone number provided for the latest scoops on mail orders.

  39. I gave up and started making my own . Find yourself a copy of Gail wong chinese cook book it has been out of print long time but can find online used she ha manapua and harw go sui mai and many other grear receipes from hawaii
    But still no half moon i can figure out filling but need receipe for dough caue can only find won ton pi

    • manette,

      I have a Dim Sum cook book stashed away, whom I got from my sister as a Christmas gift several years ago. It looked like it was published fairly recently. In it is an excellent step-by-step (including photos) method in making dim sum charsiu bau, a.k.a. “Manapua”, along with also how to make Half Moon, plus much more! I’ll try and dig it up.

    • Justin,

      You made the same comment here way back in 2009. Is Libby’s customer service still that bad? I do know they were skimping on Charsiu filling at one time, where we renamed it “Manapua Buns”, because that’s pretty much all it was. Check it out…

      Manapua Buns

  40. I sure miss going to Libbys on Saturdays to buy chow fun, manapua, pork hash and halfmoons – Grandpa took us there when it was just a small business with a grumpy barber shop next door who yelled at us if we parked in front of his shop- parking was a premium back then, but it was worth getting yelled at to rush in and place an order. Seeing Grandpa show up with one of those heavy laden pink boxes was always a special occasion as Libbys always sold out quickly – often before noon. Back then the manapua was 50 cents, Grandpa said they were a quarter when he was a young father living there in Kalihi. Sure miss him as well as those wonderful meat filled bun – and don’t forget the rice cake – so onno! I’ll bet the owners still get a kick out of seeing my grown children now coming in with their kids as this is the fourth generation enjoying those wonderful steamed buns! bet they remember grandpa ‘Oh’ who owned the car junkyard nearby on Sand Island.

  41. I too live in Illinois, my home state is Hawaii. And yes omg do I ever miss the food. When I do go home to visit all I do is eat. lol. I was lookin for a way to bring Hawaii to me. No luck yet!

  42. For dough wraper
    1 cup wheat starch
    2/3 cup tapioca starch
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons oil
    1 cup & 2 tablespoons boiling water
    mix ingredients well cover and rest for 15 mins. The dough is most important part of half moon. Filling is Jungshan style of bamboo, and jicama shredded and cooked stir fry first. Libby and Char Hung Sut, and other places used simple country Chinese style ingredient which is this one.

    Oh yes salt and pepper to taste on filling. Steam 15 mins make 3 to 4 dozs. Sorry about filling recipe for I eye measure for years on it.

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