Whether you live in or plan on visiting Oahu and are looking where to find the best grinds in town from a local’s point-of-view, look no further than ‘Island Flavors’, a new book authored by Hawaii food blogger ‘Aku Eats‘. Shown above is the cover of the book, which was so graciously sent to me as a pre-release copy by the author himself.
It’s basically an Oahu restaurant guide written from a local food blogger’s perspective, featuring places as high profile as Alan Wong’s and Zippy’s, to such low-key hole-in-the-wall places like W&M and Happy Day.
The featured restaurants are categorized in the book pretty much how you would find them on AkuEats.com, yet considerably extended from there. The ‘Local Specialty Items’ chapter is especially interesting, for me anyway. This part features the best eateries in town for popular dishes such as Saimin, Manapua ‘n things, Poke, Crack Seed, Spam Musubi, Huli-Huli Chicken, Oxtail Soup, Shave Ice and Malasadas. I think I’ve already covered most of them right here on my blog, yet it’s always interesting to read another local’s point of view.
From there, it’s categorized by ethnic cuisine, including every corner of the globe from America to Mexico, Cuba, Japan, Vietnam, India, France and the Mediterranean, just to name a few.
Say you’re in the mood for Indian cuisine. Aku mentions having a good friend from Pakistan that used to cook up some mighty fine curries. With that, Aku has set off for the all the Indian restaurants in town to get his curry fix and more as he explains his recommendations on the menu at such places as Maharani, Bombay, India Cafe, Taj Mahal, India Bazaar and India House.
How about Italian? ‘Island Flavors’ got that covered as well, with 6 pages of restaurants, including Mediterraneo, Sergio’s, Cafe Sistina, Assagio’s and Longhi’s, just to name a few!
Most importantly, you can tell he’s actually eaten at all these restaurants as he goes into such details of what’s on the menu and which dishes he enjoyed. Quite remarkable to have dined at and covered so many places on the island! I don’t think I’ve been to even half of where he’s visited.
As you might expect with any book covering food, there’s a wealth of photos within, including 32 (16 back-to-back) pages in full color.
To note, there’s one photo in there sourced right here from The Tasty Island. That would be the black and white photo of the Rice Cake, Pork Hash and Half Moon from Libby Manapua Shop on page 53.
I already mentioned to ‘Aku’ that I have a couple of problems with the book’s design. Number one is the typeface selection, which I find hard on the eyes. Especially where it’s italicized. Here’s a page inside so you can see what I’m talking about…
That font is what’s considered a “display” or “ornamental” font, and, in my opinion, shouldn’t be used for entire bodies of text, but only as a design element for logos and headers. Italicizing a display font makes it that much harder to read. Plus, the leading (space between each line of text) is too tight.
There’s also too much space in the gutter margin, along with NO margin within each text box. *scratches head*.
Also, each restaurant within their respective category aren’t listed in alphabetical order, but are in completely random order.
Lastly, I suggested he should have named the book simply ‘Aku Eats’. ‘Island Flavors’ sound rather generic, and ‘Aku’ did mention that Sam Choy already has a cookbook titled ‘Island Flavors’.
Those design gripes aside, the content and writing that ‘Aku’ provides are truly valuable, having you feel as if you’re having a personal conversation with the author himself about the best places to eat around the island, coming from someone who’s actually eaten there before.
Folks from the mainland and abroad planning their visit to the islands frequently email me asking for a list of my favorite places to eat on Oahu, and now I can simply just point them in the direction of ‘Island Flavors’ by Aku Eats. It’s got it all covered!
‘Island Flavors’ from the creator of akueat.com will be available soon at Hawaii Costco, Walmart, Borders and Barnes & Nobles locations. You can also purchase it online at the Aku store at www.akueats.com.
Could there be a ‘Tasty Island’ Honolulu Food Blogger book authored by yours truly in the working? I dunno’. You’ll have to hit me up on that if you’re interested in helping me out!
What? ‘Island Flavors’
from the creator of akueats.com
What is this book about? It’s an Oahu restaurant and local grindz guide
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? It was given to me by the author (see above where you can buy it)
Big shaka to: Excellent writing and very valuable information about where to eat on Oahu from a local food blogger’s persepective. Beautiful color photos on 32 pages (16 back-to-back) within.
No shaka to: Bad use of typeface. Margins off. Title of book should have been ‘Aku Eats’.
The Tasty Island rating:
(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)