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Airport Eats: Big Kahuna's Pizza 'n Stuffs

Ha ha, I like that. “Pizza ‘N Stuffs”. Like all kinds of odda’ stuffs (other things), such as sandwiches, desserts, and of course their famous Cheese Balls, which I’ve been begging to try, and finally got around to doing so.

Running errands in the Mapunapuna area this past Wednesday, I decided to drop by Big Kahuna’s relocated Pizzeria, now situated at the Airport Trade Center across from Byron’s Drive In on Paiea Street, near the airport, having moved years ago from their former location not far away from there, right across Nimitz highway in the Mapunapuna business district.

Fittingly for their name, the decor inside the restaurant has that familiar “Shack-like” kitschy tropical tiki bar theme going on…

Being located near Hickam AFB, it’s no wonder they’re our fighter pilots’ favorite…

More cool art on the wall…

Proclaiming to have da’ best pizza in Hawaii…

Well let’s find out if this is true, where Diner A, E and yours truly each ordered Da’ Big Kahuna’s personal-sized pizzas to go, plus a side of their famous Cheese Balls…

Let’s start with Da’ Big Kahuna’s Garlic Cheese Balls…

The real deal…

They’re certainly cheesy alright…

Being called “Cheese Balls”, I thought they were literally big balls of solid cheese, but it turns out they’re actually baked buns that are smothered with melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese over it, and sitting in garlic butter.

The verdict? Ono! The combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheese is kinda’ salty, as is the bread, as is the garlic butter, which of course makes this thing taste pretty darned good. It’s also very “garlic-ee”. Most notably though is the roll itself, which has a really nice and pillow-ee texture, while having just the right amount of glutenous bite to it, along with a tasty golden brown crust. Excellent. Simply put, plenty of melted cheese on a great bread roll that’s deeply saturated with garlic butter certainly works for me. If there’s anything to improve, I’d say the cheese needed a little more time in the oven to melt, and speaking of cheese, more of it please. Otherwise, fantastic and worthy of a solid 3 SPAM Musubi rating.

Now for the star attractions, Da’ Big Kahuna’s pizzas, beginning with Diner A’s choice, the “Meat Lovers”…

Da’ Big Kahuna’s – Meat Lovers pizza:  pepperoni, bacon, kalua pork, italian sausage, ham, portuguese sausage & beef brisket. 7” personal pan – $7.55 (shown), 12” medium pan – $19.95

Diner E’s choice, Da’ Kanaka (Hawaiian)…

Da’ Big Kahuna Pizza – Oven roasted, shredded kalua pork, placed on a layer of our hawaiian sweet & tangy bbq sauce & topped w/green onions. 7” personal pan-$7.25 (shown), 12” medium pan-$19.45

Last but never least, yours truly decided on trying Da’ Big Kahuna’s “Da’ Sumo Special” Pizza, which I suppose is their idea of what a Sumo wrestler could eat; as in just about everything, including the kitchen sink…

Da’ Big Kahuna Pizza – Pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, bacon, portuguese sausage, kalua pork, onions, fresh mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, & black olives. this one “broke da mouth”. 7” personal pan-$7.25 (shown) 12” medium pan-$19.45

OK, time for a crust check…

Certainly nice ‘n golden-brown toasty, without appearing burnt. Also notice these pizzas have a substantial lip on the crust like deep-dish, although it’s not really built-up with toppings like a deep dish.

As always  a required angle, the cross-cut view…

And a closer look at “Da Kanaka” Kalua Pig ‘n Cheese pizza…

And  the verdict on the pizzas? Diner A really, really enjoyed his “Meat Lovers” version, quickly proclaming it a 3 SPAM Musubi affair and ready to head back to Da’ Big Kahuna’s for more!

Diner E was more scrutinizing, giving “Da Kanaka” Kalua Pig ‘n Cheese Pizza 1 SPAM Musubi. Which was for good reason, as the Kalua Pig on the pizza was dried out from the baking process,  having an almost cardboard texture to it. He did note though that the crust was good, even though he’s more a fan of thin crust (like Boston’s), and best of all, the sweet BBQ sauce that the Kalua Pig, melted cheese and green onions sat on was a really nice compliment that glued it together well. We swapped slices, and I’d give “Da Kanaka” a 2, yet Diner E gives it 1.

Finally, Diner P (that’s me) gives “Da Sumo Special” 2 SPAM Musubi. I found the crust to be nicely toasted and very tasty, albeit a bit “spongee”, kinda’ like Costco’s pizza crust, which, while decent, I’ve never been a fan of.  As I expected, the “everything including the kitchen sink” combination of pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, bacon, portuguese sausage, kalua pork, onions, fresh mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and black olives toppings pretty much was “lost”. Meaning, I couldn’t really palate exactly what this pizza  really is, versus, say a plain-yet-definitive Pepperoni Pizza.

Still, a delicious pizza that I give 2 SPAM Musubi, and like Diner A, I’d certainly return again to try more topping varieties that Big Kahuna has to offer. In a future visit, I’m definitely got dibs on either the Grilled Eggplant or the Shrimp Scampi Pizza. Hey now!

While a 7″ diameter personal pizza may sound small, being that it’s sort of “deep dish” (yet not really), it’s quite filling, where I could only eat half in one sitting and saved the other half for later. Yet Diner A enjoyed his pizza so much that he polished the box!…

Burp. Ah, that was deliciouso!

Da’ Big Kahuna’s Pizza ‘N Stuffs
550 Paiea Street in the Airport Trade Center (near HNL)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96815

Tel. (808) 833-5588
Fax. (808) 8333-5098
web: www.BigKahunasPizza.net

The Tasty Island Rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase.

11 thoughts on “Airport Eats: Big Kahuna's Pizza 'n Stuffs

  • October 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I haven’t had Big Kahuna’s in years! My favorite pizza was the Sumo Special pizza and my favorite sandwich was Kalua Pig on that huge, freshly baked bun. Cheese balls? I can still taste them in my mind.

  • October 18, 2010 at 5:10 am

    OMG. Coming over tomorrow. Post rental car = must stop. Forget Zippy’s!!!

  • October 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Pomai, sound so yummy the kalua pizza. I was at Makittii once Perry Smorgy. Food was great and they got teppemyaki all you can seafood buffet. The one thing they started off on the wrong foot is dessert two per a person per a visit to dessert counter. That mean people have to keep going back go get more later.

    So many customers were very upset at the foolish rule set up by managment.
    Grand opening is 20% off for all local islander with I.D..

  • October 18, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Pomai, my surfer dudes and I like to try the Big Kahunas Pizza. That something to sink (not us surfers) teeth into to. My sisters and mom heard of Makittii plan to head there for the 20% discount deal. Yeah it lame they made rule of desserts hope they change rule now since it cost less to make desserts than other food.

  • October 18, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve eaten at Big Kahuna’s twice. Once at their old location and once at their current location. The cheese balls are winnahs.

    Speaking of pizza, there’s a new pizza place that opened up on Beretania next to Los Chaparros Mexican Restaurant. I’ve been meaning to stop by, but the parking lot is so small.

  • October 21, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Pomai, you got me heading with the pizzas there. My homegirls will help me with it. I so glad now Liliha St. got own dim sum restaurant called Nice Day Restaurant. No need in going to Chinatown for dim sum now.

  • October 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I got to try the BIG KAHUNAS Pizza that a Hawaiian style pizza. This web is very informative from other bloggers also in sharing infors. I live on Liliha St. and sure glad to have many eateries now on Liliha St. Will try Nice Day Restaurant for their dim sum. I just take the Liliha Bus to get there.

  • October 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Those cheese balls look ono, although I could feel my arteries harden just reading about them! ;)

  • October 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Jenny, aside of the threat of hardened arteries, I think the cheese balls (bread rolls) needed even more melted cheese than it already had. The ones being served in Big Kahuna’s restaurant to dine-in customers looked like they had HEAPS of it piled high, yet or some reason, our takeout version in the aluminum tray pan was kinda’ “manju”, a.k.a. “pake”. lol

    Nina, I’m just BEGGING to blog Liliha Bakery’s diner. I hear their pancakes are the best on the island. So many places to eat around town, yet with so little spare time to get to it. Such is life.

    Marvo, name please! I totally gotta’ get to V-Lounge, adjacent to Ala Moana Center, and try their highly-touted pies.

    Kelike and Erica, like most other new restaurants, I’ll hold off on Makitti until the (Yelp) reviews get better in general. Some of my coworkers tried the new Tanaka Saimin and were NOT impressed, to put it lightly. Yet that’s to be expected of any new restaurant going through the usual logistical growing pains.

    Traci J, as much as Big Kahuna’s may sound good (and I do recommend them), I really don’t think you should write off Zippy’s. Zippy’s truly is an old school INSTITUTION on this island that even us locals take for granted, and can’t be skipped by visitors to our state. You must try Zippy’s Zip Min, which from my most recent experience, I’m nominating as one of, if not THE BEST bowl of Saimin in town. You also MUST get a Zip Pac. Just make sure you enjoy it at any nearby beach, absorbing the blue skies, blue water and negative ion energy. It’s heavy, so you’ll appreciate being able to work it off in the water with a swim after you rest. Da’ best!

    Molly, I’m willing to bet Big Kahuna’s sandwich version of Kalua Pig is much better than the pizza. In pizza form, the Kalua Pig was disappointingly dried-out, with its only saving grace being the tasty, slighty sweet BBQ sauce it was based on. Whew.

  • November 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Pomai-san, t’anks for da heads up on Big Kahuna’s – at least there’s several places to kaukau in and around HNL! Since we get to HNL from Kwajalein (via Majuro) at 2:00 am (4:00 after January 1) our chow choices are limited to Byron’s – and we no got place to schlep or store our luggage unless we crash out for a few hours at the Ohana or the Best Western waiting for connecting flights to the mainland. At least after a few hours sleep it’s not that far for decent chow.

    Da lucky buggahs who fly on AMC to Hickam direct from Kwaj get in at a decent hour (about 6:30 pm) to get grindz before the overnight mainland flights.

    I oughta do a review of the – bleh – eateries on Kwaj just for fun for TTI!

  • December 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Here’s something really exciting…ANYTHING on their menu can be made vegan! When I asked about it the woman at the counter pleasantly said that they have vegan cheeze and that the owner is vegan. The pizza I had that day was fantastic! It made my day to find someplace new to eat where I don’t have to do a big song and dance to order something I would eat. Thanks Big Kahuna!!


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