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Kan Zaman Celebrates Grand Opening in Kaimuki

Kaimuki just became the second location for Kan Zaman, a Moroccan/Lebanese restaurant, owned and operated by Chef Kamal Jemmari, originally from Morocco and Youssef Dakroub, originally from Lebanon. This, after a huge success when it first opened its doors 3 years ago in downtown Honolulu on Nuuanu Avenue, serving up authentic cuisine from the Mediterranean.  

On top of their already popular menu, Chef Kamal has added new menu items that are reminiscent of traditional Lebanese and Moroccan home-cooked delicacies. Designed to be enjoyed with family and friends, the new menu items such as Seafood Bastilla, a phyllo dough baked pastry filled with seafood, seasoned vermicelli noodles and Arabic spices, baked into a zesty pie and Merquez Shakshouka, a famous North African dish made with poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, bell peppers and spicy lamb sausage will prepare guests for an exotic, mouth-watering experience.

On behalf of the Tasty Island, Yours Truly was invited to attend Kan Zaman’s official grand opening in Kaimuki this past Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Following is photographic coverage, including captions and commentary. Enjoy. ;-)

Owner Chef Kamal Jemmari is originally from Morocco, while his business partner Youssef Dakroub is originally from Lebanon, hence a melding of the two countries’ styles of mediterranean/middle eastern cuisine at Kan Zaman

Kan Zaman Kaimuki dining room

Mourasha Orange Blossom decanter (a middle eastern tradition where you  apply the liquid essence of Orange blossom to your face after eating to refresh yourself)

Aaron, one of Kan Zaman’s assistants (he used to manage an Eggs & Things restaurant)

Belly Dancer Maria entices guests at the Kan Zaman Kaimuki grand opening. Belly Dancing will be performed regularly at the new Kaimuki location. Call for schedule. 

Belly Dancer Maria’s mesmerizing moves (think Shakira)

Belly Dancer Maria’s mesmerizing moves (think Shakira)

Kan Zaman Kaimuki grand opening preview menu

Mezza Sampler:  Hummus, Baba Ghanouge, Warak Enab (stuffed grape leaves) and Taktouka (Moroccan red peppers and tomatoes)

Mezza Sampler

Mezza Sampler, served with fresh pita bread called Khobos in Arabic

Joel Gott Grenache 

Salmon Charmoula: Baked wild salmon infused with saffron, lemon, garlic and coriander

Salmon Charmoula

Seafood Bastilla: Phylo Dough filled with seafood, seasoned rice vermicelli noodles and Harissa, baked into a zesty pie, served with grilled jumbo shrimp

Seafood  Bastilla (the vermicelli noodles are mixed with finely chopped fish, octopus, shrimp and clams)

Vegetarian Shakshouka: a famous North African skillet dish, made with poached egg, roasted tomatoes and bell peppers 

Merquez Shakshouka: a famous North African skillet dish, made with poached egg, roasted tomatoes, bell peppers and spicy lamb sausage

A runny egg awaits you as you dig into the exotic flavors of the Shakshouka skillet dish

adinjan Machvi (v): Lebanese style eggplant stuffed with rice, served over a red thyme sauce

Iced Moroccan Mint Tea

Baklava, Kan Zaman Layered Cake and Moroccan Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake

Turkish Chocolate Coffee Cake, Mediterranean Lemon Bar and Orange Blossom Cheesecake

And? My God, asking to describe the flavors of these exotic Lebanese-meets-Moroccan dishes, is like asking a typical guy to explain what everything is in a womens cosmetics department. It’s like, “I think that’ lipstick, but that might be something you put around your eyes. Or is that foundation?” lol

Whatever the case, my favorite of the four different mezza samplers was the Taktouka (Moroccan red peppers and tomatoes). It was the most bold and distinct, and absolutely delicious with the Khobos. My only wish is that the Khobos (essentially Pita bread) would have been served fresh oven-baked, warm and soft. As it was, it tasted like it had come out of a package. 

As for the entrees, my dibs are for the Seafood Bastilla. I LOVED the texture contrast of the somewhat crispy vermicelli noodles, the delicate Filo crust, combined with the unique middle eastern spice treatment and combination of chopped up octopus, fish, clams and shrimp mixed in it. That, along with the grilled jumbo shrimp was fantastic. If anything, I would have liked some kind of exotic sauce plated underneath it, however as it was served with the lemon wedge worked well.

The two skillet dishes were interesting, and would certainly make for a fantastic middle eastern style breakfast. I was diggin’ the runny egg yolk within it.

The stuffed eggplant dish is probably the most difficult to describe, being the sauce had a very unique flavor I couldn’t put a pin on. There was definitely hints of cinammon, and also according to Youssef, Sumac and Cumin, all in a mild tomato base. The rice stuffed within it simply took on the flavors of that multi-faceted sauce. 

The Salmon Charmoula was another one that was delicious, yet again, the flavors were so unique, I had a hard time making out exactly what, where or why it was all about, except that somehow, most importantly, it worked out! Know what I mean? I suppose that’s what you get when you’re combining cuisine from two different middle eastern countries bordering the mediterranean sea, yet almost worlds apart from a geographical standpoint. 

The desserts, all made by Chef Scott Nelson’s wife, were fantastic. My fave of all being the Turkish Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake, made with real Turkish Coffee. OMG, by far one of the best Cheesecakes I’ve ever had! There was this interesting grittiness about, while the that Turkish Coffee was so aromatic, and the overall blend of flavors was spot-on. Loved it! 

Kan Zaman grand opening VIP media group: Nadine Kam (Honolulu Star Advertiser), Sean Morris (Advertising Associates International), Melissa Chang (Frolic Hawaii) and Stephanie Kurota (808 Plate)… plus Yours Truly of the Tasty Island, the guy taking this photo

Belly Dancer Maria and Lehua, wearing a traditional middle eastern womens outfit called Shela Wa Abaya. 

Pomai, Lehua and Kan Zaman owner Youssef

Kan Zaman owners Chef Kamal Jemmari (originally from Morocco) and Youssef Dakroub (originally from Lebanon)

Summing it up, Kan Zaman, now with their second location in Kaimuki, should be on your radar if you’re looking for very unique and exotic Middle Eastern eats near the East Oahu area. Owners Kamal of Morocco and Youssef of Lebanon are both passionate about their unique blend of culture and food, and my overall first impression is very favorable. Check it out! 

Kan Zaman

1127 11th Avenue (off Waialae Avenue, in the municipal parking lot)
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Reservations: (808) 260-1763

Sun – Thu: 11am – 9:30pm
Fri – Sat: 11am – 10:30pm

1028 Nuuanu Ave. (Chinatown district)
Honolulu, Hawaii

Reservations: (808) 554-3847

Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm

Visit www.kanzamanhawaii.com for information on their new menu, vegetarian options, delivery and


3 thoughts on “Kan Zaman Celebrates Grand Opening in Kaimuki

  • May 21, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I absolutely LOVE Lebanese food. Vegetarian warak enab is probably my favorite food ever, however, those look more like greek vegetarian dolma (also delicious, but different). I’m used to Lebanese stuffed grape leaves having tomato, onion and chickpeas along with the rice. Not that I’d turn them down either way.

  • May 21, 2017 at 11:28 am


    I agree, these Warak Enab tasted very similar to Greek Dolmathes, with a very tangy flavor profile, and IIRC, just rice in it, not chickpeas, nor tomatoes or onions. Pretty basic stuffed grape leaves smothered in a yogurt-based sauce.

    Hey, check your email. I sent you a photo of a guy working here in Honolulu now who is originally from the town you live (or lived) in (GB). When he told me he was from there, I was like, “Hey, I know someone from there too!” Small world. ;-)

    • May 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Check your email! I replied this morning! :)


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