Morning started with the crunchy but soft inside filled with bursting flavor malasada puffs (Portuguese donuts) from Leonard’s Bakery was heavily. This place opens at 5:30 AM and its small parking lot that could fill probably 10 or so cars already filled out. We didn’t get a spot so Jason pulled over on the side street and I walked in to buy the yummy malasadas.
I ordered the original, custard, macadamia nut, guava, and the flavor of the month which turned out to be banana for $1.65 each.
Please please please grab extra napkins, you’ll need them because right after the first bite, the fillings burst out and the coated sugar fall off like crazy. Each bite was a treat!
First stop, my favorite beach/park in Hawaii – Kualoa Regional Park. This beach/park has plenty of parking spots, never crowded for the 3 times I have been there, and absolutely gorgeous “Jurassic Park” mountain as backdrop. This is the perfect spot to get the postcard-perfect Hawaii vacation photos!
Looking back at pictures, oh gosh, my tummy was huge like a watermelon!
We had an early lunch at Giovanni’s Aloha Shrimp, it opens at 10:30 AM. Unfortunately, our favorite shrimp truck, Macky’s, is permanently closed so we hope Giovanni’s (highest rated in Yelp and TripAdvisor) would be as good. Giovanni’s have two locations, we went to the one at 56-505 Kamehameha Hwy Kahuku as it’s closer to the Polynesian Cultural Center (our next destination). That place has a big tent and many picnic benches available. As one of the early arrivers, we had no issue grabbing a bench. At 10:30, Giovanni’s truck pulled up and people got in line for its famous shrimps.
We got 5 plates for $14 each for the 4 of us since Jason wanted two plates himself LOL. My mom is terrible at taking pictures even with a cell phone, she tends to tilt the camera so bad that usually it chops off the head or leg like this picture. I usually will review the pics and have to ask her to retake by showing her exactly the angle…but this one…I was so hungry so I didn’t bother to check and started eating after the picture -.-
In our opinions, Macky’s shrimps were better! Macky’s did a better job frying the garlic to make it more flavorful than Giovanni’s. Giovanni’s garlic sauce is too thick and the rice is too soft from putting too much water. Also, Giovanni’s shrimp plate doesn’t come with salad. However, it’s still quite delicious.
After lunch, we headed to Polynesian Cultural Center where I booked the Ali’i Luau Dinner Package online via Expedia.com (it was offering 25% off activities!) for around $95 per person so it was much cheaper than booking directly. It was our 2nd time visiting the cultural center; the first time we did the ambassador package which I recommend for first-timer as you’ll get an ambassador to accommodate your small group the whole visit to coordinate the sequence of the village to visit so you’ll be there at the right time to participate in demonstrations. Since it was our 2nd visit, I was able to do the coordination myself by looking at the brochure where it lists all the demonstrations time.
First, we went to take the canoe ride to all the way to the end of the park and then walk our way back while visiting the “islands”.
By 2 PM, we made sure we headed back to get a good spot with shade for the 2:30 “Canoe Pageant”. The performance was different than the one when we first visited, we thought the one before was better – more colorful costumes and dances (see my post here). This time, they were selling ice cream and smoothie, good way to make extra money 😉
After the performance, we went to Samoa for the tree climbing demonstration.
The Ali’i Luau seating starts at 3:30 PM and we were the first few waited at the entrance for it to open so we can get the front row seats. Sure enough, we were on the first row 🙂 The food was just okay, the best was of course the sweet Hawaiian pineapple!
The kids’ performance was so cute!
After dinner, we have like 1.5 hours to kill before the HA:Breath of Life show seating starts. Another new thing is the Hukilau Marketplace but since we have been to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, things seemed much more expensive here for similar souvenirs. One thing I forgot was that the show stage (Pacific Theater) is open-air…I thought it was enclosed with AC so I went back to the car to grab the cardigan which was totally useless; it was hot and muggy in there! The show was exactly the same as years ago! Just before the show ended, we left so we can get a head start to get out of the parking lot, otherwise, will be a long queue. We got back to our hotel after an hour of driving and were exhausted! Even though it was our 2nd time at the Polynesian Cultural Center, we still enjoyed it 🙂