Summer preview: Best bon dance eats

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Summer’s not summer in Hawaii without the sounds of drums and flutes and the scents of beef sticks and andagi wafting across neighborhoods. But what, now? Blueberry andagi? Waffle dogs? Okinawan gumbo?

That’s right, bon dance food has evolved way beyond saimin and shave ice. While almost every temple sells S&S in a cup and the other old standards you grew up with, at least three this year are offering versions of flying saucers, the famed Kauai sandwich of sloppy joe beef sealed between slices of white bread and grilled to a crisp (one of them, Ewa Hongwanji, already held its bon dance, as did Honpa Hongwanji in the video above, which kicked off the town season last weekend). One temple is experimenting with ala carte Hawaiian food. Another has School Street’s famed Shimazu dishing up gourmet shave ice.

With more Buddhist temples stepping up food offerings to compete for the crowds, Nonstop did a quick survey of those with the best buzz, and compiled this preview of best bon dance eats for the 2011 season.

BTW, all bon dances are free. No dress code. Cash only. Bringing your own beach chair optional. And rubber slippers OK.

July 1-2 Moiliili Hongwanji, 902 University Ave., 949-1659 — Japan-style chili, yakitori, several kinds of andagi

July 2 Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji, 45-520 Keaahala Road, 247-2661

July 8-9 Koboji Shingon Mission, 1223 N. School St., 841-7033

July 8-9 Waipahu Hongwanji, 94-821 Kuhaulua St., 677-4221

July 15-16 Haleiwa Shingon Mission, 66-469 Paala Road, 637-4423

July 15-16 Rissho Kosei Kai, 2280 Auhuhu St., 455-3212 — oden, mochi, ice cream bowls

July 15-16 Shinshu Kyokai Mission, 1631 S. Beretania St., 973-0150

July 16 Waianae Hongwanji, 85-762 Old Government Road, 677-4221

July 22-23 Higashi Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 1685 Alaneo St., 531-9088 — Shimazu shave ice, several kinds of andagi

July 22-23 Jikoen Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, 1731 N. School St., 845-3422 — Lumpia (Friday only), Okinawan chicken rice soup, kalbi plate

July 22-23 Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission, 164 California Ave., 622-1429 — different kinds of andagi, teri beef sticks

July 22-23 Haleiwa Jodo Mission, 66-279 Haleiwa Road, 637-4382

July 29-30 Palolo Hongwanji, 1641 Palolo Ave., 732-1491 — yakisoba, dango, somen salad

Aug. 5-6 Manoa Koganji, 2869 Oahu Ave., 988-4905 — shoyu-grilled corn, spare rib plate, country store

Aug. 5-6 Waipahu Soto Zen Temple Taiyoji, 94-413 Waipahu St., 671-3103

Aug. 6 Waialua Hongwanji, 67-313 Kealohanui St., 637-4395 — potluck plate lunches, Waialua-style flying saucers

Aug. 12-13 Shingon Shu Hawaii, 915 Sheridan St., 941-5663 — lau lau, lomi salmon, kalua pig

Aug. 12-13 Pearl City Hongwanji, 858 2nd St., 455-1680

Aug. 12-13 Soto Mission of Aiea-Taiheiji, 99-045 Kauhale St., 488-6794 — Goteborg sausage rice cups, Kauai-style flying saucers

Aug. 19-20 Jodo Mission of Hawaii, 1429 Makiki St., 949-3995 — Barbecue beef sticks in special sauce, grilled dango

Aug. 19-20 Mililani Hongwanji, 95-257 Kaloapau St., 625-0925 — chicken hekka plate, kalua pig cabbage/mustard cabbage plate

Aug. 19-20 Soto Mission of Hawaii Shoboji, 1708 Nuuanu Ave., 537-9409

Aug. 27 Aiea Hongwanji, 99-186 Puakala St., 487-2626

Aug. 27 Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, 33 Pulelehua Way, 595-3517

Aug. 27 Kapahulu Senior Center, 3410 Campbell Ave., 737-1748

Sept. 3 Okinawan Festival Bon Dance, Kapiolani Park, 676-5400 — pig’s feet soup, champuru stir-fry, andadog (most food booths close before bon dance)

Sept. 17 Autumn Dance Matsuri at Hawaii Okinawa Center, 94-587 Ukee St., 676-5400

Video bon dance photos courtesy of Luke Takayama

13 comments
tmtiwamoto
tmtiwamoto

Thanks for the list, may check out Moiliili tonight! Aloha!

Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

Nice! how long did it take you to edit that video??

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

if the ancestors really come back, it is for the WaffleDogs.

808marv
808marv

Saw Aiea Taiheji in the listing, wow childhood memories of Japanese school and kendo practice. I remember seeing the bon dance after kendo practice and we might have stayed a few times but that was a while ago. Being all hot and sweaty after practice you tend to want to go straight home lol. Anyway maybe I should revisit and try some Goteborg sausage!

M
M

Hello Mari, thanks for the schedule!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@tmtiwamoto if u go, i have it on excellent authority that they broke out the strawberry and blueberry andagi twd the end last nite :)

johngarcia
johngarcia moderator

@Melissa808 Agree with you, Melissa. Great video! :) Good job, Mari! BTW, how long did it take you to compile that list? ;-)

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@808marv hot and sweaty? that's why every temple sells shave ice -- all the dancers get hot and sweaty! aiea's reverend told me they're really stepping it up. this is the 1st yr they're trying hanapepe-style flying saucers. i'm so there!

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

@johngarcia @Melissa808 thnx for asking! couple weeks of touching bases w/ my few bon dance foodie sources (for some reason, most ppl seem to go to bon dances to dance :), then following their leads from one call to the next, and calling so many v nice temples, some of whom were still finalizing their menus in committee. uniformly, the temples were so nice. a couple invited me over to try their eats. it was a fun assignment :D

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