Barbecue dinner plate from Jikoen Hongwanji includes kalbi, chicken, rice, corn and Okinawan sweet potato pie.

Photo By Shari Tamashiro

Best bon dance eats of summer 2018

Where to feast on andadogs, Harajuku crepes, KC waffle dogs and more
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Summer in Hawaii means bon dance season, but the festivities are no longer just about putting on that yukata and dancing to honor your ancestors.

In Hawaii, many have evolved into foodie fests. And not just any food. With Scout troops and temple elders doing the cooking, the food is always old-school and local style. It's simple and comforting (and there's always shave ice!), and together with concentric circles of everybody from your high school buds to your mom's retired hairdresser dancing around the musicians' tower, food has helped make Hawaii bon dances a one-of-a-kind phenomenon. It's not just a local Japanese thing, either. EVERYbody goes.

Back in 2011, Mari Taketa did a summer preview of the best bon dance eats; here's an updated roundup. Whether you're going for the full experience of eating and dancing under the stars, or you’re like me and just going for the grinds, here’s where to find your favorite bon dance eats.

June 29-30: Honpa Hongwanji

Where: 1727 Pali Hwy., Pauoa
Time: 6 p.m.
Contact: 536-7044
Parking: Overflow parking at Hongwanji Mission School, Kawananakoa Middle School, Cathedral School and Soto Mission of Hawaii
Grinds: BBQ sticks, BBQ stick plate, stew bowl, chili bowl, teri burger, saimin, soy beans, various baked goods, Spam musubis, andagi, shave ice, water and canned drinks. Friday only: chow fun in a cone, hot dogs. Saturday only: waffle hot dogs, fried noodles 

July 6: Moiliili Hongwanji

Where: 1110 University Ave. (old Varsity Theatre parking lot), Moiliili
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Contact: 949-1659
Parking: Free parking at 2331 S. Beretania St. or street parking
Grinds: Barbecue sticks, saimin, SPAM musubi, teri burgers, shoyu pork. New items: takoyaki, chicken karaage 

July 7: Moiliili Summer Fest

Where: 1110 University Ave. (old Varsity Theatre parking lot), Moiliili
Time: 5-10 p.m.
Contact: 949-1659
Parking: Free parking and shuttles from UH Manoa parking structure
Grinds: Food trucks and vendors include Heart 2 Table, Waimanalo Country Farms, Hawaiian Fresh Farms, Gyozilla, Yellow Ribbon Fries, Aloha Crepes, Hawaiian Pie Company, Da Ultimate Grindz, Istanbul Hawaii, Ice HNL, No Ka Oi

Nishime from Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji. - Photo credit Michael Ching

July 7: Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji

Where: 45-520 Keaahala Rd., Kaneohe
Time: 6:30-10 p.m. (food concessions open at 5:30 p.m.)
Contact: 247-2661
Parking: Free parking at Benjamin Parker Elementary School from 4:30 p.m.
Grinds: Grilled BBQ beef sticks, teriyaki chicken bento, nishime, andagi, edamame, chili hot dogs and rice, Spam musubi, slices of pie, watermelon slices, strawberry ice cake

Oden from Rissho Kosei-kai. - Photo credit Michael Ching

July 13-14: Rissho Kosei-kai

Where: 2280 Auhuhu St., Pearl City
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m. (food booths open at 6 p.m.)
Contact: 455-3212
Parking: Free parking at Palisades Baptist Church and Palisades Elementary School 
Grinds: Oden, barbecue beef and chicken, grilled corn on the cob, saimin, SPAM musubi, chow fun, shave ice, grilled mochi

July 20-21: Higashi Hongwanji

Where: 1685 Alaneo St., Liliha
Time: 7-10 p.m. (food booths open at 5:30 p.m.)
Contact: 531-9088
Parking: Free parking at Likelike Elementary School and Lanakila Elementary School 
Grinds: Shave ice, andagi, garlic shrimp, hamburgers, plate lunch, Spam musubi, somen

Kandaba juushi (rice soup with sweet potato leaf and pork) is one of the Okinawan dishes at Jikoen bon dance - Photo credit Shari Tamashiro

July 20-21: Jikoen Hongwanji Mission

Where: 1731 N. School St. (corner of Likelike Highway), Kalihi
Time: 6-9:30 p.m. (July 20), 5:30-9:30 p.m. (July 21)
Contact: 845-3422
Parking: Free parking at Kapalama Elementary School 
Note: Food booths open at 5 p.m., live music with Okinawan and Japanese bon dance, fun keiki games like kingyo sukui where you try and catch a fish with a paper net 
Grinds: Jikoen’s famous andagi, BBQ plates, poke bowls, Okinawan juushi jook, Uchina soba, the original KC Waffle Dog, shave ice 

Barbecue dinner plate from Jikoen Hongwanji includes kalbi, chicken, rice, corn and Okinawan sweet potato pie - Photo credit Shari Tamashiro
Chicken hekka plate from Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission - Photo credit Michael Ching

July 20-21: Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission

Where: 164 California Ave., Wahiawa
Time: 7-10 p.m. (food vendors open at 5:30 p.m.)
Contact: 622-1429
Parking: Street parking 
Grinds: Plate lunches (chicken hekka, chili and rice, hamburger curry), barbecue sticks, sushi, hot dogs, teri burgers, fried noodles, saimin, andagi, shave ice, Spam musubi, nachos. Toward the end of the evening, andagi flavors like strawberry and blueberry are usually available

Curry bowl from Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission - Photo credit Michael Ching
Kimono dogs at Manoa Koganji are hot dogs deep-fried in andagi batter - Photo credit Amy Tokuda

Aug. 3-4: Manoa Koganji Temple

Where: 2869 Oahu Ave., Manoa
Time: 5-10 p.m. (bake shop and food booths open at 5 p.m.)
Contact: 988-4905
Parking: Street parking
Grinds: Andagi, kimono dogs, grilled teriyaki corn on the cob, plate lunches 

Aug. 17-18: Jodo Mission of Hawaii

Where: 1429 Makiki St., Makiki
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m. (food booths open at 4:30 p.m.)
Contact: 949-3995
Parking: Street parking, limited parking available at the temple and next door at Hawaii Mission Academy 
Grinds: Shave ice, musubis, BBQ sticks, different types of sushi, yakisoba, gyoza, chili, hamburgers

Aug. 17-18: Mililani Hongwanji

Where: 95-257 Kaloapau St., Mililani
Time: 7 p.m.
Contact: 625-0925
Parking: Limited parking available at MTA Recreation Center 3 (next door) except for marked reserved stalls; drop-off area with turnaround available at end of church driveway for physically challenged 
Grinds: Friday only: Chicken hekka, chicken curry, kalua pig and cabbage, fried noodles, hotdogs; Friday and Saturday: Spam musubi, andagi, shave ice; Saturday only: TBD food trucks

Harajuku crepe from Nichiren Mission - Photo credit Patrick Wong

Aug. 25: Nichiren Mission of Hawaii

Where: 33 Pulelehua Way, Nuuanu
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Contact: 595-3517 
Parking: Free parking and shuttle service from 4-10 p.m. at the Toho No Hikari Church at 3510 Nuuanu Pali Dr.
Grinds: Asian pork, chicken curry, chili, nachos, fried saimin, Harajuku crepes, teri burgers, saimin 

Okinawan Festival's champuru stir-fry, rafute shoyu pork with two scoops rice and andansu miso and rafute paste - Photo credit Cliff Kimura

Sept. 1-2: Okinawan Festival

Where: Hawaii Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
Time: 5:30-9 p.m.
Contact: 676-5400
Parking: Parking info TBD
Note: Food booth hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 1, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 2. Saturday bon dance food: andagi, andadog, Okinawa soba, yakitori and sushi booths open until 8 p.m. 
Grinds: Andagi, andadog, champuru plate, Oki dog, Okinawan soba, pig’s feet soup, yaki soba, chicken plate, chicken nishime, chili and rice, chili frank plate, maki sushi, yakitori sticks and more