This Hawaii kitchen is cooking up manapua inspired by Pokemon Go

pokemon go manapua

Manapua, I choose you!

The Pokemon Go craze has taken over the world, but here in the Islands, it’s found a way to merge with another local love: food. Specifically, with an island favorite that conveniently sounds a lot like a Pokemon character.

pokemon go manapua hawaii
Pokemon in the palm of your hand, manapua-style. Photo Honolulu Kitchen/Instagram

The manapua is a Hawaii interpretation of the traditional Chinese bao, brought over during the first wave of immigrants from China in the mid- to late-19th century. Stuffed with various fillings from char siu to sweet potato, it’s a ubiquitous classic (you can easily find them at Hawaii 7-Eleven stores) and versatile for most occasions (manapuas always come to the rescue when you need to pick something up for the office potluck at the last minute). 

hawaii pokemon go manapua

Honolulu Kitchen on Oahu, however, is the only place to get them in the guise of a Pokeball. Or a Pikachu. Or a Jigglypuff. Whichever design you decide on, these chewy pastries will definitely put you in a comatose state akin to Snorlax.

The kitchen uses an edible decorating marker, according to the restaurant’s supervisor, Kristine, and each manapua is hand drawn and made to order. When the Pokemon Go app was released, Honolulu Kitchen was quick to hop on it with their own manapua mania offerings.

Larger orders require an advance of four days to fulfill, allowing the staff to cook the buns with the fillings closer to the base, leaving a doughier canvas for which to illustrate on. Walk ins are also available for a custom “Pokemanapua”: for a specific character, it’s $5 each; for a Pokeball, they range from $2.50 to $4.

Open Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sundays, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 94-861 Farrington Hwy., Waipahu, Oahu, (808) 671-5241.

Categories: Food