Growing up in Hawaii was so awesome!
Kids in the every neighborhood would go crazy when they’d hear the sound of music coming down the street. Running back home and begging their parents or grandparents to give them money to buy gum, candy, pork hash, noodles or ice cream – was the norm. “The manapua man is coming, the manapua man is coming”! was all you would hear. With loose change everyone would buy what they could with all they had.
Today, it’s rare to find a manapua man food truck roaming the island. We know only one that currently runs in Pearl City, called the Manapua Man. The silver truck is located on the corner of Moanalua Road and Hoolaulea Street right under the concrete bridge from 1pm-4pm. Sadly, these trucks are almost non-existent but you can find manapua being sold at many restaurants in Chinatown, bakeries, and even large grocery stores throughout the island.
Manapua (short for mea ‘ono pua’a, meaning “thing delicious pork”) is the Hawaii version of a Char Siu Bao which was introduced to the islands when the Chinese immigrants arrived. The Manapua is larger, is either steamed or baked, and can be found with fun fillings such as hot dog, yam, red bean, portuguese sausage, curried chicken, kalua pig, etc.
Today’s visit to Chun Wah Kam, a popular place to find Manapua, was the highlight of the kids afternoon after a long day at the beach. It’s one of the most kid-friendly foods you’d find in Hawaii. The bread is sweet, and the pork found in the middle is barbecued and mild. Best of all, they eat them with their hands!
Kids love MANAPUA!
It’s mainly eaten as a snack or lunch item by locals in Hawaii, but the kids say manapua can be eaten anytime time of the day!