Only in Hilo: Kandiʻs Drive In

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by Misty I.

Who doesnʻt love Kandiʻs Drive Inn on Kawailani Street? Both of my sons enjoy the bacon breakfast burger and my husband loves the hobo stew. I love Kandiʻs too and have eaten there for as long as I can remember.

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As a Waiakeawaena Elementary School student in the 80ʻs Iʻd request that my parents buy me a “Kandiʻs Bento” whenever I went on huakaʻi with my class. Although Kandiʻs opened in 1972, they started making bentos in the early 80ʻs.

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Thankfully, the bento hasnʻt changed much in the 30+ years that Iʻve been enjoying it. A classic Kandiʻs bento consists of spam, fried chicken, teri-beef (my fav), little smokie, sweet potato tempura, corned beef hash patty, kamaboko and takuan on a bed of rice. Recently, I was eating a Kandiʻs bento at Andrews field during my sonʻs baseball game and one of the coaches lovingly exclaimed “that Kandiʻs bento looks good!”

Kandiʻs also has a larger size with a few more items and “special” bentos that they make on Fridays.

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Iʻve been lucky enough to try the special Friday bentos they make which consist of shrimp tempura, teri beef, hot dog, spam, mandoo, kamaboko, takuan, and two furikake musubiʻs topped with the most delicious ume paste youʻll ever taste!

Something else that makes Kandiʻs very, very special is their hours. They are open 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. No that is not a typo, they really do open that early, so if you find yourself in need of sustenance for the day ahead and you need it really early, Kandiʻs is OPEN! At 4 a.m. the bentos are ready and the griddles are nice and hot waiting to make you pancakes or a corned beef hash and fried rice omelet! Only in Hilo!

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