One of the hottest programs on the Travel Channel recently taped a show in Hawaii.
Host Andrew Zimmern, of “Bizarre Foods America,” visited several local businesses, sampling some of Hawaii’s most unique local eats.
One of his stops was at a small shop in Waimanalo.
Owners Brandy Okada and Joe Ching never imagined when they opened their doors 18 months ago, that they’d get an opportunity like this.
“Who gets their shop or their business on a show like that? Especially how the magnitude the places he’s been, the foods he’s eaten and I couldn’t imagine him coming here, eating our stuff,” Okada said.
Tersty Treats in Waimanalo is a hot spot for locals and its reputation got the attention of the show’s producers.
“It’s a mind blower from me. At first, we thought it was one joke when we got this email that if we wanted to be on TV,” Ching said. “For us, it was a real big break for a little store like this.”
Zimmern wanted to try four dishes. First up, was “ake” or cow liver.
“He was popping them like popcorn. Pop, pop, pop,” Okada said. “He loved it.”
Next, Zimmern tried aku palu made up of the scraps of the aku.
“He really liked this one, too,” Okada said. “You throw that on a hot bed of rice — oh it’s to die for.”
That was followed by raw squid, which included the bile of the squid.
“He wasn’t grossed at all. He was only grossed out with just eating the sack by itself,” Okada said.
Finally, what proved to be his favorite: lomi o’io or bonefish.
“He said all the ingredients really came together in the end,” Okada said. “He tasted it and it brought a big smile to his face.”
The show will air Monday, July 8 at 6 p.m. Hawaii time.
Okada says it hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I know one day I’ll probably grab a beer and say ‘Eh congratulations to us to me and to Joe,’” Okada said.
“A little nervous you know, knowing that you’re going to be on the Travel Channel,” Ching said. “Very good experience, learning and sharing food and culture with the world.”
“Bizarre Foods America — Undiscovered Hawaii”
“In the hour-long episode, Zimmern’s palate is put to the test when he visits Hawaii, the Big Island and Oahu to discover some of the most beloved local eats and treats in the islands and the stories behind them. Zimmern finds himself fishing with the locals in Milolii on Hawaii Island, sampling the eclectic shave ice flavors at Shimazu Store, pounding pai ai with Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai, consuming the bile sac of a dried octopus and other unusual types of poke prepared at Tersty Treats, as well as visiting Alicia’s Market, the Jade Crack Seed factory and Honolulu Fish Auction all on Oahu.”