kualapu'u cookhouse

Kualapu'u Cookhouse
102 Farrington Ave, Kualapu'u, Hawaii, USA

I had traveled to the island of Molokai erroneously believing it to be a place where you can hunt lepers for sport; not only is this not true, but they actually have the leprosy fully under control nowadays, so you don't really spot lepers in the wild like you once might have.

Furthermore, after talking with some local officials, I get the sense that lepers are almost nothing like zombies; they're more like poor people with bad skin. And if I wanted to hunt poor people with bad skin, I certainly wouldn't have to travel nearly 3,000 miles, I would only need to go shoot up a Sally Beauty.

kualapu'u cookhouse

Fortunately, Molokai is an extremely lovely place to suddenly find yourself with some time on your hands. It's one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, so there's less meth and more macadamia nuts, at least at the macadamia nut farm I visited as I made my way around.

And while there ain't much in the way of restaurants, there is at least Kualapu'u Cookhouse … or as one local hater calls it, "Koala Poo Cockhouse." He's an embittered Aussie ex-pat named Banjo, and I'm not even sure what he's doing hanging around outside of this place if he dislikes it so much. Maybe he's as disappointed about the leper situation as I am!

kualapu'u cookhouse veggie burger & loco moco

Anyway, Kualapu'u is as quaint and charming a place as you could ever hope to encounter while meandering through paradise, and while the dearth of competition on Molokai means they probably don't have to try too hard, the food is actually more than up to snuff. The veggie burger I had, in fact, might have been the best one I've ever eaten. I was so satisfied, I returned a couple days later and tried the loco moco, which was equally delicious.

On the second visit, I didn't see Banjo, so I asked the proprietress if she'd seen him around. Her face drained and she asked, "Did you say 'Banjo'?" From the back room I heard a dish crash to the floor and two younger voices began arguing with great agitation—and the only word I could make out was "Banjo." Turns out the only Banjo they've ever seen around these parts was a leper who died in the early 1900s. They say his spirit still roams the island, seeking his terrifying and brutal revenge.

Which is all well and good, but it certainly doesn't account for his quarrel with Kualapu'u Cookhouse. The food here is terrific! I guess some people draw the short straw and just have to take it out on everyone else.

Review by Wimpempy Tarlisle, October 2014