The Mo’olelo of Mud Hen Water
Mud Hen Water is the English translation of Wai’alae, both the name of the main thoroughfare through Kaimuki upon which our restaurant resides and the name of the ancient land division (‘ili kūpono) that is home to our neighborhood. “Wai” is the Hawaiian word for water and “alae” is referring to an endangered, native waterfowl, the mud hen. Legend states that there was once a natural spring in the area that was home to the mudhen and frequented by the people of the area. We saw it only fitting that our community gathering place be named Mud Hen Water in honor of this sacred watering hole.
But for a closing meal that’s unique, head to local-born chef Ed Kenney’s Mud Hen Water in Kaimuki. It’s on the patio here, in the shadow of a mural of intertwined hands by Case Maclaim, that you’ll experience the story of Hawaiian food as it is now. Kenney’s food is a modern interpretation of the Hawaiian dishes he remembers growing up with as a child. The hyper-local menu uses fish caught by local farmers and produce only found on the islands, and turns them into memorable courses like his inspired roasted beet poke with gorilla ogo(seaweed), avocado and smoked macadamia nuts; or the I’a Lawalu, opah that’s buried in coals and steamed in banana leaf with local vegetables and coconut cream.