Hawaii’s Secret Attraction: Monsoon Chicken in Haleiwa

Monsoom chicken

The best kept secret of an attraction in Hawaii is not swimming with dolphins, or jumping from the cliffs at Waimea Bay, it’s Monsoon Chicken at Rajanee Thai Restaurant Haleiwa on Oahu’s Northshore

Traveling to Hawaii is no longer a bargain. A main dish in a regular restaurant costs you about $30 plus drinks, appetizers, and dessert.

At Rajanee Thai Haleiwa, dishes are less than $20.00, and even if you are not hungry visiting this authentic and unique little village in the most Instagrammable part of Oahu, you feel you are thousands of miles away from bustling Waikiki or Honolulu.

I know. Haleiwa had been my home for almost 30 years before I relocated to the center of tourism across from the largest shopping center in Hawaii, and minutes to everywhere in famous Waikiki.

Coming back home to the Northshore always recharges my mind and taste for food.

Sunset Beach NorthShore, Oahu

I was the very first customer when Rajanee Thai Haleiwa opened more than 20 years ago, and the concept never changed.

Food may take a little longer, but Grandmother Tal, her son Kenneth Usamanont, his mother Tal and wife Michelle Maldonado, and now also Kenny’s son cook it. Michelle, Kenny’s wife, manages the floor. Rajanee Thai Haleiwa is a serious family tradition – and it does have secrets, such as the Spring Rolls.

I became friends with all of them over the years and admit I am still addicted to their food. In all these years, I have never been told or ever known what the secret is for their spring roll sauce. I have never tasted anything as good at any Thai restaurant. I love Thai food and eat it not only when visiting Thailand but anywhere in the world.

If I ever move away from Hawaii, Rajanee Thai Haleiwa will be a good reason to visit the Aloha State hungry.

My favorite is not on the menu at Rajanee Thai Haleiwa, and Tal or Kenny may get upset when I disclose it. It is Monsoon chicken, tender chicken in a peanut sauce with rice and cucumber salad.

Ask Kenny, if he can cook it for you and judge for yourself when you visit Oahu next time. I cannot promise he will have time to cook it, but if he does, it will be worth it.

Make a reservation by calling 808-793-6120 – unfortunately, this place is small but super busy.

Times from 2020 had improved and Hawaii is wide open again:


About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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