What’s Cookin’ with Noah Hester and the Blue Dragon

By Fern Gavelek

The Blue Dragon is spreading its wings to offer delicious food beyond the Kawaihae restaurant.

Executive Chef and General Manager Noah Hester recently debuted the Blue Dragon Puako Grab & Go in the landmark Puako General Store. And this fall, the new Blue Dragon Wagon will be offering daytime food truck fare from the restaurant’s parking lot.

Hester grew up in Puako and remembers how he and his sister Marley would set up a little mango stand along Puako Beach Drive and then take their hard-earned cash to buy treats at the General Store. Today, Noah’s mom, Mary, owns the store and Blue Dragon operates the on-site kitchen.

From left: Mary Fox, Chef Noah Hester and Marley Taufmann
From left: Mary Fox, Chef Noah Hester and Marley Taufmann

Noah says the new Puako Grab & Go focuses on “beach-friendly food.” Offerings include sandwiches on fresh-baked breads, salads, spicy clam dip, poke bowls and kim chee kohlrabi with veggies sourced from Blue Dragon’s farm.


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“We get fresh fish from local fisherman,” details Noah. “We have a daily hot special or a poke bowl that get posted on the outside blackboard.” Specials are available 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays.

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A refrigerator case is stocked daily with Grab & Go items that are available during store hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Noah says everything is priced under $12.

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Tables are set up on the store’s front porch for casual dining. Grab & Go uses all compostable carryout containers.

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The new Blue Dragon Wagon is equipped with a flat top grill, deep fryer and refrigerator to prepare a variety of hot sliders, kosher hot dogs, hand-cut french fries, made-to-order pork belly musubis, mini Dragon Ballz with crispy blue crab and chipolte aioli, mango summer rolls and an FBI Salad—compiled of “everything from the Big Island.” Noah says the food truck will also be available for mobile catering.

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