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Old 09-11-2019, 02:46 PM   #41
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Have a trip to both Oahu and Hawaii mid Jan 2020 and looking at Yelp was rather amazed at the restaurant prices! Appetizers mostly upper teens, entrees in the mid to high 40's. Plus I have 2 college kids with me.


Should I plan on doing food trucks a few times? Are there local hangouts that are more in the $25/person range? Best ways to find those?


Or just suck it up as the price to pay to eat in Paradise??
I haven't determined whether you will have access to a car on Oahu. IF you do, you can just about pay for the nightly parking fee at your hotel by driving to some (relatively) inexpensive eateries (and especially take-outs).

I would agree that it makes no sense to spend all your time driving around looking for bargains. Having said that, IF you can make it part of the Hawaii "adventure" you CAN save a bundle and still eat reasonably well AND healthy.

Some suggestions:

Slightly "institutional" in taste, but we really like to stop at ANY Times grocery store. Go to the deli. They offer 3 or 4 plate lunches/day (take out in a styro box) for about $8 on average. The menu varies location to location and day to day, but they have items like salmon, sliced steak, sliced pork, garlic shrimp, meat loaf, hamburger steak, and others. With entree you get 3 choices of mashed potatoes, fried potato choice, mixed veggies, salad AND a large fountain drink. WE can get TWO meals out of one styro box. WE like the taste, though you'll want to trim a bit of fat and gristle, etc., occasionally. WE take our boxes home OR to a nearby park. They may have a very limited outside seating area, but I'd opt for a park.

L and L (google locations). Decent food (if you like it) and lots of it for maybe $8 - they're everywhere. Very "local" food, maybe not the healthiest, but usually offer a decent fish. Lots of starches available. You'll be full, but will not rave about the food.

Yummy's BBQ (several locations - like Ala Moana food court.) $10 or so for a meal. Very good if you like this type of food.

Heh, heh, Panda Express. Also everywhere. We won't eat at Panda on the mainland (hauole's can't cook Chinese food IMHO). BUT on Oahu, for $10 you can stuff yourself with excellent wok'd veggies and or fried rice or chow fun plus at least 2 very tasty (not all healthy) entrees (Beijing Beef, Orange chicken, beef and broccoli, etc. etc.) Add a refillable drink for $2. Split 4 entrees and one drink between two people and you'll waddle out for $7/head.

Mentioned Ala Moana food court. 20+ choices at maybe $12 average/person - bring your own canned sodas. With several people, try splitting meals at 2 or more places. Pizza ('nyeaaah!'), decent burgers, decent Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Panda, etc. You can share your way to less than $10/head. Oh, and 3rd or 4th floor of Ala Moana, there are several sit-down places (Mai Tai, Bubba Gump, Tanaka's of Tokyo, etc.) Not cheap, but not outrageous for lunch - plus decent atmosphere and even "water views" at some restaurants. You COULD walk to Ala Moana from the Ewa end of Waikiki.

Cinnamon's at the Ewa end of Waikiki. Sort of an upscale (no, really!) Denny's. $1/hour parking behind. Same area there is a Dead Lobster (oops! I mean Red Lobster.) Some other non-chain restaurants in the area you could browse - especially for lunch.

Speaking of Dennys - at the far Diamond Head end of Waikiki - on Kapahulu - across from the zoo - is a Dennys. Not our favorite Denny's on the Island, but with AARP discount, DW and I WADDLE out for $10 total WITH TIP (okay, maybe $12 total.) We do the $2-$4-$8 menu and drink water.

On Kalakaua ave a couple of streets Ewa of Kapahulu is Wolfgang Pucks. It ain't local. We split a nice salad and one entree for LESS than $18 or $20 TOTAL WITH a refillable drink and a chunk of banana bread or similar. We "tourist watch" from the outside tables. The beach is across the street.

Costco "window" has same fare and prices as mainland. Best pizza on the Island - sad to say. $2 for meal-sized slice. $1.50 for huge dog and refillable drink. Enjoy!

You don't have to pay a fortune to eat - even in Waikiki area. You just have to be flexible in your tastes and maybe be able to get a mile or 2 outside of Waikiki.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:07 PM   #42
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^^^ Thanks.

One needs a long stay to use all the tips. Or he has no time left to do anything else.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:10 PM   #43
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On Maui we deliberately set out to find a Hawaiian food eatery which was not that far from the airport. It was quite inexpensive. We had a hankering for kailua pork and stuff wrapped in taro leaves (laulau) and baked - certain specialties that you ain't going to get anywhere else. Better than going to a luau for the food, IMO, although the luau experience as a whole can be very enjoyable. Poi By The Pound

Another one in that town had some local specialties - had that Japanese soup with the soba noodles (saimin). Also dishes like loco moco and a version of spam musubi that was breaded and deep fried! Restaurant might have been Da Kitchen.

Everything we found by browsing trip advisor. We went back to each of those two restaurants when passing through Kailua.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:30 PM   #44
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A slight aside (go figure, Ko'olau with an aside!): There are SO many places to eat in Hawaii (especially in Honolulu) that you almost can't walk or even drive down a street without being assailed (in a good way) with the wonderful odors of cooking food. It's enough to make one hungry 24/7.

I honestly don't recall ever trying ANY food here that didn't taste good to me. Maybe it was too spicy (I'm not at all into especially hot spicy food) but other than that, this meat-and-potatoes haole has become a true omnivore. Even poke and sashimi (things I never thought I would eat) are some of the local temptations I'll eat.

Now the really good news: SO many of the restaurants here are the little "local" hole-in-the-wall places with the one-off names. Many of these are very inexpensive. I'm still just a bit leery of some places that look like maybe they aren't completely up-to-date on their health "plans." Every few weeks, one of them makes the TV news for having failed their health inspection (with graphic pictures.) Still, you could eat in a different restaurant every day and never repeat in a year. It's one of the "adventures in paradise" you can find here - even if you aren't a foodie. Naturally, YMMV.

Returning you now to our regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:35 PM   #45
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That's what I plan on doing when I visit, eat the local stuff!

I didn't go to Hawaii to do burgers and fries at McD
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:41 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
... Even poke and sashimi (things I never thought I would eat) are some of the local temptations I'll eat...
We eat fish, but not sashimi. And I tried poke there, but did not enjoy it.

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Returning you now to our regularly scheduled thread.
But the thread is about Hawaiian food.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:06 PM   #47
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Bummer dude.

I enjoyed a $45 lunch today, mirugai sashimi, salmon skin tamaki and 4 raw oysters on the half shell. Drank water.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:24 PM   #48
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Neat! I'll be there at exactly the same time.

I have family in Honolulu (I do not stay with them) so I have been several times. As others suggested, cooking your own stuff is a great way to save money. I always book places with full kitchens, but it sounds like your lodging is taken care of.

I could live on poke, and it's cheap and abundant. My cousin, his wife, and I ate like kings at a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant near some mall -- very reasonable. For sure, eat where the locals do.

See you there!
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:34 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
I haven't determined whether you will have access to a car on Oahu. IF you do, you can just about pay for the nightly parking fee at your hotel by driving to some (relatively) inexpensive eateries (and especially take-outs).

I would agree that it makes no sense to spend all your time driving around looking for bargains. Having said that, IF you can make it part of the Hawaii "adventure" you CAN save a bundle and still eat reasonably well AND healthy.

Some suggestions:

Slightly "institutional" in taste, but we really like to stop at ANY Times grocery store. Go to the deli. They offer 3 or 4 plate lunches/day (take out in a styro box) for about $8 on average. The menu varies location to location and day to day, but they have items like salmon, sliced steak, sliced pork, garlic shrimp, meat loaf, hamburger steak, and others. With entree you get 3 choices of mashed potatoes, fried potato choice, mixed veggies, salad AND a large fountain drink. WE can get TWO meals out of one styro box. WE like the taste, though you'll want to trim a bit of fat and gristle, etc., occasionally. WE take our boxes home OR to a nearby park. They may have a very limited outside seating area, but I'd opt for a park.

L and L (google locations). Decent food (if you like it) and lots of it for maybe $8 - they're everywhere. Very "local" food, maybe not the healthiest, but usually offer a decent fish. Lots of starches available. You'll be full, but will not rave about the food.

Yummy's BBQ (several locations - like Ala Moana food court.) $10 or so for a meal. Very good if you like this type of food.

Heh, heh, Panda Express. Also everywhere. We won't eat at Panda on the mainland (hauole's can't cook Chinese food IMHO). BUT on Oahu, for $10 you can stuff yourself with excellent wok'd veggies and or fried rice or chow fun plus at least 2 very tasty (not all healthy) entrees (Beijing Beef, Orange chicken, beef and broccoli, etc. etc.) Add a refillable drink for $2. Split 4 entrees and one drink between two people and you'll waddle out for $7/head.

Mentioned Ala Moana food court. 20+ choices at maybe $12 average/person - bring your own canned sodas. With several people, try splitting meals at 2 or more places. Pizza ('nyeaaah!'), decent burgers, decent Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Panda, etc. You can share your way to less than $10/head. Oh, and 3rd or 4th floor of Ala Moana, there are several sit-down places (Mai Tai, Bubba Gump, Tanaka's of Tokyo, etc.) Not cheap, but not outrageous for lunch - plus decent atmosphere and even "water views" at some restaurants. You COULD walk to Ala Moana from the Ewa end of Waikiki.

Cinnamon's at the Ewa end of Waikiki. Sort of an upscale (no, really!) Denny's. $1/hour parking behind. Same area there is a Dead Lobster (oops! I mean Red Lobster.) Some other non-chain restaurants in the area you could browse - especially for lunch.

Speaking of Dennys - at the far Diamond Head end of Waikiki - on Kapahulu - across from the zoo - is a Dennys. Not our favorite Denny's on the Island, but with AARP discount, DW and I WADDLE out for $10 total WITH TIP (okay, maybe $12 total.) We do the $2-$4-$8 menu and drink water.

On Kalakaua ave a couple of streets Ewa of Kapahulu is Wolfgang Pucks. It ain't local. We split a nice salad and one entree for LESS than $18 or $20 TOTAL WITH a refillable drink and a chunk of banana bread or similar. We "tourist watch" from the outside tables. The beach is across the street.

Costco "window" has same fare and prices as mainland. Best pizza on the Island - sad to say. $2 for meal-sized slice. $1.50 for huge dog and refillable drink. Enjoy!

You don't have to pay a fortune to eat - even in Waikiki area. You just have to be flexible in your tastes and maybe be able to get a mile or 2 outside of Waikiki.


Great suggestions! Iím saving this post.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:13 AM   #50
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Get out your google machine and search for Hawaii on a budget.
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:54 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
If I was on Hawaii I'd eat as much fresh local fish as I could. And at least one Luau.

Doing that Robbie. And yeah, I'm going to "blow some dough" on the trip, a Luau, Helicopter sightseeing, dolphin watch catamaran, Sunset dinner cruise, etc. Just didn't want to pay sky high prices for breakfast or lunch.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:15 AM   #52
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I haven't determined whether you will have access to a car on Oahu. IF you do, you can just about pay for the nightly parking fee at your hotel by driving to some (relatively) inexpensive eateries (and especially take-outs).

I would agree that it makes no sense to spend all your time driving around looking for bargains. Having said that, IF you can make it part of the Hawaii "adventure" you CAN save a bundle and still eat reasonably well AND healthy.

Some suggestions:

Slightly "institutional" in taste, but we really like to stop at ANY Times grocery store. Go to the deli. They offer 3 or 4 plate lunches/day (take out in a styro box) for about $8 on average. The menu varies location to location and day to day, but they have items like salmon, sliced steak, sliced pork, garlic shrimp, meat loaf, hamburger steak, and others. With entree you get 3 choices of mashed potatoes, fried potato choice, mixed veggies, salad AND a large fountain drink. WE can get TWO meals out of one styro box. WE like the taste, though you'll want to trim a bit of fat and gristle, etc., occasionally. WE take our boxes home OR to a nearby park. They may have a very limited outside seating area, but I'd opt for a park.

L and L (google locations). Decent food (if you like it) and lots of it for maybe $8 - they're everywhere. Very "local" food, maybe not the healthiest, but usually offer a decent fish. Lots of starches available. You'll be full, but will not rave about the food.

Yummy's BBQ (several locations - like Ala Moana food court.) $10 or so for a meal. Very good if you like this type of food.

Heh, heh, Panda Express. Also everywhere. We won't eat at Panda on the mainland (hauole's can't cook Chinese food IMHO). BUT on Oahu, for $10 you can stuff yourself with excellent wok'd veggies and or fried rice or chow fun plus at least 2 very tasty (not all healthy) entrees (Beijing Beef, Orange chicken, beef and broccoli, etc. etc.) Add a refillable drink for $2. Split 4 entrees and one drink between two people and you'll waddle out for $7/head.

Mentioned Ala Moana food court. 20+ choices at maybe $12 average/person - bring your own canned sodas. With several people, try splitting meals at 2 or more places. Pizza ('nyeaaah!'), decent burgers, decent Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Panda, etc. You can share your way to less than $10/head. Oh, and 3rd or 4th floor of Ala Moana, there are several sit-down places (Mai Tai, Bubba Gump, Tanaka's of Tokyo, etc.) Not cheap, but not outrageous for lunch - plus decent atmosphere and even "water views" at some restaurants. You COULD walk to Ala Moana from the Ewa end of Waikiki.

Cinnamon's at the Ewa end of Waikiki. Sort of an upscale (no, really!) Denny's. $1/hour parking behind. Same area there is a Dead Lobster (oops! I mean Red Lobster.) Some other non-chain restaurants in the area you could browse - especially for lunch.

Speaking of Dennys - at the far Diamond Head end of Waikiki - on Kapahulu - across from the zoo - is a Dennys. Not our favorite Denny's on the Island, but with AARP discount, DW and I WADDLE out for $10 total WITH TIP (okay, maybe $12 total.) We do the $2-$4-$8 menu and drink water.

On Kalakaua ave a couple of streets Ewa of Kapahulu is Wolfgang Pucks. It ain't local. We split a nice salad and one entree for LESS than $18 or $20 TOTAL WITH a refillable drink and a chunk of banana bread or similar. We "tourist watch" from the outside tables. The beach is across the street.

Costco "window" has same fare and prices as mainland. Best pizza on the Island - sad to say. $2 for meal-sized slice. $1.50 for huge dog and refillable drink. Enjoy!

You don't have to pay a fortune to eat - even in Waikiki area. You just have to be flexible in your tastes and maybe be able to get a mile or 2 outside of Waikiki.

Awesome post! We are staying at the Hale Koa (military R&R hotel) which is right next to the Hawaiian Hilton Village and looks like only a 10 minute walk to Ala Moana food court so will have to do that.

Also, do you have a recommendation for a Chinese restaurant? I remember going to one when I was in the Navy that was like 3 stories high, big open rooms and fantastic food. But that was a long time ago (30+ years) so have no idea if it is still there.
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Old 09-13-2019, 06:24 AM   #53
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Awesome post! We are staying at the Hale Koa (military R&R hotel) which is right next to the Hawaiian Hilton Village and looks like only a 10 minute walk to Ala Moana food court so will have to do that.

Also, do you have a recommendation for a Chinese restaurant? I remember going to one when I was in the Navy that was like 3 stories high, big open rooms and fantastic food. But that was a long time ago (30+ years) so have no idea if it is still there.
Wild guess is that you may have gone to Wo Fat. The building is still there IIRC, but the restaurant (2nd floor IIRC) is gone. We used to love Wo Fat.

I really don't know any Chinese places near the tourist areas - other than Panda Express. Quite frankly, most Chinese places are no better than (our local) Pandas, but that is strictly my opinion. I'm sure there are 25 Chinese restaurants in Honolulu, but I only know some more-or-less far flung ones (hey, "Far Flung Ones" - that sounds like a good name for a Chinese restaurant.) YMMV
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:33 AM   #54
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Koolau,
Checked Wo Fat out on google and yes that was the place. Guess I'm coming to the islands 9 years too late. And thanks for the suggestion that Chinese is not the way to go.
Been looking at a lot of YouTube videos and want to try stuff like Poke, Lau Lau, Loco Moco, garlic shrimp, Huli Huli chicken and stuff like that. So need to find where to go to sample those items.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:40 AM   #55
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... Been looking at a lot of YouTube videos and want to try stuff like Poke, Lau Lau, Loco Moco, garlic shrimp, Huli Huli chicken and stuff like that. So need to find where to go to sample those items.
Speaking of garlic shrimp, my wife happened to see Romy's on the Web and told me about it. It's on the North Shore, and is said to be so popular that there may be a long wait sometimes.

The shrimp is farm-raised in a pond behind the shack. A portion of 2 scoops of rice and some shrimp is $12. You get perhaps only 1/5 or 1/6 lb of shrimp, but food in Hawaii is not cheap.

https://goo.gl/maps/y4fqedQjR7oVqfm88
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:53 PM   #56
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Simple answer: Get the heck out of Waikiki!!


We locals simply don't go there unless there's an event, or we want to have a splurge. Walk through Chinatown, for example, & you can eat at dozens of small restaurants for a fraction of what you'd spend a few miles away. Hundreds of fresh fruits & vegetables, too - mango, papaya, lychee, avocado all grow on our local trees.


In Kaneohe, on the opposite side of Oahu, is a Chinese restaurant called Pah Ke's with incredible food, & there are only one or two dishes that cost $10 or more. Farmers markets abound, where you can eat & drink, s well as picking up fruits & veggies.


Yes, Hawaii is more expensive than the mainland, but there's no reason to waste your retirement $.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:58 PM   #57
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Really don't plan on a trip to Costco. Stock owner of it for 20+ years () and go all the time at home, but not blowing 2+ hours of vacation time on it. Both our hotels (Hale Koa and Hilton Waikoloa Village) don't have kitchenettes but do have refrigerators so I can see getting fruit and breakfast stuff at a local grocery.
What are you talking about?? Visiting a Costco is one of my favorite things to do on the islands. The Costcos there have the most amazing poke and sashimi you will find anywhere on the island, not to mention great Hawaiian shirts, swim gear, bathing suits, art books showcasing the islands, and all kinds of local food and merchandise that you will never see outside of a Hawaiian based Costco.

You can stock up on amazing organic food there at a small fraction of the price of the local markets, and the quality is much better too. And you get to meet the locals and get a taste of what itís like to live on the islands. Itís a top tourist destination for us on any Hawaiian island vacation.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:05 PM   #58
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Well, even when eating like the locals, be prepared to see prices 25% to 30% higher than in mainland.

Considering that Hawaii is an island, one should feel fortunate to be able to buy some of the stuff at all.

I talked about shrimp earlier. It's fresh but farm raised. Is there shrimp in the surrounding ocean to harvest? There may not be, but I don't know.

I do remember the last time we were on the big island, at a beach park in Kona, we saw a family of locals preparing a picnic party. They brought out lots of big lobsters to grill. I asked and they said they caught them. I was salivating, but did not ask if they would sell me some.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:20 PM   #59
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We go to Oahu about once a year, sometimes twice. Rainbow Drive-in is reasonably priced. It is on Kapahulu ave on the east end of Waikiki. Another one we like is Ted’s Bakery in the North Shore area. They are famous for their pies, which are sold in the local grocery stores, but if you go to their shop, they have a variety of teriyaki plates for reasonable prices. Also, you can go to the deli in Foodland (supermarket) for Ahi Poke, and all the usual things like fried chicken etc, if you just need to satisfy hunger. We also like Cheeseburger Paradise on Kalakaua...higher prices than the mainland but still pretty doable, and they do make good burgers.

Hope that helps.

R

Edit to Add: our favorite place on the island is probably Seven Brothers on the North Shore in Kahuku. It used to be called Kahuku Grill. They have a variety of burgers, teriyaki, and coconut shrimp plates. This is a happy haunt for locals and tourists alike.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:22 PM   #60
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We loved this Udon restaurant when staying at Waikiki.

We were simply walking along the street near lunch time and saw the lineup on the street of about 20 people, it moved fast, and turns out it is great.

Close enough from the Beach to walk:
2310 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815


https://www.yelp.com/biz/marukame-udon-honolulu
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