The people of Hawaii have always had a passion for food. If you’re looking for what to do in Hawaii, there are endless activities to choose from, but chances are you aren’t trying to figure out what to eat. Here is an insider’s guide to some of our favorite local dishes and where to get them.
When food is good in Hawaii, we call it “Ono”, and when its really good, its “Ono-licious. “We rated our favorite dishes on the standard “Onolicious” scale.
Breakfast: Starting the Day Off Right
Our favorite way to start the day is with a Loco Moco. This has been a local favorite for a long time and consists of a bed of steamed white rice, with a hamburger covered in smoky gravy and topped with fried egg.
While this combination of foods may not sound breakfast oriented, it definitely hits the spot and is a good balance of protein and carbohydrates. People may be apprehensive of carbs at times, but breakfast is the best time to eat them and fuel up for a fun filled day.
Our favorite place to grab a Loco Moco is the Rainbow Drive-In. Located off Kapahulu Avenue just outside Waikiki, it is a convenient stop on your way out to turn your vacation “to do” list into “to done“.
Onolicious Scale: 4.5 out of 5. Truly epic.
Lunch: Our Favorite Time of Day
Lunchtime is our favorite time of the day. It’s a great time to reflect on the morning, and think about the rest of the afternoon. Our favorite thing to have for lunch is fresh Ahi Poke (pronounced: pokey).
Ahi Poke is sashimi grade Ahi tuna mixed with sliced white onion, chopped green onion, and a flavorful sauce. The sauce is usually based from teriyaki or soy sauce, and can be a secret recipe.
My favorite Ahi poke is from Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquors, and I am lucky enough to have one very close to home. With four locations on Oahu, chances are you’ll pass one sightseeing.
Onolicious Scale: 6 out of 5. It’s that good.
If you’re going to visit Oahu’s famed North Shore, be sure to stop in Kahuku for the roadside shrimp trucks. They grill fresh local shrimp to perfection, and one smell will have you convinced!
Dinner: Oh the Possibilities!
A Hawaiian plate is the most popular thing to get for dinner in Hawaii, and our favorite place to grab on is from Ono Hawaiian Foods. They have the best Kalua Pork and Lau Lau Chicken, and really good poi.
Ono Hawaiian Foods has a “mom and pop” feel to it, and their website is currently under development. They are located at 726 Kapahulu Avenue, they are about a five minute drive or a 20 minute walk from Waikiki.
With a wide variety of Hawaiian entrees to choose from, this is the place to go to try Hawaiian food… I mean, they have Ono in their name!
Hawaiian Plates are usually served with two scoops of rice and a scoop of Macaroni Salad. Depending on where you go and what you order, side choices can include green salad, poi, steamed vegetables, lomi salmon, or Asian noodles.
Onolicious Scale: 5 out of 5. A favorite for a reason!
Other local favorite plates include Teriyaki Beef, Barbeque Chicken, Chicken Katsu, and Mochiko Chicken.
Snack Time: The Sweet Side of Hawaii
The malasada is quite possibly the most popular of all Hawaiian-style snacks. Brought to the islands by the Portuguese in the early 1900′s, and has been a favorite ever since. A fried dough ball rolled in sweet sugar, the original malasada came plain but now there are a wide variety of delicious fillings.
It’s Hawaii’s version of a doughnut, and one is never enough!
Our favorite place to get malasadas is from Leonard’s Bakery, and they still make them by hand every day! Located at 933 Kapahulu Avenue, they are just a couple plocks past Ono Hawaiian Foods.
Onolicious Scale: 5 out of 5. Definitely a must try.
Another favorite snack of Hawaii is shave ice. On the mainland its known as a snow cone. A Hawaiian Shave Ice is made from finely shaved ice instead of crushed ice, and topped with almost any flavored syrup you can think of. You cant beat having one to escape the hot Hawaiian sun.
We like to get shave ice to cool off on a hot day at Island Snow. There is an Island Snow in Waikiki and also in Kailua. The best part about Island Snow is you can shop there! It’s a great place to grab clothes and other gear from the most popular and best local surf brands.
The Island Snow is walking distance in Waikiki and is off of Paoakalani Avenue just past Kuhio.
Local secret: President Obama LOVES to get Island Snow shave ice in Kailua when he stays on Oahu.
What To Do In Hawaii: Try Local Favorites!
We hope you have a chance to try some of our favorites dishes! Thinking of what to do in Hawaii can be fun and exciting, but plan on having a taste of the local cuisine too. Thanks for reading and enjoy!