What you have to eat in Oahu!
Updated: Jul 23
As with any good vacation, we spent a lot of our time in Hawaii eating. Our Uber driver from the airport made us a whole list of Hawaiian foods to try, and we were able to try all of them except one, which I think is pretty successful! I guess I’ll just have to go back someday to try the Spam musubi. One of the biggest tips we got from Robert the Uber driver, and I’ll pass along to you all, is that if you’re staying in Waikiki, get out of there for meals. Not only will they be a lot more affordable, but you’ll also be able to find a bunch of options for authentic Hawaiian food! Here are my top five favorite foods from Oahu:
745 Fort St, Honolulu, HI 96813
After the hike on our first day, we were all craving a good burger. A quick Google search turned up Burgers and Things, which was rated 4.8 stars and was also on the list of best burgers in Honolulu. We had to give it a try, and boy were we glad that we did! This was definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and I’m usually not much of a burger person – I can personally recommend the Teri Burger! The beer-battered fries, which were the side special of the day were also phenomenal! It’s super small and cute, and the lady working there was so nice as well; she gave us a bunch of recommendations for things to do and places to eat during the remainder of our trip. Burgers and Things beat out a Michelin-starred chef in a cooking competition, which is quite a feat for a restaurant that has only been open for two years! Definitely a must-visit on Oahu, and both mine and Allison’s favorite meal of the trip!
3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Hawaii is big on plate lunches, which are rice and macaroni salad with your choice of meat (also, I didn’t realize what a big thing rice was here! We had rice at least once a day!) Plate lunches can be found in many places, but Rainbow’s Drive-In was recommended by multiple people during our trip, so we knew we had to give it a try. I tried the BBQ pork, which was so tasty! Also, their macaroni salad was some of the best I’ve ever had. This place is super accessible from Waikiki by bus or foot and is super popular for both locals and tourists.
Shave ice might be the ultimate Hawaiian sweet treat, and there is no shortage of places to acquire it. One of the best places on the island is at Matsumoto’s, (66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712) on the North Shore, which we got and loved – they had so many flavors! Really though, you can’t go wrong anywhere, on a hot Hawaiian day, a bowl of flavored ice is going to taste great no matter where it’s from! The rainbow was my favorite flavor combination – I’m pretty sure it’s cherry, lemon, and blue raspberry, although I could be wrong! This is also definitely a sharable treat – it’s a lot of sugar for one person in one sitting! Grab a bowl (and some napkins!), and go sit on the beach and watch the sunset!
If you’ve ever been to Disney, you know all about the pineapple-y goodness that is a Dole Whip. A pineapple frozen treat, as it is labeled, is a highlight of many Disney trips (my own included!), but it can also be found on the island of Oahu at the Dole Plantation near the North Shore. This is another one that only comes in one size, and therefore, it is also very sharable! Don’t miss out on this though, if you even remotely like pineapple and/or ice cream, you’ll love this one!
2586 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815
One of my goals for 2018 is to start eating healthier, and we found this little cafe right around the corner from our hostel. They had a bunch of fresh smoothies and juices as well as a really good selection of organic/veggie/vegan options! Think quinoa bowls, salads, and acai bowls. A little on the pricey side, but it’s definitely worth it! Tucker & Bevvy is also right by the beach, making it a great place to grab something for a beach picnic a great option!
Other things to try include a bowl of poke (rice and raw, seasoned fish – it reminded me of deconstructed sushi), a traditional Hawaiian dinner – check out one of the combinations at Da Ono (726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816), where you’ll get to sample a bit of everything; this is also great for sharing!, garlic shrimp from one of the many shrimp trucks along the North Shore, and Masaladas (Portuguese doughnuts) from Leonard’s (933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816) – these were Allison’s personal favorite!