Aloha All My Fellow Adventure Seekers!!!!
Now that we’ve determined that you need to make your way to the beautiful island of Oahu, I’ll show you how to eat your way around the island on a shoestring. The meals below ranged from $12 – $15 per person.
My daughter introduced me to a fabulous breakfast spot where they offer macadamia nut banana pancakes, topped with a luscious macadamia nut cream sauce that’s practically addictive at Boots & Kimo in Kailua Town. The strawberry waffles topped with their macadamia nut cream sauce looked pretty amazing too. The two of us went last year when I visited and it was the first place I wanted to go to when I arrived this time. If you’re more into savory dishes, they have an assortment of them as well. The most popular is the Hawaiian Style Kalbi Short Ribs Breakfast but you can get eggs benedict with home fries as well or a multitude of other delicacies. Don’t forget to order a steaming cup of Kona coffee.
If you haven’t tried Poke, it’s a must. It’s made with the freshest diced raw fish, marinated in a variety of sauces, herbs, vegetables and spices. My preference is the garlic, pickled onions, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, sriracha sauce and who knows what other deliciousness is in there. They serve it over white sticky rice and drizzle soy sauce over top. Take that bowl and the chopsticks provided, head over to a Hawaiian beach and enjoy your meal while listening to the waves crash upon the sand and as the sun sets in front of you.
What I found interesting is that Hawaiian’s love Spam. Their love affair with Spam stems from World War 2 when this luncheon meat was Government issued to troops because it didn’t require refrigeration and had a long shelf life. Hawaii consumes more Spam than any other state in the union—a total of 7 million cans a year!!! Billions of cans later, Hawaii continues to celebrate the island staple at the Waikiki SPAM JAM. It’s a yearly festival that takes place in April. You can sample yummy fare made with Spam, plus enjoy live performances and stroll through booths selling island arts and crafts. Admission is free but you have to bring a can of Spam to donate to the Hawaii Foodbank. Cities across the world all have their signature foods—pizza in NY, hot dogs in Chicago and Spam in Hawaii. You can even stop by selfie stations to take fun pictures with Spam caricatures and cutouts. Many restaurants feature dishes made with Spam and Hawaii even has their own version of sushi made with Spam. It’s called musubi and local celebrities compete against one another in a musubi-making contest.
The Pig & The Lady in Honolulu is an award winning Vietnamese fusion restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. They have an assortment of noodles and soups, rice dishes and more. For dessert they offer malasadas which are one of the Hawaiian’s favorite desserts. Malasadas are filled fried dough, rolled in sugar and reminiscent of filled donuts but so much better. The one we ordered was filled with a pineapple and lime cream and then rolled in sugar. Sooooo delicious!
If you’re into fresh fish tacos, look no further. Almost every restaurant offers them. My favorite Hawaiian fish is the Opah fish which is native to Hawaii and found deep in the ocean. My favorite way to eat the Opah fish is over a bed of white sticky rice and a tangy coleslaw. It’s scrumptious.
Now, for another local favorite, food trucks on the North Shore, halfway between Turtle Bay and Laie. It’s an absolute must to visit one or more. You can see them from the road nestled between palm trees, chickens scurrying about and picnic tables. They scoop the Kahuku shrimp out of the water directly in front of the trucks so you can’t get any fresher than that. You’ll probably have to shoo chickens off your picnic table but that’s all part of the Hawaiian experience. The most famous food truck of all is Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. It’s one of the first to hit the North Shore and is a regular stop among the Hawaiian locals and tourists. They’ve won multiple awards for their dishes. Their Shrimp Scampi made with a dozen shrimp, roasted chopped garlic and lemon butter, served with two scoops of white sticky rice and drizzled with a lemon butter and caramelized chunks of garlic sauce is the best around. It’s loaded with garlicky goodness.
Also on the North Shore is the Sunrise Shack which is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Hawaii. Surfer dude brothers and their friend, all raised in Hawaii, started it in 2016 on a small plumeria flower farm in the heart of Oahu’s North Shore. They want for the Sunrise Shack to radiate the aloha of the islands and to provide everyone with healthy food that is delicious and brings a bit of joy into your day so you can make the most of life. They offer coffees and superfoods smoothie bowls that are out of this world. My daughter had their Acai Bowl overflowing with fresh Hawaiian fruits topped with granola and shaved coconut and I had their Monkey Bowl that had everything delicious in it. The entire menu is healthy, delicious and fabulous. Make sure to try their coffee, it’s the best I’ve ever had. I had the Mac Nut Bullet coffee and would highly recommend it.
You’d probably drive right past the Waiahole Poi Factory on the Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe because it’s a bit shabby but you’ll get the best smoked BBQ shredded pork there with coleslaw and a creamy poi sauce which is made from the local taro root to dip it all in. We had the Kalua Pig plate and it was spectacular! This is a local favorite spot and they offer authentic Hawaiian fare. After your meal, you’ll have to have the dessert their famous for. It’s the Sweet Lady of Waiahole, which is a warm kulolo (taro dessert) with haupia ice cream. The kulolo is warm, sweet and gooey and melts the haupia ice cream so every bite is a warm and cool creamy sensation.
If you’re in the Lanikai area, try the Kalapawai Deli. They’ve got great sandwiches and small batch Uncle Handmade Ice Cream cookie sandwiches. They’re made in Hawaii and come in a variety of flavors. Our favorite is the one with salted caramel ice cream nestled between two snickerdoodle cookies.
If you like soft serve ice cream, you can find ube soft serve everywhere. Ube is a purple sweet potato and incredibly delicious. Many places serve it up in a soft fish-shaped waffle cone. If you prefer shaved ice, the town of Hale’iwa is home of Hawaii’s best shaved ice at the Aloha General Store. It’s not at all granular and more of snow like consistency. The tropical flavors poured over top are not only delicious but very colorful so you feel like you’re eating a rainbow.
I’ll be planning our next adventure together so stay tuned!!!
Huggles and Smoochies,
Your Friend, Susan