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Eat Local: 14 Foods to Try on Oahu, Hawaii

“I just can’t get enough. I just can’t get enough.” ~Depeche Mode

Hawaii is known for sugary white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters, but Aloha land is also known for serving up delicious food that will stimulate your senses. Today is Aloha Friday and this post is for our dear friend, Truth Smith, and her family, who are visiting the 808 for the first time. When you visit Oahu, make sure you try the following foods and drinks:


Malasadas are made-to-order, crispy, fluffy, fried balls of deliciousness! After the yeast dough is fried, the malasadas are coated in sugar. They’re offered plain or filled. If you’re staying in Waikiki/Honolulu, head over to Leonard’s Bakery (933 Kapahulu Ave) If you’re staying in Kailua, make sure you visit Agnes Portuguese Bakery (46 Ho’olai Street). They’re closed on Mondays.

Shave Ice

Shave Ice is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice through a blade. It differs from a snow cone because the ice in snow cones is crushed, not shaved. Shave ice is finer, like snow. Once you select the size of your shave ice, select the flavored syrup(s). Add texture or different flavors, with adzuki beans, condensed milk, ice cream. Try the Matsumoto combo (lemon, pineapple, coconut) with beans and ice cream at the bottom. Matsumoto Shave Ice has a new, larger venue on the North Shore! (66-111 Kamehameha Hwy, Suite 605).


Spam is a precooked, canned luncheon meat that’s wildly popular in Hawaii. It’s available everywhere and you may enjoy Spam as a breakfast side, a snack, or as a main entree. Even McDonald’s offers a side of spam with breakfast. This is a spam plate lunch from Rainbow Drive-In (3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu)

Spam Musubi is a popular snack. It’s a slice of marinated, pan-fried Spam served on rice and wrapped in seaweed. You can order it a la carte at Aja Sushi and Bento, located in the Ala Moana Center Food Court (1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu)

Plate Lunch

Plate Lunch is local fare consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and meat. Next to Waimanolo Beach is Keneke’s Divine Grinds (41-857 Kalanianaole Hwy) and ordered the Kalbi Beef Short ribs. Other places to enjoy Plate Lunch: L&L Hawaiian BBQ, Fat Boyz, Zippy’s.

Shrimp Scampi

When you’re driving to/from North Shore, you’ll see a number of Shrimp Trucks serving made-to-order meals. This is the Garlic Shrimp Scampi at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (56-505 Kamehameha Hwy, east of North Shore)

Poke Bowl

Poke (pronounced poh-KAY) is a staple in Hawaii - found in restaurants, supermarkets. It consists of a raw fish salad marinated with soy, sesame oil, onions, scallions, chilies. This is the poke bowl at The Street food hall by Mike Mina, International Marketplace, 2330 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 330, Honolulu.

Loco Moco

Loco Moco is another staple of Hawaii. There are many variations of this stick-to-your-bones dish, but traditional Loco Moco consists of a hamburger patty with brown gravy, a scoop of rice, mac salad. Order a runny egg to the dish for an extra treat. Liliha Bakery is a popular diner that's known for their Loco Moco. Head up to the order and enjoy your Hawaiian feast Liliha also serves Hawaiian and All-American comfort food. Liliha Bakery is open 24-hours and is close to HNL Airport at 515 N Kuakini St, Honolulu.

Coco Puffs

After finishing your Loco Moco, enjoy these puffs as a dessert, or order them to-go. These magic, buttery creamy puffs are created every day at Liliha Bakery and they're offered in a variety of flavors. Above are the original cream filled and newest flavor: green tea coco puffs!

Fresh Fruit

Everything tastes better on aloha land! Who wants pineapple? Hawaiian grown and available year-round, pick up this sweet treat at a produce stand, at the farmer's market and enjoy the way the fruit is supposed to taste. And try honeydew melon when you're on the islands. It has flavor and does not taste like the rind of a cantaloupe like it does on the mainland.

Pancakes with Mac Nut Sauce

Hawaii has really elevated their breakfast scene and one of my favorite sauces is the Macadamia Nut Sauce that’s served with their pancakes. It’s light, not too sweet, and filled with yummy mac nuts. This is the pancake breakfast at Boots + Kimo's in Kailua. Make sure you arrive early because it's always busy and the venue is tiny.

If you want to eat a cloud, the light and fluffy coconut pancake souffle with creamy, buttery mac sauce is heavenly! Head over to Aloha Kitchen, 432 Ena Rd, Honolulu. It pairs perfectly with a hot mug of Kona coffee.

Kalua Pig

Taro (used to make poi)

Goofy's Cafe and Diner is a local's favorite and named after the goofy style of surfing (not the Disney character). If you're craving local, organic eats, head over to Goofy's (which is located above a surf shop on 1831 Ala Moana Blvd #201). Order the Kalua Pig Eggs Benedict with Taro Muffin. Make sure you order a side of pineapple which is served inside the pineapple.

Chocolate Haupia Pie

If you’re heading to the North Shore, stop by one of the North Shore’s oldest and favorite places, Ted’s Bakery (59-024 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa). Right across from Sunset Beach, Ted’s chocolate haupia pie is their top seller: rich, creamy and chocolaty with a buttery, flaky crust. Haupia is a coconut milk based desert with a pudding consistency. The whipped cream on top is so light! Bliss is enjoying Ted’s chocolate haupia pie while watching the surf scene at Pipeline or Sunset. Ted’s also serves delicious plate lunch! Get the Loco Moco or Combo 1 plate.

Kona Coffee (plus Gelato!!)

Hawaii is the only US State that commercially produces coffee. Kona Coffee is grown on the Big Island and is one of the most expensive coffees in the world (expect to pay $20+/lb for 100% Kona). It's a mild, smooth light-medium bodied coffee. Kona is available everywhere. Kona Coffee Purveyors at International Marketplace serves artisan roasted Kona coffee and excellent pastries. One of our fave items ever is their Affogato = Gelato drowned in espresso. Divine!!

Kona Beer aka Liquid Aloha

Drink the spirit of Aloha by visiting the Kona Brewing Company. The sampler gives you the chance to try brews that are only available on the islands. You can also enjoy Kona at all restaurants or pick-up a six pack at any ABC store.

Hawaii’s food scene reflects its diversity and the 808's thriving epicurean scene. Enjoy this fun and flavorful culinary island experience.

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