As the main city of Hawaii, Honolulu is rich in local foods and fine cuisine that reflect the many cultures that have influenced its development. Here are a few ways to treat yourself to Honolulu’s distinctive foods.
Eat Like a Local:
Oahu has many local favourites and comfort foods that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. If you want to eat like a local you’ll need to get to know these local dishes and treats.
The “plate lunch” is a simple filling staple for lunch among locals. What it is is two scoops of rice, a selection of meat such as kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, or beef teriyaki and macaroni salad.
“Pupu” is the Hawaiian name for appetizers and popular selections here tend to feature fish such as seasoned cubes of raw fish called “poke dishes” and sushi.
The really hungry will want to try “loco moco”, a hamburger steak served with an egg on a bed of rice all covered in gravy. This is another popular lunch among locals, but you can even find gourmet versions of it in fancy restaurants.
“Shave ice” is just the right treat for a hot day. These are snow cones with a Hawaiian twist. Choose the flavour you would like for the ice then choose to have it served on top of either ice cream or azuki beans.
“Malasadas” are hot donuts that are actually of Portuguese origin and were brought by the state’s Portuguese immigrants. Now they are very popular here and can be found all over Oahu. They are made from a yeast dough rich with eggs, milk and butter that is deep fried and dipped in granulated sugar. Definitely a very rich treat, but one to try at least once!
Attend the Farmer’s Market and Fish Auction:
Shop like a local at the KCC Farmers' Market held every Saturday. It’s the largest farmers’ market in the state and you’ll find plenty of fresh local produce available including fruits, vegetables, beef, aqua-cultured seafood, baked goods, seasonings, snack foods, flowers, honey, and more. At the Honolulu Fish Auction, you’ll find the freshest fish around and get to be a part of the excitement and bustle of the shoppers and the bidding at the auction.
Honolulu’s Unique Restaurants:
Two must try restaurants that are continually ranked the best of Honolulu and feature Hawaii’s top chefs are Roy's, and Alan Wong's Restaurant . Roy’s has several locations including one in Wakiki and features gourmet specials that use local ingredients prepared in ways that are both classic and have a modern twist. They are known for their seafood and ribs in particular, as well as their great service.
At Alan Wong’s there is one famous dish that has been the favourite of restaurant goers for over 15 years, ginger-crusted onaga. They have even tried taking it off the menu, but customers kept requesting it again and again. This speciality is definitely worth a try and comes served on a bed of Hamakua mushrooms and Kahuku corn, in a miso-sesame sauce.
Beer lovers will fall for REAL a Gastropub where you’ll find over 200 kinds of bottled beers, plus 24 on tap. To compliment your beer there are many tapa-style snacks featuring local meats and produce.
For breakfast or brunch, try Yogur Story, where you will find some breakfast options that are really out of the ordinary, along with more regular breakfast fare and salads, sandwiches, desserts, and coffee.
Have a Feast:
For a real feast attend the Aha 'Aina, a combination performance, luau, and feast that takes place every Monday evening at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The performance is a modern interpretation of a ancient feast traditional to Hawaii.
Enjoy your trip to Honolulu, Hawaii!