Thanks to its proximity to Asia and North America, Hawaiian cuisine is the perfect fusion of both cultures. As a self-proclaimed foodie, the quality of food in a location can make or break the trip for me. Luckily, I have not been disappointed by the food in my time on Oahu. So I’m sharing my top five places to eat on the island!
5. Tim Ho Won
I had no idea what this restaurant was but my boyfriend saw it and was very excited because he’d visited one in Hong Kong. This dim sum restaurant is Michelin starred and while the food reflects that the prices definitely do not. We shared four different dishes for only $30 including the tip. What’s the best dish on the menu, you ask? The BBQ pork puns are an absolute must-have – sweet rolls with a little crisp on the outside and savory pork on the inside. If you’re a fan of Chinese food I would highly recommend checking this place out!
Duke’s is technically more of a market but it’s a great spot to grab something on the go, if you’re in Waikiki, before adventuring through the island. For some incredible poke head on over to Spitfire deli located just inside. Not a seafood fan? There are pizzas, burgers, chicken plates, sandwiches, and salads also available for purchase at the deli. In desperate need of something sweet and/or caffeinated? Make sure you stop at the coffee shop in the store that sells everything from coffee and pastries to gelato and bubble tea. Duke’s truly has something for everyone!
If you’re planning on visiting the North Shore during your time on Oahu (and if you’re not, I would suggest making the trip anyway, just for Giovanni’s) food trucks are a must stop and Giovanni’s shrimp truck is one of the best. I recommend the Garlic Shrimp Scampi, their most popular item, as it definitely lives up to the hype. Oozing with garlicky, lemony, shrimpy goodness, it’s a yes for me! Take your shrimp to Sunset Beach or Waimea Bay Beach Park to avoid the food truck crowds and enjoy the sunset while you eat.
The ultimate breakfast spot. Don’t let the name fool you, this restaurant is actually known for its amazing pancakes and clearly, everybody knows it. There was an hour and a half wait on a Monday morning when I went! But don’t be alarmed, their to-go orders come out pretty quickly. This popular breakfast and brunch joint has multiple locations throughout Honolulu but if you’re visiting the one in Waikiki, I’d recommend taking your breakfast across the street and eating by the beach. (Honestly just take all your meals to the beach. You are in HAWAII after all)! I ordered the Hawaiian sampler which included a trio of one coconut, pineapple, and macadamia nut pancake. All three were absolutely delicious but you really can’t go wrong with any of the pancakes. Oh, and order the coconut syrup, you’ll thank me later.
My Top Spot: Marugame Udon
Okay, I’m going to admit we put off eating here until our last night because the line was literally around the block every time we walked past. However, I should’ve known the outrageous line was only an indication of how scrumptious the food is at this Udon eatery. After having it recommended by numerous fellow travelers, we decided to give it a shot. And honestly, it did not disappoint. My boyfriend ordered the Nikutama ramen and I got the chicken teriyaki bowl. The only downside was we did end up standing in line for about an hour, although I think it’s very much worth it for the food. However, if you’d prefer not to get increasingly “hangry” standing in line like some people (*cough, me), there is always the option to order ahead for pick up and avoid the wait. Whether you choose to dine in or pick up you have to check out Marugame. Just, promise me you will, okay?
So there you have it! Don’t let food disappointment be a part of your Oahu adventure. I know you’ll love these picks as much as I did!