The Ultimate Oahu Food Guide

 

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

This is the ultimate Oahu food guide. This list will have EVERYTHING we tried and loved (in no particular order), and now I want to share it with all of you. Below is the list broken it down into the following categories: savory foods, sweets, and places to hang out. I hope you find this useful for your future trip to the best place on earth! Be prepared to get hungry.

Great Places to Hang Out

Duke’s Waikiki
  • Must try: mai tai
  • Why is it so good: this place supposedly has the best mai tai’s (I think there are other favorites too but this is the one we decided to go to), and I actually really enjoyed it! I’m not a fruity drink gal, but I do recommend coming here for some mai tai’s. You get to drink it as close to the shores of Waikiki as the law allows you (it is illegal to drink on the beach). This place as a nice atmosphere with the bar looking out over the ocean. You are practically outdoors!
  • Helpful hint: this place can get busy. We didn’t make a reservation, but you are allowed to go to any open table in the bar area, which ended up being a plus for us, because we got to drink on the beach!
  • Website here

Mai tai at Duke's Waikiki // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

the view from the bar at Duke's Waikiki // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Shirokiya Japan Village Walk
  • Must try: anything!
  • Why is it so good: this was our favorite hang out spot after a long day of exploring. It is located at the ground level of Ala Moana Mall and is essentially a Japanese cuisine food court. What we love about this place is that you can grab any kind of food you want and chill out with some beers. The atmosphere is lively and inviting. This place had our favorite spam musubis!
  • Helpful hint: it gets VERY busy during dinner hours, so grab a table quick!
  • Website here

dessert crepe

Savory foods

Mike’s Huli Huli Chicken
  • Must try: char siu plate (my FAVORITE) and the chicken shrimp combo plate (Steven’s favorite)
  • Why is it so good: the char siu and chicken were so tender, juicy, and flavorful. The shrimp, though not Giovanni’s, was amazing as well. Hands down one of my most favorite meals. If it wasn’t such a trip to get to here, we would’ve ate here again!
  • Helpful hint: this place only takes cash
  • Website here

char siu plate and chicken/shrimp comba plate // mike's huli huli chicken // the ultimate oahu food guide // north shore, oahu, hawaii

Char Hung Sut
  • Must try: mai tai soo (small crusty bun with juicy pork filling), pork hash (pork dumplings), manapua ( famous soft bun with meat filling), and probably everything else but we did not get to try because they were sold out.
  • Why is it so good: they’re pork fillings make this dim sum style place legendary for a reason! I can’t pick a favorite. Anything with their pork filling was beyond my expectations.
  • Helpful hint: they open from 5am-2pm (or 1pm on Sunday). Definitely show up as early as you can, because they were sold out half of their menu after 12pm.
  • Website here 
Musubi Cafe
  • Must try: all their spam musubis (our favorite musubi place hands down)
  • Why is it so good: the rice is cooked perfectly and it soaks up the famous sauce that is used for glazing the spam slices. I loved it so much that I bought the sauce to bring back home so that I can have spam musubis whenever I want.
  • Helpful hint: There are many locations in Honolulu, but our favorite was the one in the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk.
  • Wesite here

spam musubi from musubi cafe at shirokiya japan village walk // the ultimate oahu food guide // ala moana, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Marukame Udon
  • Must try: ANY of the udon dishes
  • Why is it so good: the udon is FRESHLY made in the restaurant IN YOUR FACE.  The broth is so flavorful. I got both the niku udon (hot broth) and nikuzaru udon (cold broth), and they were equally amazing. It depends on your preference. Also, this restaurant is set up cafeteria style, so the line goes by fast and you get to pick whatever you want for toppings and sides.
  • Helpful hint: the wait time can be as long as 2 hours. We came in around 4pm every time and there was never a line!
  • Wesite here

niku udon with spam musubi, Portuguese sausages, and fried chicken on the side // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

nikuzaru udon (cold udon) // marukame udon // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Alicia’s Market
  • Must try: take-out plates (you have a choice of poke AND meat and it comes with rice and mac salad), pork hash (the dipping sauce is so good), and deep fried poi mochi
  • Why is it so good: this place has no fuss and all about the quality AND quanity of the food. I got the half plate, and it was still huge! They really pack the food in the plate. The pork hash and the deep fried poi mochi were not planned. I found them by accident, because I asked the girl at the register what she liked. She pointed to these items, and at the first bite of each, I was sold. Whatever you decide to try there, it probably is amazing.
  • Helpful hint: this place is only accessible by car, so rent one! Alicia’s Market is definitely a hidden gem that only locals go to.
  • Website here

half plate at alicia's market with rice, mac salad, roasted pork, and shrimp poke // the ultimate oahu food guide // honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Lucky Belly
  • Must try: scallop cone sushi and any of their ramen
  • Why is it so good: Their appetizers are all very good, especially their scallop cone sushi, which has a lot of very complex flavors and notes. Their ramen bowls are HUGE. You could easily skip the appetizers or split the bowl. We made a mistake and ordered so much food, but no regrets because we were on vacation.
  • Helpful hint: this place gets busy so make a reservation
  • Website here

scallop cone sushi // lucky belly // // the ultimate oahu food guide // chinatown, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

the belly bowl (ramen) // lucky belly // the ultimate oahu food guide // chinatown, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

the beast bowl (ramen) // lucky belly // the ultimate oahu food guide // chinatown, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
  • Must try: shrimp scampi
  • Why is it so good: This buttery, garlicky goodness will everything you expected and more for all you shrimp lovers. My only regret is that I didn’t try the hot and spicy shrimp! This food truck is located in the quiet North Shore of Oahu in a parking lot that has other food trucks to try too.
  • Helpful hint: You can do half orders. Next time, I would’ve done half hot and spicy and half scampi.  Also, this can get messy, and there are no sinks around to wash your hands in the parking lot, so be prepared!
  • Website here

shrimp scampi // giovanni's shrimp truck // the ultimate oahu food guide // north shore, oahu, hawaii

Yakiniku Don-Day
  • Must try: Korean BBQ
  • Why is it so good: Korean BBQ is never a bad idea. They have unlimited sides, and you can eat outdoors! This was the perfect setting for a nice sunny dinner with your friends and family while drinking soju.
  • Helpful hint: We ordered the combo H and it was the perfect amount for 4 people. And get a reservation! It can get busy.
  • Website here

the sides for korean bbq // yakiniku don-day // the ultimate oahu food guide // honolulu, oahu, hawaii

combo H for korean bbq // yakiniku don-day // the ultimate oahu food guide // honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
  • Must try: the famous tonkatsu sandwich
  • Why is it so good: everything here is breaded with panko and deep fried beautifully. We ordered the calamari and fried chicken for appetizers. Then two of us got the famous pork tenderloin sandwich, and the other two got the Bairin special pork tenderloin katsu-don. The katsu-don is HUGE, so bring your appetite. The sandwich has the option of mustard on or off. I highly recommend with mustard, but you can have that on the side just in case if you’re worried. The pork is extremely tender and flavorful. We almost went here twice, because it was so good (but didn’t because we had to pack).
  • Helpful hint: it can get busy, so get a reservation!
  • Website here

fried calamari // tonkatsu ginza bairin // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

fried chicken // tonkatsu ginza bairin // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

bairin special pork tenderloin katsu-don // tonkatsu ginza bairin // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

famous pork tenderloin sandwich // tonkatsu ginza bairin // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Ono Seafood
  • Must try: the poke!
  • Why is it so good: locals claim that this spot is the best spot to get poke and that the fish is the freshest. My favorite was the spicy tuna (and I usually don’t like spicy tuna, because it’s usually heavily dressed with spicy mayo)! Honestly, any of the poke there is a home run. You can definitely taste the freshness of the poke.
  • Helpful hint: very small parking lot and small shop!
  • Website here
Ono Hawaiian Foods
  • Must try: anything!
  • Why is it so good: locals told us that this is the best place to get the most authentic home cooked Hawaiian meal. I don’t think you could go wrong with anything, but my favorites were the chicken long rice (Hawaiian chicken noodle soup) and chicken watercress (chicken soup with watercress). Everything tastes so homey. This is definitely the spot to get some Hawaiian comfort food.
  • Helpful hint: eat the poi and never say anything bad about it. Hawaiians love their poi and will be extremely offended if you don’t eat it. A local’s words, not mine. It’s fermented taro, which becomes a viscous liquid. I personally enjoy it, but I know it looks very foreign. To eat it, you’re supposed to eat it like any starch. Also, they will serve you raw onions. To eat it the Hawaiian way, sprinkle salt on the onions and then dip the onions in the hot sauce. It’s actually surprisingly good. That was Steven’s favorite.
  • Website here (no website so a Yelp page will have to do)

our meal at ono hawaiian foods // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Sweets/Desserts

Leonard’s Bakery
  • Must try: the malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts with or without filling)
  • Why is it so good: these doughnuts are ALWAYS warm and made to order. You have the option of what kind of filling you want (if you want any at all) and the kind of sugar coating you want (if you want any at all). Our favorite was the macadamia custard filling!
  • Helpful hint: from what I hear, it is usually very busy with the line out the door. We were there at around 4-5pm, and it was completely dead.
  • Website here

eating the malasadas at leonard's bakery // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Liliha Bakery
  • Must try: the famous coco puffs
  • Why is it so good: our favorite flavor was actually the puff with the chocolate frosting on top with the vanilla pastry cream inside, which I thought of as a Hawaiian eclair. However, they are more known for their coco puffs!
  • Helpful hint: there are two locations and its ALWAYS busy
  • Website here
McDonald’s
  • Must try: taro pie
  • Why is it so good: before you judge me, just know that McDonald’s serves different things around the world. In Hawaii, they have the taro pie. If you’re a fan of taro, then you have to try this. If you’re new to taro, it’s essentially a root vegetable (like a potato) and is commonly eaten as a dessert, almost like sweet potatoes but Asian.
  • Helpful hint: It’s only for a limited time!
  • Website here (not McDonald’s website but this has a video of the pie)

taro pie at mcdonald's // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Matcha Cafe Maiko
  • Must try: the matcha drinks
  • Why is it so good: there are various options that you can order, such as matcha latte or matcha latte float with either vanilla or matcha soft serve on top! My personal favorite was the matcha chocolate. There’s a very slight hint of chocolate, but the matcha overwhelms it. Why I think the matcha chocolate is better than the matcha latte is that it is creamier and has the velvety texture of hot chocolate. Steven prefers the matcha latte float with vanilla ice cream.
  • Helpful hint: it’s right behind Marukame Udon. Also, street parking is a pain. You are better off parking in the mall across the street, which you do have to pay for.
  • Website here

matcha latte float and matcha chocolate // the ultimate oahu food guide // waikiki, honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Matsumoto Shaved Ice
  • Must try: shaved ice
  • Why is it so good: this is the most famous shaved ice spot in Oahu, but my second favorite shaved ice place. It is located in the beautiful North Shore in a historic town called Haleiwa. The condensed milk gives it an out-of-this-world taste. I got the green tea special but with condensed milk and no ice cream.
  • Helpful hint: there’s usually a line out the door.
  • Website here

shaved ice at matsumoto's // the ultimate oahu food guide // haleiwa, north shore, oahu, hawaii

Dole Plantation
  • Must try: Dole pineapple whip
  • Why is it so good: it’s a soft serve ice cream made with Dole pineapple juice. It’s the same one in Disney, because I have tasted and confirmed. This is the perfect treat on a hot day, which is everyday in Hawaii. Also, I love it with the chocolate fudge on top, which hardens into a nice chocolate shell.
  • Helpful hint: you can find this in other locations beside the plantation. We found it at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
  • Website here

dole whip with pineapple toppings // dole plantation // the ultimate oahu food guide // oahu, hawaii

Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
  • Must try: shaved ice
  • Why is it so good: THIS is my absolute favorite shaved ice. The syrups are homemade and all natural! I got the #2 (Uji Kintori), which has all my staples, including green tea syrup, homemade mochi, and adzuki beans (red beans that are meant to be eaten as dessert). This combo also comes with vanilla ice cream that’s locally made. Everyone else loved their choices too. Even though Matsumoto’s is more famous, Uncle Clay’s is hand down the best (with 5 stars on Yelp!). Below is a picture of the tropical delight, which my friend loved!
  • Helpful hint: their condensed milk is called dream sauce. I was not aware of this so I didn’t have any in mine, but it still tasted amazing because of all the flavors.
  • Website here

tropical delight // uncle clays's house of pure aloha // the ultimate oahu food guide // honolulu, oahu, hawaii

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

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