A Foodie's Guide to Oahu

01 March 2014

If I were to be embodied by a deadly sin, it would be gluttony. I absolutely love food and tasting everything. If you eat dinner with me, I'm going to have to get at least one bite of what you're having. On hikes I constantly look around wondering "Can I eat that?". If you offer me some weird, exotic food, I would not hesitate to try it. 

In my mind, foods are just another way to experience life. Much like how I want to see the world, I also want to taste the world. Luckily for me, the island of Hawaii has been a cornucopia of new foods to try. Besides my new found love for ahi poke (raw salmon with sesame oil) here are some other foods to try out on the island of Oahu.


The Rainbow Drive In embodies classic fare for the island and has been serving the people of Honolulu plate lunches for over 50 years. The dish you have to try: the loco moco.

Ok, I know this doesn't exactly look appetizing but trust me! This dish consists of a hamburger patty over rice with eggs and brown gravy poured over top. On the side is some classic Hawaiian mac salad. Absolutely delicious for when you want something greasy and dirty. 

Just down the street is another Honolulu staple; Leonard's Bakery. At this shop you can get typical baked goods but they are most famous for their malasadas. These Portuguese sweet breads are a bit like light donuts rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The perfect desert to follow a loco moco with!

Dole Plantation

In the center of the island you can find Dole Plantation. Once the backbone of the islands economy, the plantation is now more of a fun stop over for people driving around Oahu where you can learn about the history of the pineapple. Here you can do a tour of the gardens or get lost in the world's largest maze but I was here for a more serious matter: Dole pineapple whip.

This sweet confection was the texture of gelato and is flavored with extremely pungent pineapple. My taste buds piqued with all the flavor!


This small town on the north shore of Oahu is the epitome of Hawaii. Famous for the huge swells in the winter, this surf town is also a trove of good eats. 

First up were the shrimp trucks. I found a clearing with three shrimp trucks; one was pretty clean, one was kinda dirty, and one was absolutely grungy. I, of course, chose the latter. 

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck was honestly the best shrimp I've ever had in my life. They were smothered in garlic and butter (can't go wrong) and served with a side of rice. The shrimp themselves were large and hearty and were extremely fresh.

And to follow up, you have to go to Matsumoto's Grocery Store to get the original Hawaiian shaved ice. This method is different from your typical snow cone in that the shaving technique creates a different kind of ice crystal which holds flavoring better. I went for lilikoi flavor which is a fruit powder that Hawaiians put on sweets to bring out their flavor. I'll have to admit, the shaving technique really does work. I've never has such a flavorful snow cone before!

What's your favorite food you've tried while traveling?

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  1. I think we'd get along great-- I am the same way about food! Lol. I love loco moco. All of these pictures are making me so hungry. Yum.

    My favorite food to try when I'm traveling would definitely have to be the street food! Cheap and tasty!

    1. Yesss! Some days I really miss the street food in China!

  2. Omg, wish I'd seen this before I went to Hawaii for Christmas! Did have the loco moco though.