Aloha foodies! Hawaii definitely made it to one of my top places to get my grub on. I definitely gained some LBS on this trip but it was so worth it. Here are my recommended list of places to eat when visiting Oahu. Stay tuned for another post on a list of activities to do on Oahu (and Maui, if you plan on going there too).
Koa Cafe (2700 S. King St.)
Porky Pork – This is definitely a must order item off their menu. It comes with a generous amount of tender pork that is so flavorful. The medley potatoes come from different regions. I always use ketchup on my potatoes, but I didn’t need to for this dish! Just enough salt and crunch on the potatoes mixed with the delicious pork and the soft but set egg from the Benedict.
Guava Lava Mochi Waffle – I do not have a sweet tooth but I enjoyed this breakfast dessert. This waffle isn’t your typical waffle, it has a different grainy texture from the infused mochi. Different, but amazing. The syrup was also not that heavy nor too sweetened like the typical maple syrup. Even with the syrup all over it, the waffle was crunchy throughout and I never felt like I was eating a soggy waffle. I recommend getting the added fruits with the waffle.
Marukame Udon (2310 Kuhio Ave.)
I’m already salivating just thinking about what to say about this Udon place. Everything here is so fresh and so inexpensive. We had two different Udon bowls with a variety of tempura and musabi for less than $25. If we didn’t have such a long list of food places to tackle during our stay there, I would’ve been A-OK eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner here all in one day. I can literally eat broth and noodles on the daily (my husband can voucher this).
Niku Udon – this is the light, clear, and refreshing broth. The broth has a beefy flavor to it. This reminds me of my mother’s homemade, “Banh Canh” aka Vietnamese Thick Noodle Soup. The udon noodles were so perfectly executed and made fresh in front of your face as you’re waiting in line. This is a semi-fast food restaurant, no reservations and no call ahead.
Curry Udon – the broth here is completely opposite of the Niku Udon. It consists of bold and rich flavors. Great execution! We didn’t leave a single drop of broth left in that bowl. They also have a variety of fried tempura (croquette, chicken, shrimp, etc.) and musubi to choose from. Everything here is so good for its inexpensive prices. Can’t go wrong!
Ono Seafood (747 Kapahulu Ave.)
This tiny place is a grab-n-go joint with a couple benches outside. This is one of the best poke I’ve had compared to anything in the mainland. Fresh, cheap (approximately $11) and you get a free drink with it. Perfect ratio amount between the rice and the Hawaiian Style Ahi and Shoyu Tako. Sweet, umami, and spicy flavors combined. Even the rice texture and how it sticks together was perfect.
Leonard’s Bakery (933 Kapahulu Ave.)
We tried both the original and the puffs with filling. Assortment in the picture includes: original, cinnamon, li-hing, original with custard filling, dobash filling, and haupia filling. We overdid it by ordering half a dozen for just two people because they were pretty big. The puffs were nice and fluffy; between cake and yeast. My only con here is the coffee – it tasted like old coffee from the day before. But definitely try the puffs!
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (66-472 Kamehameha Hwy.)
The famous truck that everyone raves about on this island. Hence, it was a must-try on our list. We had the Original Scampi and the Hot and Spicy shrimp. Original Scampi – combination of lemon, butter, and garlic. The outside covering of the shrimp was flavorful but I felt like those flavors didn’t seep into the shrimp like I was hoping. After peeling off the skin, the flavors were gone and I was just eating a plain cooked shrimp. So, in order to enjoy this – I had to make sure to suck off all the flavors on the outside first. Hot & Spicy – it’s definitely hot and spicy as the name indicates, but it’s not a good spicy dish. Spicy is the only description I could provide for this. I love spicy food but there needs to be some flavors that I’m seeking in return while my tongue is on fire. Sadly, this did not live up to the hype for me. However, I would still recommend it to the tourists that are only visiting Oahu (the best shrimp truck is on Maui – stay tuned for that post).
Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin (255 Beach Walk)
Tenderloin Curry Tonkatsu – moist tenderloin and not overly fried. The pickled onions contrasted the bold curry flavors.
Calamari – super cute presentation with the curry pig shaker! Just enough batter to the calamari. Plenty of tentacles if that’s how you like your calamari.
Katsudon – this is their signature dish. Once you crack open that egg, its yolk, the sauces, and all the seasonings combined just soaks up the rice and it is gives you a mouth full of flavors in every bite.
Fresh Catch (3109 Waialae Ave.)
Firecracker Tuna & Shoyu Salmon – this place is just as good as Ono Seafood (mentioned above) but definitely with more love to it. Super friendly service by providing you a bunch of samples before you make your decision on what to order. They also offer drive-thru for your convenience.
Matsumoto Shave Ice (66-087 Kamehameha Hwy.)
The best way to tackle two of these mentioned places is to try Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and then take a stroll down North Shore Marketplace for some shave ice. You can’t be in the Hawaiian islands and not have shave ice! We had the Rainbow Shave Ice w/ Ice Cream – I personally do not have a sweet tooth but the syrup here is not heavily sweetened, so I enjoyed it. There were juicy flavors in the syrup and the vanilla ice cream in the middle was the highlight. It melted a little fast, but definitely not a problem on a hot day when the thirst is real.
Shirokiya Japan Village Walk (Ala Moana Center)
I forgot to take pictures of this Japanese food court because I was so distracted with everything in there. Once entering the Village Walk, it feels like you’re in a whole different place inside the mall. The food options are endless here from ramen, fried tempura, musubi, etc. Definitely worth checking out.
Okonomiyaki – unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the specific food vendor we got this dish from but it was fantastic. Looks like a messy dish but it’s definitely a delicious mess. Combination of savory pancake, egg, shrimp, cabbage, sprouts, etc. like a messy pizza.
Hope you’re salivating from these food description and pictures because I sure am. Enjoy your food adventures on Oahu and remember that it’s okay to pack on the LBS for the extra insulation this winter. Aloha foodies!
Cameras used for these pictures:
[+] Olympus OM-DE M10 Mark II
[+] Canon G7X
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