Here is a list of cheap eats we had on Oahu on a recent trip to Hawaii.
Spam and Poke on the Beach
Being originally from the Philippines, I am a big fan of SPAM, and the Hawaiians love it as well so its perfect for me. One thing you have to have in Hawaii is SPAM musubi. Its basically sushi spam. On our first morning, we headed to Dukes Lane Market and Eatery to buy stuff for a picnic on the beach (the place opens at 6AM so its perfect for early risers – one of the many benefits of going to Hawaii from the Westcoast is that you will always wake up early because it is 3 hours behind).
Spam Musubi Heaven
We took our spam and poke bowl (poke is raw fish served with various seasonings depending on the type) to Sandy Beach and had a picnic. Heavenly!
Waiahole Poi Factory
For lunch we stopped at the Waiahole Poi Factory and had the Kalua pork plate.
The pork was so tender and delicious. Normally, this would be a bland dish, but the pork flavor at this place was perfect. We also had the Chicken Long Rice. The broth was delicious but I am not a fan of glassy noodles. It reminded me of the Filipino soup _-Tinola Manok – which in my opinion, is a superior soup to this. The pork came with salmon lomi which is bits of salmon mixed with tomatoes. They also give you rice and haupia (a Hawaiian jelly like coconut dessert).
For dessert here you have to try the Sweet Lady. It is Kulolo ( a Hawaiian dessert made primarily with grated taro corms and either with grated coconut meat or coconut milk). It reminded me of warm bread budding. Its topped with haupia ice cream. Its totally delicious!
I love Foodland in Hawaii. Its basically a local grocery store chain. The thing to get here is poke and a scoop of rice. There are many different kinds of poke. My favorite on this trip was the California (its the creamy one in the picture below left). So good. Notice we could not wait and ate it in the car parking lot.
Garlic shrimp is amazing with rice. Most places will recommend you go to Giovanni’s. We did on our last trip, but this time, the lines were insane. I did not want to wait, and honestly, its hard to screw up butter and garlic, so we went down the road to Jenny’s in Haleiwa. No line!
Maybe not as famous, but just as delicious.
The great thing about Hawaiian cuisine is that it has been influenced by so many different primarily Asian cultures. The Korean BBQ in Hawaii is a good example. Across the street from Jenny’s, there is a food truck parking lot and we had to get kalbi ribs.
These were mid blowing good.
I was never a fan of shave ice until I had it in Hawaii on this trip. The most famous is Matsumoto. Yes you will have to wait in line, but it moves fast. We got three flavors, condensed milk (a must), and mochi (which I would skip next time).
The texture of the ice is fluffy. The syrups are delicious. I was expecting overly sweet with the condensed milk but this was not the case.
These are Portuguese donuts famous in Hawaii. The most famous is Leonard’s.
I could not believe how good these were. First they come out warm. You need to eat it right away to get the full experience. Next, they are PERFECTLY fluffy. Lastly, not overly sweet. We got original and cinnamon. I suggest you stick to original. Way better.
The last thing is not unique to Hawaii, but its the Filipino fast food chain – Jollibee. Whenever I see it, I have to have it. I always get the chicken joy with gravy (fried chicken) and Filipino spaghetti. Filipino spaghetti is not your normal Italian variety. Its sweeter. Its made with banana ketchup and has chunks of hot dogs. Its delicious.
Just writing this is making me hungry and miss the beaches!