Ok so not everything on this list is fast (or delicious, but most things will be). In Hawaii, people take their time. Its a combination of a chill lifestyle and cooked fresh to order, but I hope you find this list helpful.
Sam’s Kitchen (Honolulu)
We arrived late and this was one of the places open late (its open till 1AM) so its a good choice if you want Hawaiian food late at night. Its a hole in the wall with outdoor seating. We had the garlic shrimp and its good enough to give you that “I’ve arrived in Hawaii” feeling.
Iyasume Musubi Cafe (Honolulu)
This place specializes in spam musubi. However, its not worth the line or the wait. You can get amazing musubi at 7-11, and its hot and ready in warmers. The only benefit of Isayume is the variety. We had one with inari and another with pickled radish. We walked down to Waikiki and ate it there – welcome to Hawaii!
Sato Seafood (Honolulu)
Sato seafood specializes in Poke. The fish is fresh and of high quality. Most of the dishes are full of umami. We came here twice with the first experience better than the second. First time, we had the Hawaiian crunch. I would highly recommend this.
The second time we had the Korean (very good) and another one I don’t remember the name of (but it was tuna and was NOT very good, the flavors were too mild). The problem with the second visit was the containers had a weird musty smell to them. I’d still go back for the Hawaiian Crunch.
Young’s Kal Bee (Honolulu)
This is another hole in the wall place, and they have no indoor or outdoor seating so we ate in the car, but if you love Kalbi, its delicious. They are also generous with their portions including the delicious Korean side dishes and rice.
Leonard’s Bakery (food truck)
I have been to the physical bakery before and loved the malasadas. This time we tried the truck and it wasnt as good. However, on this trip, I did find a truck that DID serve really good Malasadas. See below. As for Leonard’s, stick to the store.
I wrote about Foodland before. Its a good place to go for a wide variety of poke.
Wilson Store (Kailua – Shave Ice)
This was the best shave ice we had on this trip. The syrups were not overly sweet and the ice was was fluffy not coarse.
Agnes’ Portugese Bake Shop (Kailua)
Near Wilson is the Agnes truck where they have amazing Malasadas. It took about 10 minutes from order to get them, but they were fluffy, fresh, hot and so good.
Laylow Hotel (Shave Ice – Honolulu)
This was complimentary at the hotel and was decent enough. You can’t beat free! The hotel also has a nice outdoor bar with live music in the evenings.
Green World Coffee Farm (Wahiawa)
This is a popular place to get coffee on your way to the North Shore. The coffee itself is just ok but what I liked about this place is the ability to drink the coffee in the coffee plantation. Add a nice breeze and you have yourself all the ingredients for an amazingly chill time.
Dole Plantation (Wahiawa)
We had two things here. One was mediocre and the other was not worth it. The first was elote with corn they grew on site. Elotes are one of my favorite things to eat, but this one was just ok. The corn also lacked sweetness.
Next we had what everyone come for – pineapple soft serve. For me, its too sweet and tasted artificial. Even the pineapple topping tasted like they added corn syrup to it. I would skip the Dole plantation.
Jenny’s Shrimp Truck (Haleiwa)
While everyone goes to Giovanni’s, and hence the long lines, you can get delicious garlic shrimp without the long wait at Jenny’s (or various other trucks in the area).
Kaimana Shave Ice (Haleiwa)
This was probably one of the worst shave ice of the trip. I found that ingredients did not go well together. I forgot the name of the one we ordered but the combination of flavors and textures was not what I am looking for in a shave ice. It was more like a milkshake with some ice in it and turned to soup quickly. I believe it was coconut, pineapple and macadamia ice cream. The only nice thing about this place is that you can eat the shave ice in the back by the water.
North Shore Tacos (Truck in Haliewa)
Here we tried the fish tacos and shrimp tacos. The shrimp tacos were just ok, a bit bland. The fish tacos were absolutely delicious. Fresh and very well seasoned. You get a side of tortilla chips but they give you a tiny portion of salsa, not enough for all the chips. I’d come back for the fish tacos.
Ted’s Bakery (Haleiwa)
Magnolia is a very well known Filipino company for its ice cream. If you have never had ube ice cream, do yourself a favor and find some. Its delicious. Anyway, we tried their shaved ice and it was not that great. The ice was too coarse. The syrups too sweet. The only good thing was the ube ice cream center. Next time I would probably stick to the halo halo, which is a Philippine dessert.
Many locals will tell you that the best musubi is at 7-11. I would tend to agree. They also have amazing manapua. These are Chinese buns (called sio pao) with various fillings. We had the char siu – bbq pork. It was SO delicious. The pork was very well seasoned and marinated. The bread was fluffy and not too dense. I highly highly recommend.
and there you have it, fast (not always), cheap and delicious (for the most part) on Oahu. Where are you excited to eat at?