1. Eat poke from Da Poke Shack.
Poke, a raw fish salad, usually consists of cubed ahi (yellowfin tuna) marinated with sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, limu seaweed and chili powder. The delicious dish is currently taking over the mainland, but Hawaii - and Da Poke Shack in particular - obviously still does it best. This seaside eatery nestled in a condominium complex is known for their takeout poke, as well as local specialties and salads - and was once considered the best restaurant in America, according to Yelp.
76-6246 Ali'i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
2. An acai bowl from Haleiwa Bowls is the perfect breakfast.
There is nothing quite like an acai bowl full of acai berries, fresh fruit, granola or oatmeal and a drizzle of honey, after a sunrise hike. While you’ll find delicious acai bowls across the islands, our favorite comes from Haleiwa Bowls, a small, charming hut on Oahu's north shore that serves up the best acai bowls and smoothies around.
66-030 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
3. Haupia pie from Ted’s Bakery is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Haupia, a traditional coconut milk based Hawaiian dessert, is in the pudding family, and most often used to create a delicious chocolate haupia pie. And no one does haupia pie better than Ted’s Bakery, an absolute must-stop while on the North Shore. Locals will even make the trek just for a slice of pie, and maybe the stellar beaches on the north side of the island.
59-024 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
4. The best Hawaiian plate lunches are served at Rainbow Drive In.
This Honolulu classic is one of Obama's favorite places to visit when he's in town, and for good reason. Rainbow Drive-In is famous for its scrumptious plate lunches, complete with rice, mac salad and your choice of meat, as well as their mouth-watering loco moco plate.
3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
5. The manapua served at Char Hung Sut will make your mouth water.
Manapua translates to "delicious pork thing" in Hawaiian, and that is exactly what it is: diced pork filling inside a steamed white bun. You can substitute other meats, or even bean paste if you would like. This Honolulu eatery may be criticised for their high bread to meat ratio, but it’s the highest rated manapua spot on Yelp.
64 N Pauahi St, Honolulu, HI 96817
6. The coco puffs from Liliha Bakery are to-die-for.
If you’ve never had a famous coco puff from Honolulu’s famous Liliha Bakery, you’re totally missing out. The exact recipe is a highly guarded secret, though you can find imitations online. A full-service bakery, coffee shop and diner located in Honolulu, Liliha Bakery has been a community staple since its doors were opened in 1950. In addition to their famous coco puffs, the cafe serves up traditional Hawaiian breakfast favorites and diner classics 24/7.
515 N Kuakini St, Honolulu, HI 96817
7. The Loco Moco is said to have been created at Hilo’s Cafe 100.
The loco moco: A beef patty nestled into a bed of rice with a fried over-easy egg balanced on top, with a smothering of brown gravy bringing everything together. While many people have claimed to have invented the loco moco, local legend says that it is either Lincoln Grill or Café 100 that created the perfect dish. Though Lincoln grill is no longer around, Café 100 is still serving up their signature dish, with chicken, fish, vegetables, sausage, or the traditional hamburger patty.
969 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
8. Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery are absolutely heavenly.
Malasadas – Portuguese donuts without a hole - are wildly popular in Hawaii, and nowhere does them better than Leonard’s Bakery. A crispy golden brown exterior gives way to a soft and chewy inside in flavors like cinnamon sugar – some malasadas are even filled with custard or haupia, and there is a malasada flavor of the month.
933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
9. You can’t beat the shave ice from Matsumoto’s.
Ah, Shave Ice: the quintessential Hawaiian treat, the perfect snack for a quick sugar rush after a day spent in the ocean. Is there really any better dessert on a hot Hawaiian afternoon? If it comes from Matsumoto’s Shave Ice and you add condensed milk and ice cream, no way. Located in the historic surfing town of Haleiwa, on Oahu’s North Shore, is this famous shop. On a hot summer day, the store produces more than 1,000 shave ices in a day!
66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712
10. You must order saimin from Palace Saimin.
This wildly popular noodle soup dish is inspired by Japanese ramen, Filipino pancit, and Chinese mein. It was developed by immigrants during Hawaii's plantation era, and has become a staple of Hawaiian cuisine ever since. You won’t be disappointed if you order the classic dish from Palace Saimin, a Honolulu hole in the wall.
1256 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817
11. Spam Musubi from Musubi Cafe Iyasume is pretty delicious.
More Spam is sold in Hawaii than the rest of America, so it makes sense that the islands have combined Spam and sushi to create spam musubi. This small eatery serves up some of the best musubi in Honolulu, with mouth-watering flavor combinations like bacon, egg + avocado. Best of all, you can either wait for your made-to-order musubi, or pick of pre-made combinations if you're in a hurry.
2427 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815