The mouth-watering local delicacies that you get in Hawaii have a long, rich history. The reason for the immense diversity in Hawaiian culinary is accredited to different groups of people from different countries that came to settle down on this island. The local food in Hawaii is basically a combination of foods from a variety of cultures such as American, Chinese, Polynesian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. that migrated to the island.
Poi is made from the root of ‘taro,’ which is a Polynesian root plant. The Marquesans introduced breadfruit to the island whereas the Tahitians brought banana bed. There are many other instances in which immigrants introduced some delectable ingredients and dishes to revolutionize the Hawaiian cuisine.
From delicious traditional plate lunches to scrumptious loco mocos, and how can we even forget about poi, lau lau, and kalua pork? The Hawaiian Islands offer a truly unique range of delightful foods that are as unique as the islands themselves.
Although the Hawaiian Islands are generally small when you consider them in terms of size, but the feel huge when you account for the numerous restaurant options scattered around them. Whether you are visiting Hawaii for the first time or you’ve lived on the Hawaiian Islands your entire life, you should definitely try out these places to get local Hawaiian food.
Helena’s Hawaiian Food, Honolulu
Located on North King St. in Honolulu, Helena’s Hawaiian Food has served people for over 64 years, making it one of the oldest Hawaiian restaurants. This humble eatery is extremely popular amongst locals and tourists due to their secret family recipes to cook delicious Hawaiian foods. If you ever get the chance to visit this restaurant, make sure to order their “Menu D.” This tasting menu includes some delectable Hawaiian foods such as lomi salmon, kalua port, luau squid, and dried beef short ribs, and the haupia dessert is perfect to top it all off!
Pono Market, Kapaa
The Pono Market has been around in Kapaa since 1968. This restaurant has been owned and operated by a single family since the past 53 years. Pono Market is quite popular among people because of its massive variety of seafood plate lunches. In addition to this, they also offer poke, sushi, manju, and musubi. The lau lua over is a must-try, but is unfortunately, only available for a few specified hours.
808 Grindz Café, Lahaina
The 808 Grindz Café located in Lahaina has a massive variety of Hawaiian foods for you to choose from. You can get everything from local friend rice to loco moco, and even simple breakfast items and juicy steaks. This café is truly a local favorite!
Da Poke Shack, Kailua-Kona
You cannot ever make a list of the places where you can get the best Hawaiian foods without including Da Poke Shack. With quite the high-rating on TripAdvisor and Yelp, this eatery is one of top-rated seafood joints in America. One great thing about this restaurant is that it isn’t located in any of the touristy areas; it is nestled peacefully in a condo complex. You can get all sorts of special local dishes and salads over here, but their takeout poke is probably the most popular food item on their menu.
Ono Seafood, Honolulu
According to popular option, Ono Seafood offers the best poke in Honolulu. They not only offer fresh seafood, but even their poke is made-to-order. Ono seafood serves the best Hawaiian food that include huge portions of the lau lau. However, this joint is rather small and only accepts cash payments – but is definitely worth the hype.
Mark’s Place, Kauai
Located on the Island of Kauai, Mark’s Place is a local restaurant that you need to try out! Not only do they have a very fast service, but everything on their menu is affordable. Mark’s place has an extensive menu offering various items ranging from bento boxes to salads and even lunch plates. Moreover, this eatery has an evolving menu that offers different food combinations every day.
Mama’s Fish House, Paia
With over 3000 reviews and 4.5 stars on Yelp, Mama’s Fish House is a very popular restaurant located in Paia. Not only does this eatery have some really fresh and delicious seafood items on their menu, but it also overlooks the picturesque ocean, providing its visitors with a great overall experience.
Rainbow Drive-In, Oahu
The Rainbow Drive-In is probably one of the most classic eateries on the island of Oahu. This fabulous place is popular for its mouthwatering plate lunches that include some rice and mac salad with your choice of meat. Moreover, the Rainbow Drive-In also has loco moco on their menu.
Koloa Fish Market, Koloa
If you’re searching for the best American and Hawaiian plate lunches, you should head to the Koloa Fish Market in Koloa. This is a counter-service eatery that is owned and operated by a family. Since you can’t sit and eat over here, you should head to a nearby beach and enjoy your meal with an ocean view.
Coconut’s Fish Café, Kihei
The Coconut’s Fish Café is a small seafood joint located in Kihei. This small eatery offers sandwiches and pasta, but its Hawaiian specialties are the plate lunches and fish tacos. Alongside having a reasonably-priced menu, this café also has a rather pleasant and family-friendly atmosphere.
Kaaloa’s Super J’s, Captain Cook
If you’re in Captain Cook, the Kaaloa Super J’s is as local as you can get. With a very casual atmosphere, this small eatery offers the most scrumptious and authentic Hawaiian food.
Ulu Ocean Grill & Seafood Lounge, Kailua-Kona
Located at the Four Seasons Resort in Hualalai near Kailua-Kona, the Ulu Ocean Grill & Seafood Lounge is definitely a must-try! Since it’s located right beside the sea, it has some stunning views to offer. Moreover, this restaurant has a highly-skilled culinary team that makes some delicious local cuisine by combining it with artisanal, seasonal, and regional philosophy.
If you visit Hawaii, don’t forget to check out these places to get local Hawaiian food.