Now onto lunch and afternoon snacks! As we all can agree, vacation is the one-time that calories don’t exist.
One can not discuss Hawaiian food without mentioning Helana’s. Helana Chock opened her doors in 1946. This local icon has been serving up the best in Hawaiian cuisine for over 64 years. In 2000, James Beard Foundation awarded Helena’s Hawaiian Food the Regional Classic Award. Not many on the islands can boast that accolade. It’s located on N. King St and it’s a bit outside of the hotel zone, you will need a car to get there. I might suggest Ubering as parking is a nightmare. Menu must item? Pipikaula Short ribs. I DREAM of these things.
Now, this one is a drive. Located in Waiahole. On your way up to the North Shore. This place is another Hawaiian gem and in my opinion the best Kalua Pig you will ever eat. The BEST. The Waiahole Poi Factory lives by the motto “Hanai ike ai hanai ike aloha”. Its essence is translated as “To nourish with food, to nourish with love.” Nothing could be truer. This place is as authentic as you can get. Oh, and their chicken long rice is incredible.
The battle of the shrimp trucks: With several options to choose from up in the North Shore, for the sake of time, I am only going to focus on two. Giovanni’s and Fumi’s. Both are located on the Kamehameha Hwy up in the North Shore. Giovanni’s’ can’t be missed in a food truck park. A bit further down you will find Fumi’s.
My fiance and I have an ongoing argument on which one is best. Fumi’s is his vote. Fumi’s has the shrimp farm literally right behind the hut. The shrimp are huge. They have plenty of parking, and picnic tables to sit and eat. The wait here is also much less than Giovanni’s. My one negative is, I wanted MORE garlic.
Where Fumi’s has more of a hut/restaurant, Giovanni’s is a true blue food truck. Giovanni’s has been around since 1953 in the form of many vehicles that traveled all throughout Oahu. In 1996 they decide to park it on Kamehameha and the rest is history. This shrimp truck brings a crowd. They offer a few different options. Hot and spicy, lemon butter, and MY favorite, scampi. The only downside is, sometimes after ordering you can wait as much as an hour before your name is called. BUT… GARLIC galore! I could always use more Garlic!
Poke is a Hawaiian staple. It’s roots date back to the times Polynesian tribes ruled the Hawaiian Isles. However, it didn’t really become popular until the 1970s. Whenever you ask a Hawaiian local “where do I go for the best poke?” you can get a wide variety of answers. But one that is ALWAYS on the list is Tamura’s. With several locations on multiple islands, you are never far from diving in. Tamura’s was started in 1995 by a father and son duo and has quickly become a local favorite. When every I head over to Lanikai Beach, my first stop is Tamara’s. Tucked in the back of a wine store you will find a case full of magic. They have so many varieties of Poke it will make your head spin. Get a poke bowl or, just buy it by the pound. You can’t go wrong.
Kono’s opened their doors in 2002, in Haleiwa in the North Shore. They quickly became a local favorite and opened two more spots. One in Waikiki and one in Kailua. This place is legit. They slow roast their pork for 12 hours and it shows. They also recently opened their first full-service restaurant called the Surfing Pig. Go to Kono’s for a quick yet, delicious bit or, The Surfing Pig for a fabulous date night.
Kono’s – $-$$
Surfing Pig – $$ – $$$
Man, oh, MAN. This place is AMAZING. Acai happens to be an OBSESSION of mine. I’m always on the hunt for the best of the best. AND SO, I give you Haleiwa Bowl! The “shack” as it’s referred to is right after the bridge headed into Haleiwa town off of the Kamehameha Hwy. Bowls, coffee, and smoothies there is something for everyone. My absolute fave is Hapa Bowl add pineapple. I dream of Haleiwa Bowls and you will too, once you get a taste.
There are a million places to eat in Oahu. These are my top picks for lunch or, quick tasty bites! No matter what beach you find yourself on, you are not that far from a tasty meal.