Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, USA is a place bustling with beaches, lagoons, nature preserves, historical heritage, and most importantly, the delectable cuisine intersecting Japanese, American, and Polynesian culture. The Hawaiians adopted a fusion style in cuisine as the migrating Chinese, Portuguese, Puerto Ricans, and Japanese, along with Indigenous European and Americans, which had their influences together. While the entire list may be exhaustive, let's say "Aloha" to the food dishes that one should not miss on their visit to Honolulu.



One of the most common local seafood dishes in Hawaii, which literally means "chunk" in their local language. It is a raw seafood salad expanded with an array of versions having main ingredients from either tuna, octopus, sushi, or sashimi-grade fish garnished with red onion, scallion, candlenuts, different varieties of seaweed, and toasted macadamia. One of their traditional dressing styles involves soy sauce, sesame oil, tobanjan, a Japanese condiment having spicy essence and made from chile and broad beans, jalapenos, peppers. A dash of variation can be added with avocado, mushrooms, teriyaki, sriracha and ponzu sauce, pineapple, cilantro, cucumber, and pickled jalapenos. Primarily, "Poke" is served either as an appetizer or as a main course in Hawaiian cuisine.

Its similarity can be traced with "kinilaw", a native dish of the Philippines which is usually raw and diced fish marinated with citrus juice, sour fruits, vinegar, and at times, coconut milk, European dishes such as " Fish Carpaccio" and "Fish Tartare" and Japanese dish such as "Sashimi".

Best Places To Eat

Fresh Catch

Having a robust menu, this restaurant is owned by a famous chef, Reno Henriques. Ahi Limu Poke & Spicy Ahi Poke are quite the favorite of people.

Kahiau Poke & Provisions

They have an array of poke ranging from Cold Ginger Poke, Spicy Ahi, Kahiau Special with local limit seaweeds and onions, Inari Sushi filled with spicy tuna poke.

Ono Seafood

Prominent for its Japanese-style soy sauce, Shoyu, people flock over here to choose from nine different varieties of poke. Shoyu Ahi, Miso Ahi, Spicy Tako are a few.

Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls is a native dish of Central and South America. Haven't you seen Instagram filled with those colorful acai bowls posed in front of azure blue beaches? They are nothing but a bowl of acai berries, fruits such as strawberries, bananas, guavas, mangoes, passion fruit, soy milk, granola, and honey. Acai tastes like a combination of wild berries and chocolate and this superfood is quite rich in antioxidants.

Best Places to Eat

Haleiwa Bowls

Nestled in In Haleiwa Town on Oahu's North Shore, it is a small roadside shack offering the best acai bowls using organic products.

Lanikai Juice

Since 1977, Lanikai Juice has been prominent not only for its variations of acai bowls but also for smoothies, pitaya, and green bowls.


With their two outlets such as Diamond Head Truck & UH Manao, they are the pioneer to serve dairy-free Acai soft serve.

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One of the authentic dishes of Hawaii is "Poi", a thick paste made from taro root (a vegetable similar to a potato or yam), breadfruit, or plantain which is later baked or pounded. It is deemed to have originated from the Marquesas Islands, a group of Islands in French Polynesia, and later paved its way in Hawaiian culture. The taste of Poi is a combination of sweet and sour tang. A freshly made Poi is sweet and later starts fermenting.

The process of Poi making involves steaming or baking the taro, also called Kalo in Hawaii. One needs to clean it thoroughly to avoid itchy throat and later it mashed on a wood board called Papa Ku'i Ai. The pounded taro is Pa 'i 'ai and when more water is added, it turns to Poi. The process is quite intensive and is made by locals solely.

Best Places To Eat

Waiahole Poi Factory

Located on the Windward side of the island in Kaneohe, Waiahole Poi Factory is a perfect hub for experimenting with authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

Helena's Hawaiian Food

Since 1946, this outlet based on North King St. in Honolulu Hawaii has been serving authentic Hawaiian food. Be it Poi, Kalua Pig, Pipikaula Shortribs and so much more.

Aloha Poi Factory

Located on Maui island, this place delves into variations of Poi which are not only healthy but also exceedingly fresh.


A real treat of Hawaiian culture is incomplete with Laulau. It is a dish made of pork and butterfish wrapped in lu'au and ti leaves. Served alongside rice or Poi, they consider it as their soul food. Laulau literally translates to Leaf and here the leaf of the taro plant is used. Also, chunks of pork with pieces of salted fish and sweet potato are wrapped in taro leaves and steamed in an underground imu. An imu is typically like an oven where a large pit is dug in the ground and layers of rocks are over it. The wet banana leaves form the first layer

over these rocks, the second layer of lau packets, and again a cover of banana leaves. Gradually, the underground oven was replaced by modern technology.

Best Places To Eat

Oahu's Grill

Located on 1137 11th Avenue, Honolulu, this place beckons to serve one of the best Laulaus.

Ka'aloa's Super J's

Famous for their laulau- pork or chicken wrapped in a taro leaf, this plate also involves rice and macaroni salad.


As Hawaiian culture has Japanese influence, Katsu is a chicken dish influenced by them itself. Having chicken cutlets doused in beaten egg, coated in panko, or crumbs with flaky texture in Japanese cuisine and later everything is deep-fried. Another popular version of Katsu involves pork cutlets known as tonkatsu in Honolulu.

Best Places To Eat

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin

Located on 255 beach walk, Honolulu, this place serves the most popular Loco Moco Katsu and Pork Katsu

Tonkatsu Tamafuji

Situated On 449 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, this place provides a delectable food experience especially with their katsu range

Rokkaku Hamakatsu

Authentic Japanese restaurant in Honolulu specializes in serving katsu, grilled meats, and kamameshi (traditional Japanese rice), it's a high-end modern, Kyoto-style Japanese food outlet.

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Kona coffee

Cultivated on the slopes of Mauna, Loa, and Hualalai, Kona coffee is one of the signature drinks of Hawaii. Its uniqueness is distinguished by the microclimate of the island & the slopes are volcano prone. Thus, the porous and mineral-rich soil, its intricate process makes it one of the most renowned and expensive coffees. Pertaining to its taste, it is light, sweet, and fruity with hints of spices and nuts. The other coffees ranking after Kona are Ka'u, Puna, and Hamakua.

Best Places To Drink

Hawaiian Aroma Caffe

On 1777 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, it serves refreshing Kona coffee and fresh acai bowls

Kona Coffee Purveyors

Raymond Suiter, the founder of Kona Coffee has invented an array of variations in their Kona Coffee making it a prominent brand.

Loco Moco

Hailing back to 1949 in the town of Hilo, Loco Moco was first created as a replacement for sandwiches. Loco Moco is nothing but a traditional Hawaiian meal consisting of white rice, hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy. After this succeeded an array of variations including bacon, ham, tofu, kalua pork, teriyaki beef or chicken, shrimp, oysters, mahi-mahi i.e a dolphin fish. It gained popularity on many travel shows.

Best Places To Eat

Loco Moco Drive Inn

A small counter serving Spam Musubi, Loco Moco, and authentic Hawaiian dishes is located at 930 Valkenburgh, Honolulu.

Hula Grill Waikiki

A relaxed beachside food outlet serving loco moco, pupu, fish tacos & tropical drinks primarily.


If you are familiar with the Chinese delicacy, " Bau", then Manapua in Honolulu has been inspired by this Cantonese dish with its roots in China. The Chinese immigrants hired for sugarcane and pineapple plantations

Basically, a steamed bun with savory pork and sauces inside, the variations of Manapua involve different types of meat cooked in oyster sauce, sesame oil, and also sometimes sugar for a sweet combined with savory flavor. The bun of Manipua is quite dense due to yeast while the pork is cooked quite slowly for a unique taste.

Manapua is a conjured version of words: Mea 'ono pua'a which symbolizes delicious pork and got tweaked later in Manapua.

Best Places To Eat

Island Manapua Factory

A basic Chinese restaurant with Hawaiian influence serving Manapuas, dim sum dishes, Roast Duck Bao, Pork Hash and so much more.

Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery

Prominent for steamed Char Siu & golden baked manapua, it also serves amazing shrimp dumplings, pork hash and wheat baked pastries.

Spam Musubi

As Hawaii comprises of the ethnic Japanese population, the food dish "Onigiri" turned all the rage here. Made from white rice and wrapped in "Nori", a dried edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine, this is a staple of Japanese cuisine. Later, "Spam" a brand of canned cooked pork doused in light teriyaki sauce is pressed against this rice wrapped in nori with the tartness of pineapple. The taste is sweet, salty, and also a tad bit sticky. The spam is grilled till it attains a crispy texture and is caramelized with soy sauce and sugar. It is pretty much found everywhere in Hawaii.

Best Places To Eat

Mana Bu's

This place has almost 35 varieties of Spam Musubi which we can freak over. Also, it is significant for its Uber popular handmade snacks.

Musubi Cafe Iyasume

At 1518 Makaloa, this place has super-premium Musubis with varied combinations like shiso herb, bacon, avocado, and Spam.

10) Malasadas

Basically, a Portuguese confection rising to fame in Hawaii, Malasadas are fried donuts sans hole. Malasada can be distinguished from other donuts pertaining to the type of dough used and evaporated milk. Its dough has much egginess and evaporated milk. Few malasadas are plain but few are filled with haupia (coconut), lilikoi (passion fruit), guava, pineapple, macadamia, vanilla, or chocolate. Rich with eggs, butter, and milk, they are deep-fried donuts of Hawaiian island.

Best Places To Eat

Leonard's Bakery

Since 1952, this place provides delightful Malasada Puffs and is located at 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu

Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery

Known for its housemade ice cream, it offers scrumptious Malasadas and is located at 3632 Waialae Ave, Honolulu.

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