From Portuguese sweetbread to deep-fried octopus balls brought over from Japan, Hawaii’s culinary traditions and legacies are awash in the heritage of its immigrant history. Foodies looking for things to do in Oahu can delve into bowls of fresh poke (raw fish seasoned with seaweed, sesame seeds, and spring onions), snack on spam musubi, and sip locally brewed pints. Don’t miss the opportunity to throw on a lei at a luau; after all, you’re in Hawaii.
Small-Group Food Truck
Team up with Lanai Tabura, a longtime local and winner of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” to scout out Hawaii’s history through food. Cruise around town with Lanai, checking out historic buildings and chatting about the ways in which Hawaii has evolved in tandem with its outside influences. Swing by a poke shop sample freshly caught seafood, learn how to talk about food in Hawaiian pidgin, and then end your day at a roundup of food trucks to snack on bites of creamy macaroni salad, sticky rice, delicate morsels of pork wrapped in luau leaf, and crispy chicken katsu.
Local Eats Culinary Tour
Pop in and out of some of the best eateries in Honolulu as you team up with an experienced guide from Aloha Food Tours to sample the best bites in town. From bright purple Ube pancakes and refreshing bowls of shave ice to savory bites of Chinese oxtail soup and fresh-from-the-sea servings of ahi poke. Bite into Japanese deep-fried octopus balls, savor slice of marinated tuna, and get tips from your guide on other places to dine while you’re in town.
Best of Chinatown Food Tour
Despite its name, Honolulu’s Chinatown is a melting pot of all the island’s Asian influences. With a guide from Aloha Food Tours to help you navigate between hole-in-the-wall shops and restaurants, sample savory noodle soups, grab slices of Thai-style fried chicken, and bite down on the flaky bread of a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. Carve out the sweet fruit in a spiky rambutan, satisfy your sweet tooth with a caramel banana lumpia, courtesy of the Philippines, and then cap off your tasty tour with chilly servings of ice cream aswirl with chocolate.
Kaka’ako Farmers Market
Get a workout while you eat on an active biking tour with Paradise Pedals. With room for up to 15 passengers, this group-operated bike is the best way to get around town when you’re looking to find more room for tasty samples of Honolulu’s freshest fare.
Steer your pedal-powered contraption toward the Kaka’ako Farmers Market to check out produce packed stalls filled with exotic fruits and vegetables sure to pique your curiosity. Pass by stands of aromatic spices, sample handmade chocolate, and follow your nose to the smell of straight-from-the-roaster coffee, recharging at the end of your ride with an antioxidant-rich bowl of blended acai berries or a freshly blended smoothie.
For beer lovers, skip the farmer’s market and head straight Honolulu’s pubs by bike, tasting your way through the taps at bottle shops, tasting rooms, and innovative breweries using seasonal ingredients to create their own, uniquely Hawaiian pints.
No Hawaiian vacation would be complete with a luau, filled with hip-swaying hula dancers, death defying fire performers, and—of course—heaps of delicious food. Head to the Polynesian Cultural Center and turn your dinner into an immersive experience with the chance to explore seven different villages, highlighting the unique blend of culture Hawaii comes from.
Open coconuts with Samoans, spin poi with Maori, play drums with Tongans, and practice throwing Tahitian spears sure to work up your appetite and your curiosity. When you’re ready for dinner, watch as a whole roasted pig is unearthed pulled from an underground oven, and then follow the pile of kalua pork to the buffet line to fill your plate with Hawaiian fare before settling into your seat for a thrilling performance featuring over 120 performers.
What will be your first bite in the Land of Aloha?