Hawaii Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Island Naturals Market & Deli
1221 Kilauea Avenue, Hilo
This local grocery has the most comprehensive selection of healthy eats on the island. It also conveniently has multiple locations: in Hilo and Pahoa on the east side of the island, and Kailua-Kona on the west, plus a kiosk at the University of Hawaii. The stores are a nice option if your hotel suite/Airbnb is equipped with a kitchen, and you’re looking to eat/entertain there for a meal or two. Each Island Naturals Market & Deli store sells an array of organic groceries (including many gluten-free and vegan-friendly products) from shelved goods like pastas and sauces, to fruits and veggies from nearby farms, line-caught fish, and grass-fed beef. You can also stock up on breakfast items and organic wine and beer here. If you’re not interested in doing any cooking, the deli has easy already-made meals, or you can order custom sandwiches, smoothies, and juices, or grab a treat and Kona coffee from the in-house bakery.
Kailua Farmer’s Market
108 Hekili St., Kailua
The sheer variety of tropical fruits and vegetables grown in Hawaii makes their farmers markets incredibly special. The Kailua Farmer’s market is always filled with locals buying their produce for the week, picking through mangoes, kiwis, and several varieties of banana (we’ve heard that the apple bananas and ice cream bananas are particularly great). Make sure to stop by the Nalo Farms table to pick up some “Nalo greens,” a mix of salad and microgreens that are famous in the area—then look out for them as menu items in Honolulu.
Maguro Brothers
1039 Kekaulike St., Honolulu
Chinatown’s Kekaulike market can be a bit grimy, but don’t let that deter you from seeking out Maguro Brothers, a sparkling clean stall in the back row that serves some of the city’s freshest fish. Brothers Junichiro and Ryojiro Tsuchiya were fishmongers in Japan, and here on Oahu, they’re at the market every morning picking out the best catches. Their stall serves poké, sashimi, and surprisingly great ramen, plus lots of fresh fish for home-cooked dishes. The must-orders are the spicy ahi tuna bowl and the maguro donburi, auction fish laid over nori, ginger, and rice.
66-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Hale'iwa
Surfing burns an awful lot of energy, so it’s not surprising that the North Shore is equipped with a few hearty breakfast spots. After a long morning in the ocean, locals go to Kono’s for breakfast burritos, pulled pork, and seriously good milkshakes. Not surprisingly, the pulled pork breakfast burrito, which combines all of their best dishes, is the must-order menu item (though brave souls should also try their Spam breakfast burrito—it's the equivalent of trying Vegemite in Australia).
Maui Brewing Co. Brewpub
4405 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina
Indulging in a cold one after hitting the waves is a pretty significant part of Hawaii’s surf culture. Maui Brewing Co.’s pub offshoot has a dozen or so locally brewed varieties on draft (some from its own brewery in Kihei, where you can also get your hands on Maui Cookie Lady cookies) supplemented by international brews, and a gastropub-style menu of shareable dishes like flatbreads, salads, sliders, and truffle oil-spiked "adult" mac and cheese. Keep in mind that you’re going for the booze, not the ambiance, which here skews a little sports-bar with multiple flat screens and lots of noise.
Maui Coffee Roasters
44 Hana Hwy., Kahului
While the strip mall storefront doesn’t look like much, this local favorite is in the business of serving the best of Hawaii’s locally grown coffee. Unlike the rest of the U.S., Hawaii is uniquely hospitable to coffee farming, with each island producing countless delicious varieties. The café, in addition to brewing the perfect lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos, has a small but mighty menu of breakfast and lunch basics with a local twist (ask for a toasted bagel slathered in guava butter). We like stopping by on our way to the airport to pick up fresh-roasted souvenirs for friends back home.
Puka Dog
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr., Koloa
So much better than your typical (open-faced) ballgame dog, Puka Dog serves their variation in their own Hawaiian sweet bread, which they toast on custom skewers. Rather than slicing the bread open, Puka serves their Polish sausages and veggie dogs—along with your choice of garlic lemon secret sauce, Hawaiian fruit relish, and mustard sauce—fully enclosed in the roll, which makes them surprisingly easier to eat. All that said, this meal is best followed by an afternoon nap at the beach, as opposed to say, a hike.
You may also like