food / travel

hawaii food diary

When it comes to Hawaii, most people conjure up images of palm trees, poolside cocktails and lazy days spent on the sand. And while you’ll definitely come across those things, I was more excited about the food when I found out I’d be visiting! I wasn’t disappointed by what I found, either. Unfortunately my phone had a mishap earlier this year, so while I managed to save the device my photos couldn’t be salvaged… along with a whole lot of travel memories stored on there. But it’s okay, since I also happen to post on Instagram like a crazy woman. So without further adieu, here’s are some Instagram highlights of what I ate:


Hawaii is amazingly diverse. Among the coexisting cultures there’s a strong Filipino population, and I had the chance to try halo halo from Magnolia, an ice cream chain originally from the Philippines. WOW. I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to try it, but it’s incredible. Different textures of shaved ice, jelly, creamy ube ice cream and rice bubbles make this dessert super fun to eat, and also super addictive. We stopped by Hawaii’s Chinatown too, where we picked up shakes filled with pearls, or boba as they call it in the States. I could really go for one right now, actually…


Dole Plantation is a must-visit! While it may be a bit out of the city centre, I’d say the drive through acres of plantation crops is worth it. After a hard day’s work navigating our way through the pineapple maze, obviously we had to try out some world-famous dole whip! I opted for a cup of soft serve topped with the juiciest pineapple I’d ever eaten. It’s also available in a cone and as an ice cream float.


Leonard’s Bakery has been raved about since the beginning of time, and it’s not hard to see why. Famous for their malasadas, or Portugese donuts, they have an original store as well as a truck in Waikele Premium Outlets. I swear, after you have this no other donut will ever compare. Piping hot and fluffy, you can either get them dusted with cinnamon or filled with chocolate, coconut, or custard cream. In any case, they didn’t last very long in the box!


It just wouldn’t be a trip of mine unless I ate all the ice cream flavours. On my cousin’s recommendation we tried out Via Gelato, and it was to die for. The flavours may be limited, but that didn’t seem to deter the late night crowds we encountered. I had chocolate and roasted almond, which I’d never heard of before but I instantly fell in love. And of course, I couldn’t leave without trying Bubbies mochi ice cream! It was so good I ended up having it twice. While there’s a dedicated store, you can also pick it up at Foodland in Ala Moana Center. Strawberry, mango, mint chocolate, coffee, peanut butter… you name it, they probably have the flavour. I wish I could take it home with me somehow!


You didn’t think I’d do a food post about Hawaii without including shaved ice, did you? The first one was pretty good. We picked it up at Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, which is on for a few days every week. But it was nothing compared to the second one! It was incredible, like eating snow freshly fallen from the sky itself. The place, Waiola Shave ice even does Japanese flavours and shaved ice with a scoop of ice cream in the middle. Is that a genius idea, or what?


As usual I seem to have favoured sweets this time around, but I did try poke in Hawaii! Unlike its Sydney counterpart, authentic ahi poke bowls are made with tuna and are super simple – just your choice of poke on plain rice. There are sooo many varieties though, like ones seasoned with soy sauce, mayo, wasabi and more. You really can’t go wrong with something so fresh and tasty. My uncle claims this place, Ono Seafood is the best in all of Hawaii, so I’ll take his word for it since he’s a local.  In all honesty though, I thought the one from the supermarket wasn’t too shabby either!

There are sooo many other delicious things I ate but didn’t include, like Korean BBQ (of all things), Hawaiian pork buns and Michelin-starred ramen. Most of these discoveries were actually based on my cousin’s recommendations, so without them we would’ve been clueless! Distance from loved ones sucks, but it makes trips like these all the more special. On the plus side, I can’t wait til it’s our turn to show them around Sydney when the time comes. Until next time!