Treat Your TastebudsO‘ahu

Foodies in the know oftentimes skip the lu‘au buffet tables in favor of the culturally diverse feast the islands have to offer, from fresh sushi and sashimi to tasty malasadas and cream puffs.

One of the most interesting gastronomical finds is the prevalence of Spam—Hawai‘i residents consume the most of this canned meat per capita in the United States. In fact, there’s a whole festival, The SPAM JAM, based on everything Spam.

If fresh fish and the sound of a PLATE LUNCH and POKE make your mouth water, visit NICO’S PIER 38 for the perfect lunch/dinner spot for a SEAFOOD meal at Nico’s indoor/ outdoor café—set on the fishing pier!

FURIKAKE is an Asian mix of sesame, seaweed and other salty goodness that you can sprinkle over just about anything to give dishes a kick.

ARARE rice crackers are the unofficial potato chip of Hawai‘i. Salty and sweet, they are the ultimate munchie for driving or hiking trips.

Sweet and airy, MALASADAS were introduced to Hawai‘i by the Portuguese in the late 1800s and today remain a treat beloved by all. These pastries resemble a hole-less donut and are typically coated in sugar. Some are even filled with cream or other tasty fillings. One of the best places on O‘ahu to pick up a dozen is LEONARD’S BAKERY (933 Kapahulu Ave.). Or swing by LILIHA BAKERY (515 N. Kuakini

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St.) for another delectable island creation—a chocolate-filled cream puff affectionately known as the “coco puff.”

And that POI thing that people tend to cringe at? It is a Hawaiian staple—taro root pounded to a pulp. Give it a few shots as a substitute for rice and you may never turn back. There’s even a local children’s book, Little Malia’s Big Poi Idea by Jocelyn Calma, in which a little girl decides all she wants to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner is poi.

If, like little Malia, you find yourself craving nothing but this purple treat, pick up taro rolls at a nearby supermarket, try taro frozen yogurt at a number of fro-yo shops, or indulge in the ultimate poi-experience: POI MOCHI. A variation of the Japanese rice-flour dessert, this local favorite can be found at a variety of locations around the island.

You’ll read more about SHAVE ICE, that quintessential and unique Hawaiian treat, a little later on, but keep your eye out for BUBBIES HOMEMADE ICE CREAM & DESSERTS. There are a few locations (Hawaii Kai, University) and even more places to find their delectable frozen mochi desserts that range in flavors from green tea to liliko‘i (passion fruit) or double chocolate. This specialty ice cream shop features gooey, softened rice over ice cream for a rather unique—and addicting—treat!

Nico’s Pier 38 (808) 540-1377