The Cuisine of Oahu
Discover the beauty of Oahu, an island composed of winding mountain trails and big waves in the golden beaches, This is where visitors get to swim alongside sea turtles. Also known as "The Gathering Place," it attracts travelers from around the world, as it showcases its unique culture, natural beauty, Aloha spirit, and delectable Hawaiian cuisine. If you are searching for good places to eat, there is a long list of Oahu restaurants available for you.
Oahu welcomes you to its numerous food establishments that offer homegrown recipes as well as some international cuisines. Guests are invited to eat like they're a native of Hawaii. You would want to have a true taste of Oahu, so be adventurous to try local dishes. Here are some:
Chicken Katsu - This is similar to the Japanese Tonkatsu. Instead of serving pork, it uses chicken cutlets. This dish can be ordered in local Oahu restaurants. Some restaurants also serve it as part of a mixed plate.
Chicken Long Rice - Often served in Oahu luaus, this local dish is made of cellophane noodles and chicken. But even if you're not invited to a party, you can order Chicken Long Rice in Hawaiian restaurants in Oahu.
Adobo - This is a dish that serves either chicken or pork, or mixes both. The meat is cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, and bayleaf. This original Filipino recipe has become a Hawaiian favorite because of its tasty flavors coming from the added spices.
Kalua Pig - Kalua pig is a crowd favorite in any luau. This pork dish is cooked slowly through smoke. It is cooked using a pit known as imu. Kalua pig is named as such because it follows that Hawaiian style of cooking called kalua.
Lau lau - This Hawaiian dish is cooked using taro leaves and salted butterfish. It can be mixed with either pork, chicken, or beef. These are wrapped in ti leaves, cooked using the imu that steams the dish until it's ready to be served as a plate lunch. It pairs well with rice or macaroni salad.
Poke - Poke is raw fish that's marinated, similar to the sashimi in Japan. The main difference is that sashimi comes in thin slices served with a dip or sauce, while Poke is sliced into cubes, marinated with soy sauce, onions, tomatoes, and chili. Poke may come in different flavors based on the seasonings and fish used to prepare the dish. It's a popular dish that can even be found in grocery stores.
Pipikaula - Pipikaula is like smoked beef, only that's its more tender. It's also juicier than the traditional beef jerky. It is usually served as part of Hawaiian food plates.
Haupia - Haupia is a known Hawaiian dessert that uses coconut milk as its base. It is likened to a pudding or the European dessert known as blancmange. It almost has the same texture as the gelatin. The original recipe uses the Polynesian arrow root, also known as "pia." Corn starch can be a substitute to pia. Haupia is cut into blocks and served in parties, weddings, and can be ordered in Hawaiian restaurants.
Poi - This is actually derived from the taro plant. Taro is pounded until it turns into a sticky paste. The real secret to a tasty poi is adding just the right amount of water to achieve the right consistency.
Malasada - This is a Portuguese-inspired dessert that's similar to a donut, except that it's softer. It can be deep fried or coated with sugar. This dessert is often served in parties or as breakfast. Its flavors include coconut, chocolate, custard, and even guava fillings.
Saimin - Saimin is a noodle soup that takes the goodness of the Japanese ramen, Filipino pancit, and Chinese mein in one dish. You'll often find green onions, kamaboko or steamed fish cake, spam, roast pork or gyoza, and Japanese dimsum as the additional ingredients to your bowl of saimin.
Fried Saimin - This is a dry noodle dish that's still tasty even if the noodles are fried. This is often served in local diners.
Lomi-Lomi Salmon - It is a cold and delicious side dish that uses fresh tomatoes, onions, and salmon salad as mix. This is a good accompaniment for your lau lau or Kalua pig.
Spam Musubi - This is fried spam, which is often marinated using shoyu and sugar. Rice is wrapped in dried seaweed, or nori. Spam is actually a local favorite.
Shave Ice - This is a popular treat not only for kids, but adults as well. Shave ice has different flavors such as cola, strawberry, banana, bubble gum, and vanilla. Aside from this, you must dare try Lilikoi or passion fruit, Haupia or coconut with Li hing mui. Li hing mui is the powder made from dried, salted plums. You can also add mochi balls, those sweet chewy dessert balls made from rice, or azuki beans, the sweet red beans, to your snow cone. You can ask for a scoop of ice cream or a mix of condensed milk as well.
Plate Lunch - This is a boxed lunch, which includes scoops of macaroni salad and rice with meat on top. This was first served during Hawaii’s plantation days when workers would sample each other’s meals, creating plate lunches with different kinds of food. Diners and restaurants in Oahu and the rest of Hawaii serve plate lunches.
Loco Moco - It is a very popular dish in Hawaii, which is served with hamburger, as well as rice and gravy topped with a fried egg. It comes in different servings and flavors, such as fish, spam, Portuguese sausage, and other meats as added flavors or mixes. This sumptuous meal has been around since the late 1940s.
As the Oahu locals say, the Hawaiian Islands is where different cultures from all over the world collide. Each has brought in a new flavor to Hawaiian dishes. The "local grinds" is the result of the fusion of different cultures. With all these, you can expect to find dishes in Oahu that are unique in its taste.
The rich and diversified culinary heritage of the island sometimes make it hard for travelers to explore various Oahu restaurants. It is normal for most tourists to have a difficult time figuring out where to eat while enjoying the many world-class beaches of Hawaii. Here's a list of the restaurants to help you decide where you should dine:
3960 On the Rise - This restaurant is best known for its Euro-Island cuisine. Just minutes away from Waikiki, 3960 On the Rise is found in Kaimuki district. Both tourists and locals are seen dining here.
Aaron's - The menu at Aaron's include fresh Hawaiian seafood, live Maine lobster, steaks, lamb, veal, chicken, pork, and pasta. Entertainment here comes in the form of live music and dancing. You can enjoy your stay here because of the amazing views from every table that will make dining in this Oahu restaurant truly a pleasure.
Alan Wong's Restaurant - Alan Wong is one of the 12 legendary chefs who founded the Hawaii Regional Cuisine to showcase the islands' natural flavors and homegrown ingredients. Alan Wong's Restaurant is known for its authentic Hawaiian recipes and delectable cuisines.
Bali By the Sea - Bali By the Sea offers an overlooking view of the Waikiki Beach for oceanside dining experience. It serves classic cuisines with island flavors. Among its specialties are Euro-Asian cuisines.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company - Dining here is best described as casual and at the same time exciting. Aside from serving good food such as the Dixie-style baby back ribs, this Oahu restaurant also made a good name among locals and tourists because of its customer service.
Capricciosa - This resto is popular for its Southern Trattoria-style cuisine. Unlike other restaurants, it offers generous portions that won't necessarily empty your wallet. It's good to know that the restaurant sports a festive ambiance and has reasonably priced meals.
Chuck's Steakhouse - This is an oceanfront restaurant that's known for its delicious steaks as well as fresh seafood and the salad bar. It has been around since 1959 in Waikiki.
Diamond Head Grill - This grill offers New American cuisine. It offers good service and lively dining room to enjoy good-tasting food.
Golden Dragon - Golden Dragon specializes in Cantonese and Szechwan dishes. It offers an Oriental dining experience that's made more exciting because of the overlooking view of the Hilton Lagoon.
Hard Rock Cafe Oahu - Other than good food, you'll get excited with the rock 'n roll vibes of this restaurant. You're sure to find rock 'n roll memorabilia here and other cool merchandise. It also hosts special events and offer catering services.
Hau Tree Bar - This is a beach bar that serves island drinks and tasty snacks.
Indigo Eurasian Cuisine Restaurant - Chef Glenn Chu specializes in Eurasian cuisine that is served in this resto. It has an inviting atmosphere that's perfect for dining with friends or family. It also hosts late night dancing.
Matteo's Italian Restaurant - This resto is Voted as a popular restaurant in Hawaii for more than 10 years by Honolulu Magazine readers. It also won the "Best Award of Excellence" by Wine Spectator magazine. With these, you can expect good food topped with good service from the staff.
With these delectable cuisines and long list of restaurants in Oahu, don't wait too long before you go visit the island. Explore its hidden waterfalls, beautiful beaches, volcanic craters, and tropical rainforest. But don't forget to sample its mouth-watering array of dishes.