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5 Reasons You Need to Get a Taste of Oahu’s Food Scene

This island may be known for its beaches, but its culinary scene is worth getting a taste of

'Only good vibes' on an exposed brick wall in a restaurant in Oahu, with tables set to serve

Oahu’s food culture is erupting with flavour that draws inspiration from Vietnam, Japan, Polynesia and the mainland United States. Where should you dig in? We found out.  

For a taste of celebrity chef finesse, try Herringbone

Brian Malarkey parlayed his finalist placing in the TV show Top Chef into a charming restaurant named Herringbone. This spot is worth seeking out for the design alone, which features a vertical garden and chandeliers made from repurposed boats once used for harvesting rice.

Whole-fish ceviche served on a plate, garnished with a lemon wheel with chopsticks on the side

Don’t miss: The whole-fish ceviche served with head and tail is a delicious starter for two. For an entree, try the locally sourced Pono pork chop.

For an upscale twist on an American classic, try Hank’s Haute Dogs

After being awarded five Mobil stars for his fine-dining restaurant Trio, chef Hank Adaniya turned his hand to the humble hot dog. Hank’s Haute Dogs does all the classic dogs to perfection, but the gourmet versions—with rabbit, boar and buffalo sausages—make this Honolulu diner really stand out.

Hank's Haute Dog dressed with ginger glaze and garnished with seaweed and sesame seeds 

Don’t miss: For the hautest of dogs, order the wagyu beef sausage with ginger glaze, served with sesame slaw and a side of truffle-cheese fries. 

For an innovative take on Pacific Rim cuisine, try Hideout

The Laylow hotel’s rooftop restaurant overlooking Kuhio Avenue is the perfect blend of mid-century sleekness and Hawaiian kitsch. The elegant cane furniture and nougat-coloured bar are lit with tiki torches. There’s even a conversation pit with real sand. The pan-Asian fusion menu makes this one of the hottest tables in Waikiki, and the live music is the cherry on top.

Bowl of coocnut curry seafood stew made with prawns and lined with mussels 

Don’t miss: The coconut curry seafood stew made with prawns from the neighbouring island of Kauai is a fragrant combination that jibes perfectly with Hideout’s multicultural menu. 

For an Instagram-worthy meal, try The Pig and the Lady

Honolulu’s Chinatown is one of Oahu’s hottest dining destinations, thanks in part to this popular restaurant. Ceramic pigs decorate the bar, and the cocktail menu features libations with witty palindromic names like Redivider and Mega Gem that are as delicious as they are amusing. For such a highly regarded eatery, The Pig and the Lady is surprisingly down-to-earth—there’s a takeout menu, and the owners also run a farmers’ market stall in several locations across Oahu.

Bowl of soup with meat, egg and greens with a pair of chopsticks sticking out 

Don’t miss: The elegant presentation of the papaya salad is deceptively simple, but the lashings of fresh chili means this dish really packs a punch. Don’t go past the duck egg pho, a brothy noodle soup of sliced duck topped with an egg yolk.

For a global dining experience, try The Street, International Marketplace

This cheap and cheery hawker-style food hall was established by renowned chef Michael Mina. With 13 eateries surrounding a central dining hall, serving everything from gourmet burgers with sweet Maui onions to ramen noodles and elaborate tiki drinks, The Street is ideal for a quick, tasty bite or a large group.

Beautiful shot of The Street, International Marketplace at night with threes, pathways and buildings held high by wooden pillars 

Don’t miss: Head to Little Lafa’s for the roasted cauliflower and eggplant, served with halloumi cheese, shaved radishes, hummus and za’atar herbs. Also, don’t miss the Splintered Paddle at The Myna Bird, a delicious combination of rum, cardamom, guava, applejack, lime and tonic.

Excited about Oahu?

Read about how to experience the best of this beautiful island, from surfing to museums and scenic drives to nature walks, in the spring 2018 issue of CAA Magazine.

Image credit: Adam McCulloch and Hank's Haute Dogs