Food trucks are a culinary phenomena that have been sweeping the country over the last few years. Just as they have gained popularity through the continental US, food trucks have become a staple in Hawaii. Serving as casual eateries, these mobile restaurants are a great way to enjoy real island flavors without breaking the bank.
During your stay in Oahu, try to find a balance between the roving fare of food trucks and the upscale waterfront restaurants so that you can experience all aspects of excellent Hawaiian cuisine and the savory influenza of Hawaii's Asian neighbors. Food trucks are a particularly great lunchtime option, and they are generally parked in central locations. Some of the best to sample from include:
1. Haili's Hawaiian Foods: Haili's Hawaiian Foods is a very local Hawaiian food truck that first got its start as a catering business for Oahu luaus. Located under a hala tree near Ward Theater, this truck is open during lunch hours on weekdays. Feature dishes include pork and chicken laulau, lomi salmon, and other seafood dishes.
2. Elena's Restaurant: Elena's Restaurant includes a range of dishes inspired by Head Chef Elena's Filipino heritage. Elena's location rotates among key destinations, including the airport, Ko Olina, and Waipio, and exact details are available on the website. Some favorite dishes include the pork adobo fried rice omelet and sari-sari.
3. Opal Thai: Opal Thai, originally a mobile food truck, is now a casual, stand alone restaurant. However, it provides an exceptional experience as each dish is customized by the chef according to your own food preferences and tastes. Its low key atmosphere has managed to reserve the food truck environment.
4. Leonard's Malasadas: The Portuguese inspired flavors of Leonard's malasadas will make your mouth water. Originally established as a bakery, Leonard took his business to the streets with a red and white Malasadamobile. Typically, the truck can be found in the Waikele Center in Waipahu all day on the weekends.
5. Jawaiian Irie Jerk: Jawaiian Irie Jerk features an unusual combination of flavors by bridging the taste gap between Hawaii and Jamaica. The simple menu features authentic dishes from the owner's Jamaican hometown. This truck can typically be found at the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard near the Hawaii Convention Center from lunch through dinner hours on Mondays through Saturdays.
Regardless of your tastes, Oahu is home to a food truck or casual eatery with the right flavors. Because of its multicultural heritage, the Hawaiian islands are home to food influences from the Polynesian islands, many Asian countries, and even Europe and the Caribbean.
During your stay, be sure to take advantage of the inexpensive options, and treat your taste buds to a nice lunch.