Make sure to check off these traditional Hawaiian food experiences during your visit:
Attend a Luau
No visit to Hawai‘i would be complete without attending a lu‘au, an island feast featuring an abundance of tropical delicacies and array of riveting hula performances. Originally called ‘aha ‘āina or pā‘ina in the old days, these feasts were—and still are—a way to thank the gods and celebrate the bounty of the land. While lu‘au have changed significantly in modern times, they’re still an essential part of life in Hawai‘i and certainly something every visitor should experience. Be sure to check out lu‘au at Germaine's and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
As an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii has some of the best seafood in the world. Make sure to try the ahi tuna, mahi mahi and the wide assortment of fresh sushi. Also, don't forget poke—raw diced fish served with seasoning—an island staple.
North Shore Shave Ice
There's always a line outside of Matsumoto's no matter what time of year it is, with hordes of visitors and locals alike waiting to get some shave ice (Hawaii's answer to the snow cone). This family-owned shave ice stand has been in business for nearly 60 years. It was featured on the Travel Channel, in numerous magazines and is one of the North Shore's top attractions. The shop also sells snacks, candy, drinks and souvenir t-shirts.
In 1952, not long after Leonard's Bakery opened in Honolulu, Leonard's mother suggested they make malasadas (a Portuguese donut) for Shrove Tuesday in honor of a Portuguese tradition. The malasadas have been his claim to fame ever since.
Featured on the Food Network, the Shrimp Shack's bright yellow shrimp wagon is found past the Polynesian Cultural Center over in Punaluu, away from the cluster of shrimp trucks in Haleiwa and Kahuku. Aside from sauteed local shrimp, they also serve Kahuku sweet corn on the cob, snow crab legs, grilled mahimahi and steak plates. If you're new to trying peel-and-eat shrimp, a fun sign posted by the outdoor tables lists instructions on how to eat it.