10. Breakfast burrito at Hanalei Bread Company in Hanalei
When I found out that Hanalei Bread Company serves up a mighty tasty breakfast burrito, I knew we’d be making a beeline from the rental car pick-up to this friendly cafe on the north side of Kauai. Kudos are in order for the perfectly grilled tortilla.
11. Kona Mud Pie ice cream at Pink’s in Hanalei
The Kona Mud Pie ice cream at Pink’s Creamery in Hanalei is the bee’s knees and the cat’s pajamas. Admittedly, I’m always a sucker for the combining of coffee and chocolate chunks, but, still, this is an all-time top-five scoop for me. The word on the street is that the grilled cheese at Pink’s is also not to be missed, so a return visit is doubly warranted.
12. Specialty saimin at Hamura Saimin Stand in Lihue
Saimin is Hawaii’s spin on your classic bowl of ramen, and one of the old-school joints for this island comfort food favorite is Hamura Saimin Stand in Lihue. Order the specialty saimin for all the bells and whistles (fish cakes, wontons, boiled egg, roast pork, green onions, chopped ham), but it really comes down to the noodles—soft and chewy, with curves in all the right places.
13. Loco moco at Cafe 100 in Hilo
When you’re in the Big Island town of Hilo, you would be crazy not to try the loco moco—the uniquely Hawaiian platter that combines rice, a hamburger patty, brown gravy and a fried egg. After all, Hilo is where the loco moco was born. Cafe 100 is one of the originals that started it all; they’ve been serving up tasty plate lunches since 1946.
Order the Super Loco, which adds Portuguese sausage and spam to the traditional loco moco, and you’ll have yourself some good eatin’.
14. Smoothies at What’s Shakin’ in Pepeekeo
When you find yourself in a tropical paradise, it would be a shame not to indulge in some fruit smoothies. What’s Shakin’—a charming little snack shack located partway between Hilo and ‘Akaka Falls—has a sweet arsenal of tasty smoothies. We opted for the Mango Tango (mango, papaya, banana and pineapple) and the Onomea Sunrise (strawberry, papaya, banana and orange), and complemented them with a towering plate of the Macho chicken nachos. For sure, a very relaxing and delicious food detour.
15. Macadamia nut chocolates at Big Island Candies in Hilo
Many a visitor to Hawaii brings back home beautiful memories, fabulous photos, and, of course, macadamia nuts. To procure the latter, Big Island Candies, conveniently located right next to the Hilo Airport, is a recommended stop. Their signature item is a macadamia nut shortbread cookie, which pairs wonderfully with a cup of Kona coffee. We took a box of dark chocolate macadamia nut crunchy candies for the road, and they lasted, oh, about a day after we returned to the mainland.