Where to eat on Oahu
Food Pantry (2370 Kuhio Ave., 808-923-9831) might be the least expensive place in Waikiki to buy milk, bottled water, juice, fresh fruit and other breakfast fixings, if your hotel doesn't have a free continental buffet. Elsewhere, Satura Cakes' (three locations, 808-537-1206, satura cakes.com) version of French toast ($2.50) takes on the texture of a syrup-heavy sponge cake, baked as though erupting from a cupcake form and can be topped with whipped cream.
The plate lunch is an every-day Hawaiian affair, often served in a Styrofoam compartmentalized tray that includes two scoops of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad and a choice of meat. Among the many: Kaka'ako Kitchen (1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 808- 596-7488) is just outside Honolulu's Ward Centre mall and has outdoor seating.
Further north, Giovanni's Shrimp Truck , a graffiti-laden white truck on the side of the road (83 Kamehameha Hwy., Kahuku), sells huge platefuls of garlic shrimp scampi ($12) and fresh coconut milk that can be enjoyed on a picnic bench under a tent. Patrons get to graffiti their names onto the side of the truck.
At dinnertime, go for a very upscale version of the humble Hawaiian mainstay, loco moco, at Roy's Waikiki Beach (226 Lewers St.; 808- 923-7697; roysrestaurant .com). Loco moco ordinarily is a scoop of rice topped with fried egg, hamburger patty and gravy; and it costs $4-$7 in local eateries. But the Roy's version ($19) uses meat loaf and shiitake pan sauce. Or get the toasted brisket-and-jack sandwich ($14.95) with potato salad at Giovanni Pastrami (227 Lewers St., giovannipastrami.com ).
In Haleiwa, a quaint and quirky offbeat surfing village on Oahu's North side, indulge in a Matsumoto Shave Ice (66-087 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, 808-637-4827, matsumotoshaveice.com ). Be sure to get some azuki beans and vanilla ice cream with it. The favorite local flavor is Li Hing Mui, dried plum.
Beard Papa Hawaii (several locations, beardpapahawaii.com ) bakes airy cream puff pastries ($1.75) on premises, and you can watch them fill your order - literally - when they fit the puff onto the nozzle of a hand pump that smooshes the cream of your choice inside.