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 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., ).

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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, ). 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, ) 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.