You might not know the story about how food in Hawaii has rapidly evolved over the years. But if you watch food TV, you definitely know that Hawaii has some really great food trucks. It’s a must-visit destination, just for the food. While it has been a premiere foodie destination for a few decades, at least, it wasn’t always as accessible as it is today. You no longer need to have reservations for the top restaurants in town. Some of the best food in Hawaii can now be found in parking lots, street markets, and sometimes just parked alongside the road.
The food truck revolution hit hard and fast in Hawaii, bringing new flavors, new food concepts, and great new eating options to the islands. Great food is now more accessible to travelers than ever before. The Hawaii Regional Food movement that made many Hawaii chefs (including two of my personal favorites, Roy Yamaguchi and Sam Choy) famous for the fusion of Hawaiian ingredients with classic techniques has evolved to allow chefs to be creative and to cook foods from all over the world, served in a more casual way.
If you know where to look, you can find all different kinds of street food. It’s not just shrimp trucks and shave ice anymore. The food truck scene reaches from Kauai to the Big Island, so no matter where in Hawaii you’re visiting, you’re sure to find some of the best food trucks in Hawaii.
Food Trucks in Oahu
Honolulu is one of the best places to find great food trucks. In fact, they even have a monthly food truck rally called Eat the Street Honolulu. It takes place the last Friday of the month at Kaka’ako Waterfront Park. There are typically around 40 food vendors there, so you can choose whatever makes your mouth water. Some of the perennial favorites are All Kine Grindz’s Surf & Turf platter, Taste of Indonesia’s delicious stews, La Roux’s New Orleans favorites and and Pao de Queijo’s Brazilian cuisine. A great place to find Waikiki food trucks in Honolulu is at Pau Hana Market in Waikiki and the Saturday KCC Farmers’ Market. If you’re staying in Honolulu, you can walk to these food truck meccas. If you wanted to, you could eat a different meal from a Honolulu food truck every lunch and dinner.
When you’re in Oahu, don’t forget the north shore food trucks. This is where you’ll find the famous Hawaii shrimp trucks you’ve been told about, with some of the best scampi you can find anywhere. As you’re driving around the island, you’ll see them parked along the roadside. There are also a few food truck parks, with more than one truck. In Haleiwa, don’t miss the Blue Shrimp food truck. Giovanni’s is another local favorite for shrimp scampi – often called the best shrimp truck in Oahu. You’ll get a huge place of shrimp and a couple scoops of rice for a great price.
Food Trucks in Maui
Maui is full of amazing chefs taking their talents to the streets and embracing the food truck movement. You don’t have to suffer through bland and overpriced tourist food in Maui, no matter where you’re staying on the island. Our favorites to try are local Hawaiian dishes and seafood, but you can find just about anything your stomach desires. Make sure to seek out local favorite, The Shark Pit, parked near 78 Ulupono Street in Lahaina, at lunchtime for fresh fish, shrimp, and an array of other fantastic dishes. Shark Pit Maui is super popular, so be sure to arrive early.
Right across from the Costco in Kahului, you’ll find Loke Poke, serving some of the best poke in Maui (and that’s saying a lot!), alongside a few other Maui food trucks. You can also grab a great plate of poke at Like Poke, just outside the airport. If you’re lucky to find Chef Kyle Kawakami’s Maui Fresh Streatery open, you must stop and try his creative and delicious takes on various cuisines, from traditional Hawaiian to Indian street food. Take to social media to find the current location of Three’s Food Truck, which wanders around Maui serving some of the restaurant’s best menu items, like Peruvian pork tacos and Panko-crusted Ahi rolls.
Kauai Food Trucks
New and exciting food trucks are popping up around Kauai every day. You can find all kinds of fresh and sustainable options at these roving food meccas, and you won’t have to travel far to find one. On the north shore, you can order a Hawaiian plate lunch from Hanalei Taro & Juice Co or go big with a pulled pork sandwich and deep fried macaroni and cheese from The Green Pig. Look for the Nom Kauai Food Truck in the eastern part of the island for this incredible plate of chicken and waffles:
In the southern part of the island, you’ll find an array of international food trucks, serving everything from classic island dishes at the Kauai Food Truck, to tacos at Chalupa’s Mexican taco truck, to sushi at the Yanagai Sushi Wagon. Don’t worry, you can still find shave ice trucks in the area as well!
Big Island Food Trucks
The Big Island has some really great food trucks that you can find parked all around the island in different locations. You’ll find specialties like Kalua pork, Jamaican jerk chicken and fish tacos. Check out where you can find them and what they’re serving here.
Also in the Island’s Kona District, you can find The Rendezvous Truck, which is a local favorite serving both breakfast and lunch. If you’re in Kawaihae, make a stop at Da Fish House lunch wagon for some of the freshest fish and poke around. Also be sure to visit the Waimea Homestead Farmers Market in Waimea.
As you can see, there are many food trucks in Hawaii where you can find a perfect dish to represent the current food trends of the islands. It’s not just about spam and kalua pork anymore. There are a variety of foods to try in Hawaii. Why not jump on board the food truck movement and be amazed by the choices.
Do you know where to find the best food trucks in Hawaii? Share it with us in the comments.
Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.