20 Places You Have to Try in O'ahu, Hawaii

1. Marukame Udon


This cafeteria-style restaurant has out the door lines for a really good reason. People wait minutes/hours for a bowl of udon and various tempuras and musubis. If you don't want to wait in line, but still want to try their delicious hand made noodles, I suggest going before the lunch or dinner rush on a weekday. I went on Wednesday around 1 pm and only waited 10 minutes. Their bowls are reasonably priced which is rare in Waikiki
.


2. The Myna Bird Tiki Bar

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Located in the International Marketplace Make sure to stop by for Happy Hour, they have $5 pina coladas! Super refreshing during your island stay. 


3. Modo Donuts

Hidden in the food court of Mitsuwa, you can find a small donut shop called Modo. These Japanese style mochi donuts are super cute, uniquely shaped, and extremely delicious. They are made with mochi dough so the texture is different from regular donuts. I got to try matte green team earl gray, black sesame, and cookies and cream.


4. Yogurstory

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After hiking at Manoa Falls, stop by Yogurstory for breakfast. Their portions are huge. We ordered the Ube Pancakes and Pork Loco Modo
. Free refills of coffee too!

5. Musubi Cafe Iyasume

If you need a portable snack, this is the perfect place. There are so many options of onigiri and musubi and they are all individually wrapped. I ordered a few and took them straight to the beach. 


6. Island Vintage Coffee

Island aesthetic and great tasting food, make sure to stop by Island Vintage Coffee during your vacation. Their açaí bowls are a perfect way to start the day! The line gets long, but it moves pretty quickly. They don't just brew amazing coffee, they have a variety of food options as well. I love that they incorporate fruit into many of their dishes. 


7. Island Vintage Shave Ice

Just down the escalator is Island Vintage Shave Ice. We got to try the Heavenly Lilikoi, which is lilikoi, strawberry, organic frozen yogurt, lilikoi popping boba, mocha and snow cap. What I love about this place is that all their syrups are handmade and fresh and are not from store-bought bottles. 


8. Tropical Tribe

This place is a hidden gem, you won't find it unless you look it up on maps. Serving up traditional Brazilian açaí, Tropical Tribe is one of my go-to spots for a perfect bowl. Make sure you add peanut butter, bee pollen, and honey.


9. Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts

If you have some time, make sure to stop by this farm to try macadamia nut and coffee samples. I ended up buying a whole pack of caramel glazed macadamia nuts because they were so good! 


10. Aloha Shrimp Truck

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If waiting in line and trying out the hype is not on your bucket list, I highly recommend this food truck. This hidden gem is located in Hauula, so if you're passing through this area, it's a great spot to stop for lunch. We ordered coconut shrimp, which was fried shrimp breaded with coconut shavings, and their garlic shrimp.
 Right next to the truck is a shave ice and smoothie shop, if you still have room, try a pineapple coconut smoothie!

11. Dole Plantation

Calling all pineapple lovers, make sure you stop here and at least try their dole whip. A cup of pineapple soft serve goodies, and if you want to upgrade to a float, they can add fresh pineapple juice for a refreshing treat. They have a really big gift shop full of pineapple and Hawaiian flavored treats, but if you only leave with one souvenir, get the super cute dole whip float sipper cup. 


12. Giovanni's Shrimp Truck


if you are visiting the North Shore, stop by Giovanni's food truck and try a steaming plate of scampi shrimp! There is always a wait, but trust me it's worth it. 12 shrimps marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon/butter sautéed in a pan, hungry yet?



13. Green World Coffee Farm

On the way to the North Shore, visit this coffee farm for a caffeine fix! I ordered a large iced coffee with pumps of coconut flavor and it was absolutely refreshing. They have a bunch of coffee to sample and a few coffee trees to get lost in right by the gift shop. 

14. Aulani, A Disney Resort

Disney Aulani Resort might have a hefty price tag to stay, but you don't have to be a guest to enjoy their beach and restaurants. In order to get your parking validated, just dine at one of the sit-down restaurants and spend more than $35. Also if you have time splurge on some Mickey-shaped shave ice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 


15. Koko Head Cafe

After hiking Diamond Head, take a short bus ride to Koko Head Cafe. This cafe is known for their innovative brunch! Grab a cup of coffee and try their signature cornflake toast, loco moco, and ask your server about the dumplings of the day! 


16. Banan, Waikiki Beach Shack

On my last day in Oahu, I made it a mission to go watch the sunset at Waikiki Beach. On my way there I saw this little beach shack in the middle of a dark alley. I ordered a Riss Moore, which was Acai-Banana soft serve with tropical toppings. I brought my cup to the beach, played out my towel and watched the sky change colors. It was absolutely magical.


17. Leonard's Bakery

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Leonard's Bakery is a must try when in Honolulu. Right when you open their front doors, you can smell the freshly baked malasadas, which are Portuguese-style donuts. We got in line, which wasn't too long on a weekday afternoon, and ordered two Malasada Puffs, one with coconut and one with guava filling.


18. Rainbow Drive-In

If everyone and Obama recommended this place, you know it's a must try when you're visiting Oahu. This drive-in has a retro vibe and all seating is outdoor. Best known for their various plates, I had to taste their mix plate: a heaping plate of rice, macaroni salad, fried fish, chicken, and bbq beef. For $9.95, you have a feast, I was definitely in food coma mode after finishing my meal. 


19. Farmer's Market

If you're staying in Oahu, check out a Farmer's Market for delicious food and souvenirs. I went to the King's Village and Waikiki markets and ordered malasadas (try the one with pineapple filling) and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice! 


20. Ookini Onigiri

This shop was right by my Airbnb so it was super convenient when I needed to grab a quick snack or breakfast for the next day. I stumbled into the shop right before closing and to my surprise, everything was 50% off. I suggest going at around 2-3pm. Definitely get the spam musubis!

10 Sweet Dessert Shops in OC

1. DUCK DONUTS

2222 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

Located in TRADE Irvine, Duck Donuts brings fresh donuts with unique flavors to OC! The donuts are fried right when you order, and then their friendly staff will decorate your custom order. SInce they are literally made in front of you, they are warm and absolutely delicious.

2. Somi Somi

640 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

Of all the fish in the sea, these two are the only ones for me. Located in Irvine Spectrum right by the movie theater, this dessert is begging to be photographed. You get to choose from different soft serve flavors and one filling in your fish cone. Customize your dessert with extra toppings!


3. The Loop

9729 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

Matcha glazed churro + fruity pebbles & cardi b's mint mojito are a perfect pair. If you can’t get your Disneyland churros, this place is even better. You can choose from their signature combinations or even create your own. I highly recommend getting your churro with soft serve!


4. Bear Cheese Tart

493 Park Ave Ste 32, Tustin, CA 92782


Located in the Union market at the District, Bear Cheese Tart is a unique dessert that is blowing up in the states! who knew a simple yogurt cheese tart can taste so good. One is definitely not enough so grab a few other flavors. Wash it down with some peach green tea and if you have more room, try out their black sesame shaved snow.


5. Isno Cafe

15333 Culver Dr Ste 360, Irvine, CA 92604

Why I love shaved snow, its made of organic ingredients and lactose-free milk, so you get this creamy flavor instead of just ice. Which one would you try? Cardinal Gold: Strawberry and Mango or What’s the Matcha.

6. The Moo Gelato

7170 Edinger Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Sparkle like a unicorn and make waves like a mermaid. Puffle cones and yummy gelato, how magical. Come create your mystical creature with unique gelato flavors at The Moo. They have a bright and cute interior as well, which is perfect for Instagram flavors

7. Drill’d Ice Cream

18279 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

A variety of ingredients drilled into ice cream? the possibilities are endless. Come drill your favorite cereal and feel like a kid again! YOu do get a big portion of ice cream, so it’s definitely worth the price! For extra magic get a UNICONE + Candyland: vanilla ice cream and fruity pebbles, topped with strawberries, pop rocks, teddy grahams, sprinkles and strawberry drizzle. 

8. The Cauldron

1421 W MacArthur Blvd Ste F, Santa Ana, CA 92704

Who else would prefer an ice cream rose over actual roses? Guys take notes! This has to be the creamiest liquid nitrogen ice cream I’ve ever had. Love their unique flavors as well. Left: the cauldron, Vanilla cinnamon ice cream with Oreo cookies. right: Sun, Moon, and Stars: Creamy blend of oolong, jasmine, and green tea. 

9. Chunk N Chip

201 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

A hidden gem nestled in 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana. Their seasonal ice cream flavors and delicious cookie are something you need to try! Try out an ice cream sandwich where you can choose two different cookies, or order one and stick in your cone. Come in for Happy Sammich hour Monday -Friday 5-7pm for $1 off.

10. Nitrolado

10212 Westminster Ave Ste 115, Garden Grove, CA 92843

Liquid Nitrogen ice cream served in bowl on top of dry ice! A dessert with a show, don’t forget to top off your ice cream with a flavored churro bowl.