Hawaii isn’t a cheap dining destination - prices, particularly in Waikiki, tend to be as high as the Shard. That being said, there’s no need to go hungry in Hawaii if your wallet isn’t rammed with dollars. Seek out a Farmers Markets - the Saturday Farmers Market at KCC (www.hfbf.org) gets our vote - where you can get stuck into a range of Hawaiian foods (think poi, loco moco, masaladas and more) that represent this exotic chain of islands’ multi-cultural make-up, for peanut prices while also getting to hang out with Hawaii locals who love to eat.
Or rock up at Rainbow Drive-In (www.rainbowdrivein.com) - a colourful Kanaina Avenue diner that was a favourite hang-out of the teenage Obama. Fast forward to today and the US President still pops into Rainbow Drive-In for a plate lunch. Consisting of macaroni salad served with two scoops of rice and everything from Korean barbecue to chicken katsu, the plate lunch is a popular - and crucially affordable - Hawaiian ono grind (good eat).
Last but by no means least, Look to Zippy’s (www.zippys.com) – a Hawaii institution beloved by 24k Magic singer, Bruno Mars, that’s gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary on 17 October - for fast food, Hawaiian style.
Make the most of Happy Hour
No visit to Hawaii is complete without tasting a tropical tiki cocktail (or two), for the islands are as synonymous with the Mai Tai and Blue Hawaii – as they are with pineapples, surfing, volcanoes and aloha.
One negative? The Mai Tai, which fuses two rums, fresh lime juice, orange Curacai, rock candy syrup and almond syrup), and Blue Hawaii ( a colour-ful fruit flavoured cocktail ) weigh in around the US$15 mark. Ouch… All of which is why it pays to take advantage of happy hour (often called ‘alo-ha hour’) - a great way to taste the tropics at destinations like Dukes (www.dukeswaikiki.com/), a surf themed party bar named after legendary Hawaiian waterman, Duke Kahanamoku who broke world swimming records before appearing in more than 15 Hollywood films, without breaking the bank.
Local newspapers like Honolulu Star Advertiser (www.staradvertiser), Honolulu Weekly (www.honoluluweekly.com) and Honolulu Magazine (www.honolulumagazine.com) detail the drink deals to kick-start your Hawaiian holiday.
words by Kaye Holland