Hawaii’s melting pot of delectable, tasty, dishes is a foodie’s dream! There are so many great “grindz” (Hawaiian slang for delish food) to try and all of them offer something unique!
The first place we tried was Broke Da Mouth Grindz in Kailua-Kona. This place. Local owners- check. Divey looking- check. Smells like garlic- check. It was shaping up to be a good experience even before we sat down to eat! We love casual places that have charm- we don’t need ritzy, we just want good eats. From the spam cans used as s&p caddies to their house made special sauce stored in up-cycled tequila bottles, kitschy charm oozes here. The menu has so many great choices. Seriously. It’s hard to choose when you want to try EVERYTHING. We settled on a mixed plate of pork adobo and garlic shrimp. Oh gosh, it’s hard to write this because my mouth is watering. Why do I torture myself? I want to go back and try the Garlic Furikake Fried Chicken because garlic and furikake make everything better.
Do you see how big the shrimp are? Mmm.
The next place is another dive type establishment- it’s called 808 Grindz Cafe. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch, but they do serve breakfast until they close in the afternoon. 808 is Hawaii’s area code. This place was recommended by staff at the resort. We always ALWAYS ask, “Where do the locals eat? Where do you like to eat?” That’s how we found 808 Grindz. This place had a line out the door and one of those clipboards, with a sheet of paper and pencil tied with string to put your name down. That’s a sure sign of a tasty dive! Oh man. The pancakes here. Fluffy like clouds and so flavorful. We tried the coconut and macadamia pancakes. Coconut was our absolute favorite. I’ve not had a more delicious pancake since. The prices were super reasonable too! I so adore a good Loco Moco when I visit Hawaii, and they had several variations to choose from. I had the “Short Rib Moco”. SAVORY HEAVEN ON A PLATE. So so good. I’m jealous of my past self for getting to eat that. I’ll try and look away while I post the next two pictures.
Now I’m starving.
In search of macadamia pie, we found the Hana Hou Restaurant and bake shop. You can’t miss the big yellow building that looks like a house. This is the Southern most restaurant in the US! The kids got a real kick out of that! The food here is a bit pricey, but oh so good. But the star here is the macadamia pie. It must be laced with drugs. Just order the whole pie so you and your family members don’t give each other dirty looks for taking too big a bite. Don’t try and be modest and just get two pieces to split among you all, like we did. It’s not worth the hostility. Get the whole pie. You won’t be sorry. I just saved your family from a fight. You’re welcome.
You can’t come to the Big Island and miss the Mauna Loa Macadamia Farm or the Punalu’u bake shop! Did someone say free samples?
Speaking of free samples, do not come to Hawaii and miss out on the awesome farmer’s markets around the island. There are several of them dispersed throughout. In general, our family is not big on spending hours shopping. These farmer’s markets were such an exception. We went to the Alii Garden Market place as many times as we could to get our daily strawberry papayas. Yes I said strawberry papaya. You almost don’t even want to eat any other kind, once you try a strawberry papaya! We also went to the big famous market in Hilo and saw row upon row of lovely produce. The locals that run the stalls are so kind- if you ask them what something is, they’ll pop it open right then and there, or cut it up and give you a sample! I had rambutan for the first time! These large, red, spiny looking cherries taste like a cross between a lychee and a grape. They are me and Husband’s favorite fruit! So scrumptious! I loved browsing the stalls of handicrafts at the market. There were plenty of things actually made in Hawaii by the very locals selling them at the farmers market.
Pictured above: strawberry guavas, longan, Hawaiian pineapple, and star fruit
I would be remiss if I did not mention going to the Golden Arches in Hawaii. McDonalds in Hawaii has it’s own special flavor. Son loves spam and pineapples. He had a gleam in his eye when he ordered himself a spam, rice and egg breakfast combo with a hot pineapple pie on the side.