Local Flavors You’ll Only Find at Fast-Food Restaurants in Hawaiʻi

Hawaii's fast-food restaurants serve exclusive menu items and dishes inspired by the Islands' culinary history.
hawaii fast food

Hawaii definitely has its own way of doing fast food. Being on-the-go doesn’t mean sacrificing local flavors as these establishments prove.

Local breakfast platter from McDonald’s

mcdonalds hawaii
Breakfast platter from a McDonalds in Hawaii.
Photo: _Weidz/Flickr

Do you ever wake up in the morning craving rice, meat and eggs? Because Hawaii people sure do. Every McDonald’s in the state comes equip with a big rice pot for their morning customers. The platter features scrambled eggs, rice and your choice of Spam or Portuguese sausage. Or, if you’re really hungry then both with the Local Deluxe Breakfast Platter.

Saimin from McDonald’s

There’s nothing like a bowl of piping hot saimin when you’ve got a cold or are craving some noodles on your lunch break. In Hawaii, McDonald’s answers the call. Served up with a pair of chopsticks or a fork, McDonald’s saimin comes with Spam, a piece of kamaboko fishcake and nori (seaweed). Don’t forget to throw shoyu (soy sauce) in it.

Taro and haupia pie from McDonald’s

haupia pie mcdonalds
Haupia pie from McDonald’s.
Photo: Jennifer Cachola/Flickr

McDonald’s likes the taste of aloha so much that they even came out with these awesome pies for Hawaii. Every few months, the fast-food franchises switch back and forth between a rich and savory sweet haupia coconut pie and a crispy delicious sweet taro pie that melts in your mouth. Whenever you order one of these, they’re always piping hot and the first bite feels like liquid lava in your mouth. But, both of these flavors paired with McDonald’s pie crust will keep you coming back for more.

Mochi crunch at any movie theater

hurricane popcorn
Mochi crunch in a bowl of popcorn with seaweed.
Photo: Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn

If you’ve ever watched a movie in the Islands, you’ve probably noticed that little bag of … brown stuff. It’s in the candy section, but it’s definitely not chocolate. A bag of mochi crunch, or arare rice crackers, are common amongst Hawaii moviegoers. After trying this mixed with Hawaii’s signature Hurricane Popcorn, a plain bag of buttery popcorn without it just isn’t enough.

Gotta Guava from Jamba Juice

This seasonal all-fruit smoothie is a refreshing tropical blend of juices, sherbet and ice. Colorful, tart and will definitely brighten your day.

Kalua pork tacos and nachos from Taco Bell

kalua pork taco bell
Kalua pork mixed with nachos from Taco Bell.
Photo: Taco Bell Hawaii/Facebook

For a limited time every year, smoky, savory kalua pork makes its way into Taco Bell in the form of zesty nachos, cheese quesadillas and grilled burritos.

Categories: Arts + Culture, Health/Wellness, Restaurants