Lunch Spots in Honolulu, HI
Do a happy dance because you’ve landed in to-go lunch paradise—right inside Ala Moana Shopping Center! This branch of the locally-owned grocery chain caters to the traveler who wants delicious but doesn’t want to wait for it. Grab fresh poke in more combinations than you can shake your sunscreen at. From the deli, pick from custom salads, deli sandwichs, quality sushi, hot fried chicken, artisanal cheeses, gourmet pasta salads, and so many more ready-made items it’ll make you want to splurge on a pie or cake, by the slice or whole. Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf conveniently have counters inside this Foodland as well!
With an encroaching ramen shop on every corner, Honolulu has even Japanophile ramen connoisseurs finding lots to love at joints like Yotteko-ya. If you’ve never tried paitan ramen before, know that this slow-cooked, white soup base with an almost creamy consistency presents itself very well at Yotteko-ya. With ramen noodles of desirably chewy consistency and tasty braised pork (char siu) in each affordable bowl, the ramen at Yotteko-ya approaches true Japanese sensibility. Try the variety of yummy soup bases from multiple regions of Japan.
Hole in the walls are not supposed to be slick black lacquered furniture, glossy white tile floors, and elegant shoji screens, right? Obviously, Kaffe Imperial would be a good place for a sit-down lunch based on the free parking and classy ambience for a cheap price alone, but the real kicker is their katsu. The weightless golden breading, tender white meat, and novel katsu sauce container all make you want to come back again and again for a tasty lunch experience. Nevermind that it also comes with a fluffy potato salad, one scoop of rice, and shredded cabbage. The portion size is just enough for a decently hungry person, and look for their new addition of Korean items to the previously predominately Japanese menu.
The spam musubi, consisting of a rectangular sushi-like block of rice, spam, and seaweed, may be the quintessential local choice for something cheap, hot, savory, and comforting. Nevermind that in Japan they’ve never heard of spam musubi, Iyasume Musubi has Hawaii covered with enough varieties of musubi to satisfy all the carb-carnivorous customers: ikura, curry, egg, spicy fried chicken, tuna, mayo, salmon roe, clam, and of course the classic spam . . . along with egg spam, plum spam, bacon egg spam, cucumber spam, takuan radish pickle spam, and red shiso herb spam. No time for lunch? Not hungry yet? Pack a little plastic-wrapped musubi in your purse and thank Iyasume Musubi later.
Legend has it that Legends makes the dim sum of legends. Crowds form by eleven in the morning and pack this huge place all afternoon. Legend’s high chandeliered ceilings, plethora of large families shouting orders in Cantonese, and huge variety of dim sum whizzing by on carts all let you know that this dim sum is the real McCoy. They serve all the favorites (shrimp dumplings, roast pork buns, chicken feet, tripe, sweet sour spare ribs, pork hash, turnip cake, mango pudding, fried taro shrimp, jellyfish, egg tarts) and more. Validated parking only $1 in Chinatown Cultural Plaza Municipal Lot.