The number of food trucks in America has doubled in the past few years, according to recent U.S. Census data, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Oahu. From food truck festivals like downtown Honolulu's monthly Eat the Street gathering, to beachside Oahu food trucks dotting the island's coastline, a bounty of tropical flavors await you. Don't know where to start? You can't go wrong with the ono (delicious) grinds (local pidgin slang for "food") at these four famous food trucks on Oahu.
1. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Giovanni's opened in the early 1990s, operating out of a converted 1953 bread delivery truck. Its first location was in Kahuku, but today it's renowned for its Haleiwa location on Oahu's famous north shore.
- Location: 458 Keawe Street (a 16-minute drive from the Waikiki Resort Hotel) or, for its most popular location on the fabled north shore, head to 66-472 Kamehameha Highway (a 50-minute drive from Waikiki)
- The Menu: Giovanni's Shrimp Truck prides itself on an ultra-simple, four-options menu. You can choose shrimp scampi, hot and spicy shrimp, or lemon butter shrimp. For those who prefer turf over surf, the garlic hot dog is a must-try. All dishes are served with two scoops of rice. And when it comes to the shrimp plates, you're guaranteed a dozen jumbo shrimp.
- What to Know: The shrimp scampi is what made Giovanni's famous around the world. If you want to kick it up a notch, do what the locals do and ask for a side of their hot sauce. Be warned that Giovanni's is renowned for going heavy on the garlic—the caramelized, smoky garlic pairs perfectly with the food truck's fresh shellfish—but if you aren't a fan of garlic, proceed with caution.
2. North Shore Tacos
You might be 3,517 miles from Mexico, but North Shore Tacos will dish our authentic Mexican cuisine from its mobile eatery. The owner, fresh off of a surf trip in Baja, opened the iconic red food truck in 2010.
- Location: 59-712 Kamehameha Hwy (a 1-hour drive from Waikiki), with a related restaurant at 54-296 Kamehameha Hwy
- The Menu: The menu works off of a multi-step process. First, choose your plate style (e.g., tacos, nachos, salad, burrito), then select your filling (your options are shrimp, fresh-caught Hawaiian fish, and classics like beef, chicken, etc.), then select some beans and chips.
- What to Know: Need to get refreshed after a hot day of surfing on the north shore? Don't miss this food truck's unique drink selection, including a pineapple tiki and ginger lemonade. They also have classics that pair well with their cuisine, such as Mexican coke.
3. Haleiwa Bowls Truck
For a sunrise breakfast or a midday snack, you can't go wrong with this health-focused food truck. Food critics like Thrillist have ranked it as one of the best places in America to get an acai bowl or smoothie. And if you're a smartphone-toting social media influencer, this food truck's visually stunning bowls and smoothies are bound to catch your eye.
- Location: 66-030 Kamehameha Highway (a one-hour drive from Waikiki)
- The Menu: One of the most popular menu items is the Hapa Bowl, which combines a literal rainbow of fruit with blended acai and hearty hemp granola. This food truck also offers a generous array of smoothies that you can add so-called "botanical supplements" to for an extra kick, such as medicinal mushrooms or Hawaiian green spirulina.
- What to Know: For an extra $6, ask them to put their acai bowls in a signature coconut bowl. Snap a photo and watch those Instagram likes roll in. And if you aren't into smoothies or acai, check out their coffee and tea menu (the organic hibiscus mint tea is refreshing after a hot day).
4. Leonard’s Bakery Malasada Truck
Malasadas are the perfect example of Hawaiian cuisine, where different cultures have their foods adopted into the culture and given a local twist. Locals put their own twist on this doughnut-like treat, such as adding coconut-flavored haupia pudding. Today, Leonard's food truck is iconic for its sugary delights.
- Location: The main restaurant is at 933 Kapahulu Avenue (a short 7-minute drive, or 30-minute walk, from the Waikiki Resort Hotel), but there are multiple Malasadamobile food trucks across Oahu
- The Menu: Start with the fluffy original, which is fried and doused in sugar. But one of Leonard's most popular options is the malasada that's stuffed with coconut pudding (haupia). You can also get adventurous with the li hing option, where the doughnut is flavored with tangy dried plum seasoning (a go-to in the islands).
- What to Know: Think beyond the malasada. Depending on the food truck you visit, you may also get lucky and be able to sample the bakery's renowned cookies, cakes, and pies. And if all that sugar leaves you parched, don't miss their trademark lemonade.
The Waikiki Resort Hotel is your perfect gateway to the best food trucks on Oahu. We're a short walk to some of the most famous food trucks on Oahu, and we are also an hour or less away from the fabled Oahu food trucks on the island's north shore. Book your stay at the Waikiki Resort Hotel online or call us at 1-800-367-5116 to see why our hotel is a top choice for tourists and food truck lovers alike!