Eating International cuisine on the North Shore is a delightful treat, and especially so at The Hukilau Marketplace (https://hukilaumarketplace.com/). Come visit this joyful market in beautiful Laie, Oahu, Hawaii, where locals and tourists meet to share the spirit of Aloha through cultural activities, food, and the history of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands around it. It is the place to feel the excitement of living as pure Islanders.
Although the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Hukilau Marketplace focus mainly on the beautiful cultures of Polynesia, international influences are present throughout the islands. So why are we highlighting International cuisine? Because it is an integral part of Polynesian history. Tahitians most commonly speak French, and their cuisine reflect that they were once ruled by French monarchs. Approximately 38% of Fiji’s residents are of Indian descent. New Zealand (home of the Maori people) was a British colony from from 1841 to 1907. Hawaii has welcomed migrant workers from Asia, Portugal and Latin and South America. One way to experience the excitement of living in such a place with many cultures from all around the world is certainly through the diversity of the food offered.
Pounders Restaurant is the main event for eateries at the Hukilau Marketplace
The place that resonates the most in dining choices is the unique Pounders Restaurant. The diversity of meals served shows how they care about your experience. When you see the dishes of other diners, piled high with fresh and local ingredients, you’ll hear your taste buds desperately calling for you to pick a meal just as tempting. Pounder’s menu offers the notoriously popular Hawaiian Mango pizza, the tasty Kalbi Ribs with its’ amazing Ulu Mashed Potatoes, the imposing Crispy Whole Sunfish, the delicious Vanilla Crème Brulée, along with many other favorites.
SodaBomb sits right at the entrance to the Marketplace
SodaBomb is probably the most popular truck in the whole Island for its mix of soda and exotic flavors. Their motto is simple, “take your favorite soda and make it better!”
Tita’s Grill: A Lāʻie tradition built by a local legend
Tita’s Grill is just across from Pounder’s Restaurant, so its easy to find. It was founded in 2010 by former Arizona State and Kahuku High School standout football player Junior Ah You. Tita’s opens early so that you can enjoy both breakfast and lunch dishes that reflect both authentic local flavors and generous servings. Their heaving serving of French Toast will remind you of egg based custard and you can never go wrong with their well-known garlic shrimp. Looking for the most traditional of dishes? You’re in for a treat with their Samoan bread and cocoa rice!
Delice Crepe serves Tahitian Crepe delights
Maybe your taste buds prefer a trip to the Delice Crepe for a sweet or even a savory crepe. You will find a great selection of both savory and sweet items. There are crepes for every time of the day-a Bonjour Crepe for breakfast with ham, eggs, and cheese. Get the Tahiti crepe as dessert with coconut, peanut butter, banana, and chocolate. And here’s a tip: I always ask for a side of vanilla ice-cream.
Kiwi Style Fish and Chips
Kiwi Style Fish & Chips offers you a taste of New Zealand style meals including fish, chips, and burgers made from quality ingredients. You won’t want to miss their classic fish and chips, which are made with premium-cut fish covered in a light, crispy batter.
The Guadalajara Grill serves ole’ in the land of aloha’
The word that describes the food available here is “authentic”. Take a quick hiatus in Mexico when you order a delicious shrimp taco, beef chimichangas, or the well-known “Red Raider” burrito (which refers to the famous Football team from nearby Kahuku High School) from the Guadalajara Grill food truck. Introduced in the Hukilau Marketplace in 2018, this food truck is a mainstay of the Marketplace through the tasty and diverse meals it offers to locals and tourists. Don’t forget to add more hot sauce if you like it spicy!
Hapas Sushi & Poke: Where dreams come true
Our newest flavor-filled food kiosk serves some incredible ocean based meals with a great splash of localized creativity. There are 10 rolls to choose from. A sure favorite is their Lilikoi Miso Salmon Roll – but maybe you’d like something with a little bite to it, like the Kiiluea Roll. There are also 4 kinds of poke bowls and 4 choices of sashimi. One thing is for sure, they have it all. You’ll find it next at the north end of the Marketplace next to the entrance to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
These are only a few of the various activities, food trucks and restaurants that you can find in this magical place. The Spirit of Aloha can be felt through the happiness and the warm welcome of all the workers here. They simply love to take care of people and share their culture. As a Tahitian, I tell you Welcome, Manava e Maeva to the Hukilau Marketplace and may you feel the Spirit of Aloha!