How to eat cheap in Waikiki: Good and cheap places to food shop or eat around town and stay in budget

If you are visiting Oahu on a budget and looking for ways to eat around the island inexpensively then check out how to eat cheap in Waikiki below.

This short guide shares some of the best tips from locals and visitors to the island to eat cheap and well when you visit the island. Although cheap is relative to what the prices are for dining but you can find delicious venues and ways to keep your budget intact.

How to eat cheap in Waikiki

How to eat cheap in Waikiki (warehouse stores, grocery, food trucks, food courts, farmers markets)

Sam’s Club or Costco

If you have a condo, Air bnb unit or place with a kitchen then you can definitely stock up on food supplies from these two warehouse retailers and make most of your meals, snacks and drinks. This will save on your budget if you prepare breakfast, lunch and occasional dinners.

Shop local grocery stores

Just like the big warehouse, you can also shop local grocery stores for fresh local food items, deli and take out foods, snacks and drinks and other food essentials. Popular and larger grocery venues include Foodland, Times, Palama and Ohana Hale Marketplace. Foodland also is known for the best local poke that compares to local poke shops and at good prices.

Cheap local chain out eateries

Hawaii does have their own local chains that are affordable for most meals served. Consider popular favorite dining venues like L&L Barbeque, Zippys, Rainbow Drive In or even bento meals at 7-11.

Happy Hour Specials

Happy Hour Specials in Waikiki

Consider drinks, pupus and dining out early during Happy Hour and getting a discount on meals and drinks. Many establishments have some great Happy Hour deals before the dinner hour and you can consider some of these places in Waikiki like the Monkeypod, Lulus, Rumfire and popular Dukes. Check out this list of popular and local happy hour venues in Oahu to enjoy now for good drinks and prices at more affordable prices.

  1. Duke’s Waikiki: Enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and great happy hour deals right by the beach. Their cocktails and appetizers are a hit!
  2. Hula Grill Waikiki: With a fantastic oceanfront setting, Hula Grill offers a delightful happy hour with tropical drinks and tasty pupus (appetizers).
  3. Tikis Grill & Bar: Experience the aloha spirit with affordable drinks and delicious small plates at Tikis Grill & Bar, located at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel.

These venues provide a perfect setting to unwind and savor some of the best flavors of Waikiki during happy hour or check out our post on the best bars in Waikiki here for more inspiration.

Farmers markets in Oahu

Farmers markets in Oahu

Not only will you eat healthier but also support local businesses. Farmers markets offer easy take-out foods. Popular farmers markets to visit in Oahu include: Kaka’oko farmers market, Kailua Farmers Market, Honolulu Farmers Market, KCC Farmers Market.

Check out the major farmers markets to shop and eat in Oahu here for more information and details.

Food Courts in Waikiki

Food Courts in Waikiki

There are plenty of food courts offering cheaper and delicious local eats along with many chain food favorites.

Popular places to go find food courts include the Ala Moana Center (huge food court), the Royal Hawaiian, International Marketplace and many other local shopping malls will have a variety of food courts.

Just outside Waikiki in Honolulu is the largest food court area at Ala Moana Shopping center with two large food court areas covering every type of food genre you can imagine.

Food truck venues in Oahu

Food truck venues in Oahu

Popular food trucks like Bluewater Seafood with their $5 Shrimp bentos, Ray’s Kiawe Broiled Chicken for their huli huli chicken. There’s a variety of food truck eateries around the island to enjoy.

Check out these popular places to eat with Food trucks around Oahu here for more inspiration of places to visit.

Bakeries in Oahu

Bakeries in Oahu

Local bakeries in Oahu offer more than just sweets, but also local foods, breakfast and other specialty dishes. Consider visiting Lilia Bakery, Wailua Bakery and Léonard’s.

For breakfast venues try Sweet E’s. Eggs N things and Koa Pancake for breakfast along with other delicious local dishes along served all day long.

Check out all the popular Oahu bakeries here for more information and locations to visit.

Ethnic restaurants in Oahu

Ethnic restaurants in Oahu

Yes ethnic restaurants tend to be cheaper especially noodle shops like Marugame Udon in Waikiki, Musubi Café, Irifune, Mama Kim’s offers cheap Japanese and cheap stir fry and poke combinations.

For Chinese check out Chinatown and dim sum and restaurant venues and Bangkok Chef for Thai food specialties.

Check out these Chinatown venues here for some delicious Chinese foods in Honolulu

Here’s a list of top rated ethnic restaurants to try in Oahu island

Go where the locals eat

There’s lots of popular mom and pop shops and diners in Oahu that all the locals love to eat regularly. There’s plenty of local diners and cheap eats around Oahu and mostly in the Honolulu area outside of the touristy Waikiki tourist zone.

Places to consider include: Betty’s Burgers, Mama Kim’s, One Plus Drive In, Koa Pancakes, Gina’s Barbeque, Itchy Butt, Growler Hawaii, 808 Island Katsu Burger and Steak Shack, just to name a few. You’ll love all these local restos, they are affordable and good.

Affordable Hawaiian food

Affordable Hawaiian food

If you are looking for authentic Hawaiian food, then there are some local food favorite venues that are affordable for Oahu prices. Consider visiting Helena’s Hawaiian food, Ono Seafood for local style poke bowls.

Here’s a quick look at delicious local food venues to try here in Honolulu and around Oahu island.

Road side stands around Oahu

Road side stands around Oahu

One many of the roadways around the island, you’ll hit some family run road side stands selling local snacks to whole meals with plate lunch or can even smell the delicious huli huli chicken roasting in a spit. You’ll enjoy visiting these local family run businesses and supporting them and have some delicious local food to eat.

Check out our other stories visiting Waikiki and Honolulu area

Waikiki sunset sail

Things to do in Waikiki at night time

Check out the Kaka’ako district in Honolulu

Explore the top attractions around Waikiki area

Top places to eat in Honolulu

Best restaurants in Waikiki

Best bars in Waikiki

Conclusion on How to eat cheap in Waikiki

Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.