Must try Hawaiian snacks that locals love to eat on the islands

What do locals in Hawaii love to snack on the islands with a sweet or savory bite, or maybe a little bit of both? Locals love these tasty Hawaii snacks that are popular Hawaii food favorites on the islands in fact, most love to snack all day but they won’t tell you that they just love to snack all the time.

Check out these favorite Hawaii snacks that everyone loves to much on between meals to enjoy on the islands. Find out which ones are the tastiest to try now.

Locals love these tasty Hawaii snacks

Best Hawaiian inspired snacks

You can find all these snacking treats at your local farmers markets, grocery stores or even street vendor selling their favorite foodie snacks for public purchase.  Even local mom and pop shops will special in a few of these treats for you to snack on when hunger pangs happen before the main meals. Check out all these must try Hawaiian snacks below for you to try soon!

Malasada

Malasada

Fresh Malasada fried and ready to eat is oh so good and even better if it has a delicious filling inside like popular cream, chocolate or tropical flavored jelly or fruit. You’ll get addicted to malasadas fast and will want to try out all the different places that offer unique bites and flavors to try from their shops. You need to try this sweet Hawaiian snack when you visit the islands.

Check where to find the best malasadas in Hawaii here to find your favorite spots around the islands now.

Sweet mochi snacks

Sweet mochi snacks

A favorite sweet indulgence, mochi has always been a sweet treat to go for in Hawaii. You must try this Hawaiian snack if you like the traditional kind or more unusual new flavors with tropical tastes including mango, lilikoi, guava and whole variety that caters to every sweet tooth. Check out this post on the best mochi on the islands here and some history about this delicious snack.

Spam musubi, a tasty snacks in Hawaii

Spam musubi

This is the typical go to snack local Hawaiian snack on the islands. You can easily find spam musubi sold everywhere from convenience stories, deli take out counters to even the gas station food sections. Spam musubi typically is spam slices rolled in rice and seaweed wrapper to give you an easy savory snack to tie you over between meals and it is cheap and easy to eat.

Spam musubi is an easy snack to make, check out how to juice it up with this fun recipe video below.

Manapua snacks Locals love these tasty Hawaii snacks

Manapua

For those looking for hot, kind of sweet meat and savory in a steamed pork bun, then fresh from the steamer, manapua will hit the spot. You can get manapua or the equivalent of a  Char sui bun. These steamed buns come in a variety of fillings including: chicken, kalua pork, sweet potato, curry and even veggie versions for a nice hot take-out food to tie you over between meals.

Can’t find a place to buy manapua in your area, why not make it yourself?

Hawaiian Shave Ice a sweet and tasty Hawaii snack

Shave Ice

Who doesn’t love a shave ice on a hot day when smooth and melt in your mouth spoonful of tasty and flaky shave ice filled with flavorful tropical inspired juices from Mango, Coconut, lilikoi, Guava and almost unlimited combinations that you can ask for in one cup depending on the size and flavors you are craving. There’s nothing like a big cup of shave ice to satisfy your cravings on a day between errands or just taking a nice break to snack on something broke da mouth (delicious).

Who has the best shave ice? Check out the top favorites on this post showing all the local favorites around the islands now.

Boiled peanuts is a tasty Hawaii snack

Boiled peanuts

Who knew that boiled peanuts are a popular favorite snack on the islands and so easy to do or just buy from a roadside stand or market. Problem with boiled peanuts is that they are addictive and very easy to eat up in one serving, so you have to make a lot to share with friends.

You can easily make your own boiled peanuts here for making your own to snack on now.

Edamame beans

Edamame beans

Another popular favorite food that typically is served in their shell and slathered with lots of garlic and shoyu type dressing is edamame, although so many different versions of this dish make this an addictive snacking food.

Try these recipes for simple edamame done two different ways in this video below.

local Beef Jerky and other tropical versions are tasty Hawaii snacks

local jerky and other tropical versions

Beef jerky snacks are big on the islands with regular and local brands offering tradition beef jerky to more tropical tastes of local flavors or spiced meats to include: Beef, local fish, pig, cuttle fish varieties.

Japanese Arare crackers

Japanese Arare crackers

You’ll find Japanese arare crackers a delicious snack for those looking for soyu, seaweed or spicy crackers with a kick to include wasabi, pepper and the standard soyu type of crunchy snacks. Popular versions include the arare peanuts with mixed blends of this savory and crunchy snack. You’ll find arare available in many local markets, convenience stores to popular stores like Longs Drugs that carry a wide variety of local snacks and an extensive selection of arare type crackers.

Hurricane popcorn

Hurricane popcorn

You can’t get enough of this savory snack made basically with fresh hot popcorn, warm butter with arare crackers and lots of furikake flakes. This favorite salty and savory treat fills all the snacking requirements that local peeps really go for when they start getting some hunger pangs.

You can easily make your own hurricane popcorn for a quick snack, check out the recipe video below.

Taro chips

Taro chips

Taro chips are the alternate to typical chip brands but with a healthier snack product. Made of taro root the chips are sliced thin to with the purple root and baked. Tossed with sea salt, this is a healthy and addicted local version of chips that will satisfy and salty snack cravings in anyone.

Can’t find tara chips for sale in your area, how about making it on your own with this easy to follow instruction below?

Chinese pretzels

Chinese pretzels

You’ll always find a street side vendor frying up some hot and sweet Chinese pretzels for sale and made to order. These delicious deep fried dough pretzels and sprinkled with powdered sugar are so good when eaten fresh, but just as delicious when the mood hits and you have a bag ready for an instant snack.

Panadillas

Panadillas

These Puerto Rican versions of the popular empanadas are a favorite snack food on the islands. Typically made with pork or beef, garlic, onions, cilantro and wrapped in a tender crusty dough that is oh so good when it is freshly deep fried and ready to eat. You’ll find panadillas sold at roadside stands, farmers markets to small mom and pop deli stands that have fresh take away that you can easily heat up and snack away on your own.

Li hing on anything good

Li hing on anything good

Li hing powder is sprinkled on everything snacky it seems, the most popular think to have with Lin Hing is Margaritas or Mai Tais, popular gummy bear type jellies, dried or pickled fruit, shave ice and even pop corn for a savory flavored snack that’s distinctively Hawaiian.

Poke 7 1

Poke

A popular take out food usually served with rice in a rice bowl with your favorite poke topping. This hearty dish is a snack to a hearty meal depending on what time of day and how much you order. This delicious local snack can be quite filling and could take the place of any meal, but without rice works very well as a snack or appetizer dish.

Conclusion on local Hawaii snacks

Thanks for checking out all these popular local Hawaiian snacks, hope many of these favorites snacks were on your list to try some day. Did we miss any other popular snacks in Hawaii? Please share your favorites in the comment section below.

Check out these other Hawaii topics

Popular Hawaiian dishes you need to try

Traditional Hawaiian food favorite dishes

Farmers markets in Hawaii

A Hawaii travel guide primer

Avocado season in Hawaii

Mango season in Hawaii

Pineapple season in Hawaii

Growing Tomatoes in Hawaii

Fun and interesting facts about Hawaii

Learn some Hawaiian slang or pidgin


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10 Comments

  1. Jeff & Crystal

    What a delicious way to start my morning. You have certainly assembled an amazing array of tasty Hawaiian snacks. It’s a little funny to see the Spam sushi, which we tried for the first time just a couple of months ago. Definitely an acquired taste.

    Reply
    • emorata

      There’s a lot of delicious flavors and bites in these tasty Hawaiian snacks to experience when you visit

      Reply
  2. Jackie K Smith

    ALL of my favorites. . .Spam, poke, malasadas. . .OMG, my mouth is watering!

    Reply
    • emorata

      Yes they are all yummy and tasty Hawaiian snacks to enjoy, glad you tried most of them.

      Reply
  3. Cathy Sweeney

    How have I missed out on some of these treats when I’ve visited Hawaii? My mouth is really watering over the manapua. Looks amazing. Good tips for a visit when we can travel again.

    Reply
    • emorata

      You definitely need to come back and try out all these tasty Hawaiian snacks soon!

      Reply
  4. michele h peterson

    Now I’ve got a craving for these intriguing snacks – give me some of those mochi — mango flavour please!

    Reply
    • emorata

      You definitely would love trying some of these delicious Hawaii snacks some day

      Reply
  5. IRENE S. LEVINE

    All these snacks look so unique and absolutely mouth-watering! I can almost tasted them!

    Reply
    • emorata

      There’s a lot of variety in all these tasty Hawaiian snacks

      Reply

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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.