Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods fame might wince at the sight of SPAM, but Hawaii residents love the canned meat concoction. The SPAM musubi is a local favorite and a popular snack to take along on a hike or to curb midday munchies. I always take one when I hit the trails. For a crash course on all things musubi, swing by Musubi & Bento Iyasume on Seaside Avenue. They have a wide selection to choose from, including ones stuffed with egg, bacon, avocado, fish roe, and even spicy tuna. My favorite? the classic SPAM Musubi of course. A slice of SPAM, over a block of rice, and wrapped in nori (seaweed). That’s all you need.
A visit to Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering is like taking a crash course in Local Hawaiian Grinds 101. Founded in 1978 by Mel and Lynn Tanioka, this contemporary delicatessen has been serving local delicacies for nearly 30 years. Tanioka’s is as close as you can get to an IRL cheat sheet of local foods.
Located in the old plantation town of Waipahu, Tanioka’s popularity stems from their successful catering business, however, that doesn’t stop locals from standing in line (out the door and often in the hot sun) for some local comfort food. If Hawaii’s okazuya and crack seed shops of yesteryear were to have a baby, Tanioka’s would be it. And trust me, that baby is oh so delicious.