Post Last Modified – April 30, 2021
Hilo Food Tours On The Big Island Of Hawaii
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One of the things we love to do when traveling to new destinations around the world is to take part in a Walking Food Tour, in order to sample and enjoy the local cuisine that you may or may not of even heard of. On our recent visit to the The Big Island of Hawaii, we did just that with Hilo Food Tours.
This is an excellent Walking Food Tour on the Hilo side of the Big Island.
Hilo Food Tours Historical Walking Lunch Tour
This company is relatively new and off to a great start! Owned and operated by two brothers hailing from Hawaii, it’s quite evident they have a passion for food, the local culture and its history, as well as supporting other small local businesses on the island.
“A Walking Culinary & Historical Journey!”
I’ve enjoyed a number of food tours around the globe and this one certainly ranks very high on the list, especially for a relatively new business in Hawaii.
Our guide for the tour and co-owner (Pono), greeted us promptly at our first restaurant in the original and very popular Old Hilo town.
Today, this historical area is filled with restaurants, gift shops, museums, markets and much more, making it a favorite area for visitors to this side of the island.
Ocean Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Hilo Food Tours – #1
This was an excellent introduction and start to our tour, beginning at an authentic Japanese restaurant. Back in 1868, Japanese immigrants flocked to Hawaii to work as contract laborers on the many sugar plantations on the islands.
Today, there still remains a very strong Japanese influence in the region and what a better way to start off the tour then sampling some wonderful Japanese cuisine!
Pono and his brother have meticulously worked with each establishment that we visited on the tour and in many cases, putting together a personalized sampler dish for their guests. This allows you an opportunity to sample some of the many items that may be available at that restaurant.
Their entire tour supports local small businesses only in the community, and are happy to have the names of the restaurants we attended mentioned in this post.
Do note however, that Hilo Food Tours works exclusively with these restaurants putting together a variety of sample dishes for you to taste, that cannot be purchased on their menu alone.
This first Japanese Delight was Absolutely Delicious!
Puka Puka Kitchen
Hilo Food Tours – #2
It was then on a short stroll to a local favorite establishment to sample a Hawaiian traditional sushi dish, not with fish but centered with traditional and still very popular Spam. 🙂
Referred to as Spam Musubi, this is a very popular food staple in Hawaii consisting of a slice of grilled Spam wrapped together with rice and seaweed.
A very surprisingly tasty form of sushi and would make a great snack! I was always aware of the ongoing popularity of Spam in Hawaii, but never served in this form.
Sugar Coast Candy
Hilo Food Tours – #3
A few steps down the sidewalk, we next tried some popular Hawaiian candy. Here, Pono brought out a few sweet popular Hawaiian Style Gummies for us to sample.
Excellent if you’re like me and need to satisfy that sweet tooth throughout the day!
Hilo Local Farmers Market
Hilo Food Tours – #4
It was then on to the very popular local farmers market just around the corner. This is a great place to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and much more.
Pono grabbed a few local traditional favorites for us to try, freshly grown on the island.
Here, we sampled Suman, a Filipino favorite dessert of sticky rice and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves. A really nice mixture offering a variety of flavors and easy to tell Suman would make a wonderful small dessert after a meal.
Next, we enjoyed a sample of Rambutan. This is a fruit native to Southeast Asia, but is now grown in many tropical climates, including Hawaii. A nice sweet flavor to tantalize the taste buds and healthy at the same time!
Poke N Sides
Hilo Food Tours – #5
Next up, we made our way to a local favorite establishment called Poke N Sides.
Here, we were able to sample a few of their most common dishes on the menu, including their signature Poke. Lomi salmon (salted salmon with tomato and onion), kim chee cucumber, and ho’io (fiddlehead fern) salad.
Poke (pronounced poh-keh), is an increasingly popular Hawaiian marinated raw fish dish and becoming very trendy for locals and visitors much like having Japanese sushi for a snack or meal in itself.
I particularly enjoyed the Lomi Salmon mixture. Delicious!
Hilo Bay Sugar Shack
Hilo Food Tours – #6
For something completely out of the ordinary and something you would never hear about or knew existed unless on one of these excellent food tours is; purple sweet potato, condensed milk and mango Hawaiian ice cream.
Bursting with flavors, who would have ever dreamed outstanding ice cream could be made with sweet potatoes!
Well, they’ve certainly figured it out here at the Hilo Bay Sugar Shack. 🙂
Hilo Food Tours – #7
Last but not least, we ended up in the very trendy Cafe Pesto on the edge of Hilo Bay. Pono finished the tour off with a mouth watering cheesecake with lilikoi (passionfruit) reduction, that was simply to die for!
Rich, creamy and smooth, it kept you wanting more and more.
A favorite dessert dish at this well known establishment and for very good reason.
For a relatively new business starting out in Hilo, Hawaii, these two entrepreneurs are off to a great start!
Hilo Food tours centers around Historical Old Town Hilo down at the Bay, where today it is slowly experiencing a rebirth. Now teeming with shops, markets, restaurants, museums and more coming in, now making it a perfect gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
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If you love food and experiencing local traditional dishes and eateries when traveling, then taking a food tour is a great introduction and experience. It’s the very first thing we look for when traveling to new destinations around the world.
If your travel plans have you visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, then do check out Hilo Food Tours.
You won’t be disappointed!
Below, I have listed their official website for your convenience, where you can access much more detailed information on tours offered, prices, contact info and much more.
Update April 2021
At this time, the Hilo Food Tours website is down & in all likelihood due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. I will update this post as soon as I receive an update from them.
I’ve also listed the Official Hawaii Tourism link below to their website page for your convenience. I’ve directed the link to their page on the Big Island. It’s filled with excellent information on everything this beautiful Island has to offer.
🏝 The Hawaiian Islands – Big Island Hawaii
Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂
Although our tour was in collaboration with Hilo Food Tours, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal experience only.
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