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Hawaii on a Budget: Top 17 Best Cheap Eats on Oahu

Looking to save money on food for your next trip to Oahu? Find out the best cheap eats on Oahu that will satisfy any craving! Scroll to see them all!
This best cheap eats on Oahu post was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

While Hawaii is an amazing place to visit, we all know that it is definitely not cheap.

From the airfare to the hotel to activities, it can all add up.

Find out the cheapest places to stay on Oahu

Thankfully, there are some places where you can get amazing deals on some great food. I do not mean fast food places like McDonald’s either; I am talking about the type of food that will make you crave more.

Hawaii has some of the best food in the world! Part of that is because a lot of the food is inspired by other global cuisine, primarily Asian cuisine.

If you are planning to go to Hawaii on a budget, here are the best cheap eateries on Oahu!

Now just because I say cheap does not mean that you get bad food, just the opposite! You can still find super delicious meals that are inexpensive.

The sizes are not small, either. Oftentimes, you get more food than you can handle!

Keep scrolling to find the best cheap eats Oahu has to offer!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Hawaii blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Oahu on a budget.

Best Budget-Friendly Oahu Tours/Activities

Best Budget-Friendly Oahu Hotels

Want to Rent a Car in Hawaii?
One of the best places to rent a car in Hawaii is Discount Hawaii Car Rental because they get the best rates from top national companies like Alamo, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, Enterprise, Budget, and Payless.

Hawaii on a Budget: Top 8 Best Cheap Eats on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids

17 Cheap Eats on Oahu

Here are the top cheap places to eat in Oahu!

1. Foodland

Foodland is a locally owned supermarket all across Hawaii, especially on Oahu. You can find one just about anywhere!

Here you can find your groceries, sanitary needs, and souvenirs. However, you can also get some great pre-made meals as well!

Here are some of our top favorite quick, cheap meals at Foodland:

Poke Bowl

Try a poke bowl with either rice or salad, topped with some of the best poke you will find on the island. Poke bowls cost $7.99 and are filled to the top full of fish.

You can also turn them into poke nachos by eating them with tortilla chips.


Bentos are a Japanese-style take-out lunch. They often include a type of meat, rice, and vegetable.

There are many pre-made Bentos in the warmer at Foodland, all ready to grab and go. They can have eggs and sausage, little smokies, chicken, etc.

You can also get a bento that includes poke on rice, along with some fried chicken for the same price.


Musubi is a sushi-style snack and meal in Hawaii that everyone loves. The most famous one includes spam rolled together onto a block of rice and wrapped in seaweed.

There are many flavors and varieties, like kalua pork, chicken adobo, mochiko chicken, and more. They are very filling and only cost a couple of dollars.

You can get poke bowls, Bentos, and musubi at most places around the island, not just Foodland.

Foodland has some of the best prices for poke bowls, though. It is a simple, easy, and cheap option for food that will not disappoint.

It is definitely one of the best places to eat in Waikiki on a budget.

2. Kahuku Food Trucks

Along the North Shore, you will find Kahuku, a town filled with food trucks.

Hawaii on a Budget: Top 8 Best Cheap Eats on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: The best things to do in North Shore Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Stopping at a shrimp truck is just one of the best things to do on North Shore Oahu. Get the full North Shore guide from Hawaii blog Hawaii Travel with Kids
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

You will find a range of different types of food, from garlic shrimp to Thai food, Chinese food, and Mexican food. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck has both mini and regular-size plates full of jumbo-size shrimp and rice.

Most of the food trucks offer mini and regular plates. The mini plates are often half of the regular, both in size and price.

The thing about food trucks is that they stack the food, so you can get a mini plate and be full for the rest of the day! Plates go from $7-12 typically, but it also depends on what you get.

3. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue has lots of traditional Hawaiian meals. What I love about this place is that they completely stack their plates full of meat!

Each plate comes with some scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and then meat or seafood. If you don’t like macaroni salad, you can always substitute it for salad. Sometimes you can get fries on the side instead for a couple of cents extra.

They have both mini and regular options when it comes to their authentic Hawaiian food plates. They also have many other choices to choose from as well, including some hamburgers and saimin.

Their prices are around the same as the food trucks, $7-12. You can find L&L all across the island (and even franchises on the Mainland!)

When visiting Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to stop here for more of the best cheap eats Waikiki has to offer.

4. Ted’s Bakery

Another one along the North Shore is Ted’s Bakery.

While they do have bakery items, you can grab some tasty plate lunches as well. Find some chicken katsu, hot fresh sandwiches, or some garlic shrimp plates that will make your mouth water.

They also provide breakfast plates, so you can grab a bite to eat before you head out to surf! They have been nominated for some of Hawaii’s best food for three years in a row!

For some incredible Hawaiian food, stop by Ted’s Bakery!

5. Zippy’s

Zippy’s is actually a restaurant that has some great affordable prices. It is another perfect place to stop and eat because they have them all over the island. This place probably has the biggest selection of food choices.

The best part about it is that most are open 24 hours!

Here you can find burgers, chili, plate lunches, sushi, barbecue beef, Korean chicken, grilled chicken, noodle soup, fried chicken, and so much more! Again, you have the option to choose mini or regular.

Most items cost less than $10, which is great for travelers on a budget!

For some of the best cheap food in Honolulu, stop by Zippy’s.

And if you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can find Zippy’s meals in the frozen foods section of the grocery store!

6. Rainbow Drive-In

Rainbow’s is very similar to Zippy’s. It has an excellent selection for any time of the day. They have many local meals on the menu that are very cheap. So you can experience Hawaiian food while staying on a budget!

Hawaii on a Budget: Top 8 Best Cheap Eats on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids: Rainbow Drive In is one of the best places to eat on Oahu for families
Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

All plate lunches are less than $10 and will definitely fill you up.

Unlike Zippy’s, you can mainly only find Hawaiian foods, such as spam, sausages, and musubi at Rainbow Drive In.

If you aren’t interested in that, you will probably be happier at Zippy’s or another place. While they have a good variety when it comes to Hawaiian food, that is all you will find at Rainbow Drive-in.

Personally, we love their loco moco and their beef stew! It’s one of the best restaurants on Oahu and the best cheap place to eat in Honolulu.

Get my easy Hawaiian Loco Moco recipe

7. Lam’s Kitchen

Head to Chinatown for some cheap eats on Oahu.

Here you can find some of the best Chinese food. Lam’s Kitchen is one of them. Almost everything on the menu is priced at less than $10. You can get some of your favorite Chinese foods for only a couple of dollars!

If your favorite food is Chinese, you have to stop at Lam’s Kitchen for your next fix. It will not disappoint.

It’s another one of the best cheap restaurants in Waikiki.

8. Marukame Udon

For more cheap eats Honolulu offers head to Marukame Udon. While Udon noodles are the most common food item on the menu, you can also find shrimp tempura, rice bowls, salads, and more.

Prices range from $5 to $12 for most items, making it very affordable!

There are two locations, one in Downtown Honolulu and another in Waikiki, both open daily.

9. Maguro Spot

Another one of the best cheap places to eat in Waikiki is Maguro Spot.

Here you will find delicious poke bowls that have some of the freshest fish you will find. You get to make your own bowls or choose from their specials.

It is one of the cheapest places to get a poke bowl, as a small is only $5, a medium is $8.50, and a large is $12!

You can also find some shave ice here too.

10. Topped Waikiki

If you want a Korean restaurant, head to Topped Waikiki. Everything on their menu is from $9 to $17, which isn’t too bad.

You will find Kalbi steak and egg, shoyu chicken, spicy pork dupbap, and other items.

Topped Waikiki is another one of the more affordable restaurants Waikiki has to offer.

11. Farmer’s Markets

The Farmer’s Markets will offer some of the best cheap eats you can get on the island. From Hawaiian food to fresh produce, you will find local ingredients in everything at the markets.

Hawaii fruit from Farmer's Market

You will find these all over the island. Locals and tourists alike will love finding fresh fish, produce, and plate lunches at these markets.

Check out Oahu’s Farmer’s Markets

12. Steak Shack

Steak Shack is one of the inexpensive restaurants in Waikiki, especially for steak.

You have the option of choosing a steak, chicken, or combo plate lunch that includes white rice and a greens salad.

These lunches range from $12 to $16 for 6oz of meat. If you want more meat, the prices rise higher and higher.

If you want a meal with steak, this is a more affordable option.

13. Nico’s Pier 38

Nico’s Pier 38 is one of Honolulu best cheap eats. Here you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Breakfast is anywhere from $3 to $16, lunch starts at $6, and dinner can be anywhere from $8 to $33.

Choose from a plate lunch, spring salad, chicken katsu, lomi salmon, short ribs, and much more. They have a pretty extensive menu here, which is so helpful!

If you get the cheap items on the menu, they will fit nicely with your budget, just don’t get tempted by the higher menu items!

At Nico’s Pier 38, you will also find a fish market where local fishermen have some fresh fish you can buy to make your own poke and other seafood.

14. Musubi Café Iyasume

Another one of the best cheap places to eat in Honolulu, Hawaii, is Musubi Cafe Iyasume. This place specializes in rice balls that are incredibly delicious.

You will also find the classic spam musubi and tons of variations. Everything is between $2 to $3, so it is super cheap and filling!

A spam musubi

What is so nice about Musubi Cafe Iyasume is that you will find 6 different locations all over the island, so no matter where you are, you will find one near you.

For some of the best cheap food Waikiki has to offer, head here.

15. Oahu Mexican Grill (OMG)

One of the cheap eats by Waikiki Beach is Oahu Mexican Grill (OMG). Here you will find fish tacos and other Mexican plate lunch options that are mouth-watering.

Prices range from $7 to $15; with generous portions, these prices are amazing!

Try some fish tacos, nachos, burritos, bowls, and so much more.

There are two locations on Oahu, one in Waikiki and another in Honolulu.

16. Ono Seafood

For some of the best poke you will ever taste, head to Ono Seafood. It has some of the freshest fish on the island, and the poke bowls made here are incredible.

A delicious poke bowl

These poke bowls are made to order, so you know they will be fresh and delicious.

A regular bowl is $11.75, and a large one is $13.75, so very affordable. You get two choices of poke with each bowl and some white rice.

Ono Seafood is another one of the best affordable restaurants in Waikiki.

17. Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Helena’s Hawaiian Food is another one of the best cheap eats in Honolulu. Here you will find only the best Hawaiian food, including poi, mac salad, LauLau, Kalua pig, Lomi salmon, short ribs, and haupia.

At Helena’s Hawaiian Food, you will find generous portions for an affordable price. Most items on the menu are between $5 and $15.

You cannot go wrong with Helena’s Hawaiian Food, located at School St., for more cheap food Waikiki offers.

Cheap Eats on Oahu FAQs

How to eat cheap in Hawaii on vacation?

There are plenty of ways to save money on food in Hawaii. Take advantage of Happy Hour deals, shop at grocery stores and farmer’s markets, look for coupons, and eat at food courts in the mall. Plus, there are plenty of cheap eats in Oahu that will give you delicious food!

Where do locals eat in Oahu?

It’s always a smart idea to see where locals eat because it’s probably the best value for tasty food! On Oahu, locals tend to eat at Rainbow Drive-In, Ono Seafood, and Musubi Cafe Iyasume.

What is Oahu’s most famous food?

When traveling to Oahu, you’ll want to try loco mocomalasadaskalua porkHawaiian shrimpand shave ice! These are just some of the top things to eat in Oahu!

How much is an average meal in Oahu?

The average meal in Oahu can cost between $8 to $15 for breakfast and lunch and $10 to $25 for dinner. If you head to any of these Oahu cheap eats, you can get the best bang for your buck!

How much should I budget for food per day for Oahu?

When visiting Oahu, you should plan around $50 per person per day for food. You can get a lot of plate lunches and other delicious food that will help you stick to your budget while eating at all the must-eat places in Oahu!

Is it cheaper to eat out or buy groceries in Hawaii?

It is usually cheaper to buy groceries in Hawaii than to eat out all the time. If you have a kitchen in your rental, stop at Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores to save more on your food budget!

What are some of the cheap food in Hawaii?

Plate lunches are usually the cheapest food to get in Hawaii. It comes with meat, like fried chicken, garlic shrimp, fresh fish, or chicken katsu, along with macaroni salad and rice. A poke bowl is another one of the cheap food Oahu has to offer.

Best Cheap Eats on Oahu Wrap-Up

These are just some of the best cheap eats on Oahu!

Although planning a trip to Hawaii may seem overwhelming due to the high prices, there are ways to get the cost down.

Many places have cheap eats on Oahu. You won’t have to have fast food either. You won’t be bargaining your money for food quality; these places serve amazingly delicious food.

From a plate lunch to fried chicken, or even a seafood restaurant with high-quality sashimi, you will find tons of cheap eats to enjoy for your entire trip!

You skip the fancy expensive restaurants and try out one of these best cheap eats next time you go to the island.

Loving this cheap eats on Oahu feature? Find out more ways to do Hawaii on a Budget and read my guide to Oahu on a budget.