Nestled in a historic building across from the ocean on the lush east side of Oahu island, Waiahole Poi Factory is a family-owned business that makes 'ono ("delicious") Hawaiian food. The modest structure (It looks uninhabited when they're closed.) is a roadside restaurant, shop and poi factory.
Look for the sign — Photo courtesy of Waiahole Poi Factory
Waiahole Poi Factory specialize in top-quality poi (which is pounded taro root), a traditional Hawaiian staple food. They also sell traditional Hawaiian arts and musical instruments, as well as clothing and other accessories. In addition, the factory offers workshops for people interested in Hawaiian crafts to learn 'ohe hano ihu (bamboo nose flutes) and ipu (a gourd instrument).
The factory is one of the most traditional Hawaiian eateries on the island today. Guests can enjoy a meal there while looking at the ocean at an outdoor table, or take their food on the road. The menu includes delicious traditional dishes such as poi, kalua pig and squid or beef laulau. Chicken long rice, lomi salmon and poke and fern salad are also available. All dishes come in full or mini sizes. Haupia (a coconut dessert) is also on the menu. It's absolutely delicious.
This is one of those places where travelers can experience the culture of a locale through its food. The Waiahole Poi Factory serves some of the freshest and most traditional Hawaiian food on the island. Try the fern shoot salad and the mamake iced tea for something very different but delicious.
Visitors will pass the factory while traversing the oceanside highway between the North Shore and the east side. With plates ranging from $6.50 to $10.50, it's an affordable and healthy dining option.
The small shop at the factory also sells limited clothing (Waiahole Poi Factory shirts), reusable shopping bags and other accessories. Although many of them are functional, they also make great and unique souvenirs that can't be found elsewhere.
Handmade gourd drum — Photo courtesy of Waiahole Poi Factory
If taking food to go, enjoy on the North Shore at a gorgeous place like Sunset Beach or Pipeline. Or, explore Waimea Valley and bring the food in to eat at a picnic table.
For those headed in the other direction, grab some Hawaiian food to take on the road and have a picnic at beautiful Lanikai Beach in Kailua. The food is always served in to-go containers, so it's easy to venture on down the road and find a spot in nature to enjoy it in.
Waiahole Poi Factory
48-140 Kamehameha Hwy