Food Trucks in Hawaii

Food truck popularity has been sweeping the country with most mentions discussing the New York or California markets. Now that I am in the food truck biz myself, it's ironic to think back to my own experience in the early 80s on Oahu where it wasn't uncommon to find Leonard's iconic red and white striped truck selling hot malasadas on the North Shore.

It made perfect sense to bring the islands favorite donuts to the famous waves of the north shore so locals living miles away from Leonard's brick and mortar bakery would be able to enjoy them hot and fresh.

The original Leonard's Bakery is located in Honolulu on Kapahulu Ave. not far from the Honolulu Zoo. Founded in 1952, Leonard is credited with bringing the Portuguese treat to the islands. One of my favorite things to do is to pick up a pink box of fresh hot malasadas and take them down the street to Queen's Beach to gobble them down with a carton of milk, also purchased at Leonard's. If you're visiting Oahu this should be on your bucket list of things to do.

Long before Leonard's truck, the Manapua Man  delivered fresh Manapua on foot carrying containers on both ends of a bamboo pole over his shoulder. In the 70s the Manapua Man began delivering more than just Manapua using wagons or vans. Eventually the Manapua Man began driving, you guessed it, a Food truck.

Another bit of Hawaiian food truck irony is that the hottest food trucks on Oahu today are the North Shore Shrimp Trucks. They sprung up from the Kahuku shrimp farms where I used to purchase shrimp and prawns from a road side shack along Kam. Highway. Referring it to as a shack is actually being generous. The irony is I passed the shrimp farms everyday, my daughters went to, and my grandchildren currently go to, Kahuku High School. "Go Red Raiders!"

Today shrimp trucks, such as the Kahuku Shrimp Truck, Macky's and Giovani's compete for the claim of having the BEST signature dish of the north shore's shrimp trucks, the garlic shrimp plate. The North Shore Shrimp Trucks spread miles along the coast's Kam. Highway from Punaluu all the way to Haleiwa, with the Kahuku trucks smack in the middle.

I would never have guessed years later the hottest food trucks on Oahu would be from my back yard, or that I would own my own Hawaiian food truck in St. Louis, Missouri.


  1. Great post. I liked reading about the food trucks that are popping up all over Hawaii now. Thanks for sharing the wonderful post. Have a great day.
    Classic Body Worx


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