Post Last Modified – October 19, 2022 ¦ gr8traveltips.com
One of the things we love to do when traveling to new destinations, is to take part in 🚶 Walking Cultural Food Tours. These tours are great for being able to sample and enjoy the local cuisine, that you may or may not of even heard of.
On our 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.
This company was relatively new during our visit, and looks like they were definitely 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.
They are also committed to supporting other small local businesses on the 🏝 Island as well.
“A Walking Culinary & Historical Journey!”
My wife and I have enjoyed a number of food tours on our travels, and this one certainly ranks very high on the list.
For a relatively new business in Hawaii, these 2 brothers have done a great job!
Our guide for the tour and co-owner (Pono), greeted us promptly at our first restaurant, located 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.
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 that were situated 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, should you choose to return on your own once again.
Their entire tour supports local small businesses only in the community, and were 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.
These samplers, are ones that cannot be purchased on their menu alone.
This first Japanese Delight was Absolutely Delicious!
Hilo Food Tours – #2
Continuing on and just a short stroll away, our next stop was to a local favorite establishment.
Here, we were able 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.
Hilo Food Tours – #3
A few steps down the sidewalk, we next tried some popular Hawaiian 🍬 Candy.
Here, Pono brought out a few sweet and very 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 Food Tours – #4
It was then on to the very popular local farmers market, just around the corner in the heart of Old Town.
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!
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.
It’s much like having Japanese sushi for a snack or meal in itself.
I particularly enjoyed the Lomi Salmon mixture.
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, situated 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.
This is a favorite dessert dish at this very 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, making it a perfect gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
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, anywhere 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!
Update October 2022
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.
All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of gr8traveltips.com and are copyright protected. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫
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