I love family picnics and Hawaii has many beautiful locations for picnics.
For me the best picnics are the ones unplanned and require a minimum amount of effort. It’s not unusual for us to decide to go on a spur of the moment picnic. Whether it’s to take the kids to the park after school or a family picnic dinner at one of the beaches, it’s always a fun way to share a meal and a great way to get kids out of the house and away from the TV.
Whatever the reason one thing a picnic requires is food. If there’s time, and if we have the ingredients, we bring food from home, sandwiches, bentos, fried chicken, or whatever is easiest. But many times its easier to pick up food on the way. Of course a quick stop at a KFC for a bucket of chicken, or trip to the local supermarket for a loaf of french bread and deli meats are both good options assuming you’re in the mood for fried chicken or sandwiches.
Technically a picnic is simply a meal you take to a park, beach, or other location; so there are no rules as to what you can bring. Hawaii has a great many options that are easy to bring and eat; not having to pack it back up and take it home is a plus; you just toss the containers and utensils in the nearest trash bin and your done.
Here are some of our favorite places to buy inexpensive picnic fare.
If you have a membership and it’s along the way Costco and Sam’s Club are great places to pick up picnic fare for a large group.
We love the turkey wraps from Costco, they’re sold in a tray and are sliced into pinwheels, easy and neat!
I also like Costco’s chicken salad made from their rotisserie chicken. I grab a container of salad and a box of Hawaiian Sweet Bread rolls, very yummy!
If you’re headed to the Ko’olina beaches on the Leeward side a stop at Tanioka’s in Waipahu is a must.
They have pre-packaged bentos and plate lunches, complete meals with meat and rice, starting at $5.50 or you can make your own by choosing ala carte from their showcases. The fish patty is delish! They also have fresh poki and sashimi and a selection of desserts. Every thing is packed to go.
This is a very popular place and the lines can go out the door, but service is pretty fast and they’ll have you out and on your way in no time as long as you know what you want.
After a visit to Pearl Harbor, or on the say to Blaisdell Park, a stop at Kabuki Restaurant & Deli in the Waimalu Shopping Center in Aiea is great for a quick fairly inexpensive take out lunch. The window facing the parking lot has a big selection of food for a boxed lunch.
We have been going there for years to pick up boxed lunches for the kids’ field trips and even to take on the plane with us when we go to the mainland.
I like their corned beef hash, cone sushi, and shrimp tempura! But go early to avoid the long line and also the window closes at 1:30 pm. The restaurant re-opens at 5:00 and serves dinner until 8:30 pm.
For great bentos stop at the counter at any Zippy’s in the islands.
Their Zip Pac has a slice of teri beef, a slick of span, a piece of fried fish, and a fried chicken thigh on a bed of rice for under $10. This is one of my favorites
Mitsu-ken Okazu on North King Street in Kalihi is a local favorite. If you’re in Honolulu stop by and grab a plate of their Garlic Chicken, it’s yummy.
Stop by early, they close at 1:00 pm and are closed on Mondays.
2300 N King St
Honolulu, HI 96819[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
If you’re in the Stadium/Pearl Harbor area grab a manapua (meat bao) or two from Aiea Manapua & Snacks
They have steamed and baked manapua with different fillings. They also have fried noodles, rice cakes, pork hash, and other goodies. Manapuas are just a bit over a buck each.
They make these great mini- manapuas for .99 cents each, minimum order a dozen. These are great for family picnics or parties. Just order them a day in advance. If you want to bring some home to the mainland they will freeze your manapua and box them for traveling, just give them a 24 hour notice. I love this place!Aiea Village Square, 99-149 Moanalua Rd, Ste103, (808) 488-7443
If you’re picnicking on the Windward side you can grab food at Masa & Joyce Okazuya on Kam Hwy. in Kaneohe.
If you’re heading to the North Shore there’s a 7/11 right on Kam Hwy. as you enter Haleiwa town, that’s where we stop all the time when we go fishing at Haleiwa Harbor or Haleiwa Beach Park.
Or pick up a box of turnovers from Paalaa Kai Bakery in Wailua just before you head to Haleiwa town.
They sell a large assortment of fresh baked turnovers including Pineapple, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Coconut along with other favorites such as Ensaymada and Malasadas.
Then you can head to the market next door and pick up some of the best fried chicken on the island and some bentos too!