Travel for Food: Hawaii featuring Banyan’s Island Grill

On my first trip to Hawaii, I ended up doing what I do best, and that was trying to eat my way around the island. Lucky for me, my hosts have been living on the island for three years and are very aware of all the awesome places to visit and eat at. Unbeknown to them, they were already embedded into the food culture of Hawaii due to their warm friendliness. Their instinctive ability to mingle and seek like-minded people led them to the owner of a lovely food truck called Banyan’s Island Grill. Traveling around the island of Hawaii, you will soon discover hundreds of food trucks serving up classic Hawaiian dishes, American staples, and other exotic meals. This Travel for Food section is dedicated to Banyan’s Island Grill with their simply-simple menu offering up fresh flavorful food…is a gem waiting to be uncovered.

Banyan’s Island Grill

Address: 67-106 Kealohanui St, Waialua, HI 96791



We visited Banyan’s Island Grill on a Sunday afternoon in a quaint part of the island called Waialua. Banyan is located near the historic Old Sugar Mill in beautiful Waialua Town on the North Shore of Oahu. It is nestled in a small lot surrounded by native plants next to an old Sugar Mill turned into a coffee and chocolate manufacturer along with a classic surf shop and other stores. A plus about this grill is the lack of long lines and tourists. While visiting the island, I was amazed at the number of tourists out and about, even with restriction of having to wear masks. While this means long lines and painfully annoying waits, it was nice to see that the island had increased visitors. As someone who comes from a nation that relies on tourism, I knew the good of having an increased amount of visitors to an island, but I’m also very aware of the downsides.

The afternoon we visited Banyan’s Island Grill while walking up to place our order, one customer who was already seated at a table turned to us raving over the fish taco. After she finished eating, she met us in the parking lot with a huge smile showing off the pictures she took of the fish taco while offering up her praises.

On my first visit, we had the fish taco, Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Plate with rice and salad, and North Shore Burger.

Two Island Fish Taco with Asian style Coleslaw spicy sauce, with fresh jalapenos on an Ube Tortilla.

North Shore Burger is made with ½ pound local beef, cheddar cheese, grill sweet onions, lettuce, tomatoes on a Taro bun with special sauce.

Below is the special was the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Plate with rice and salad.

I had the special, and I must say that their BBQ Chicken was very special to me. It was innately Hawaiian with its seasoning and sauce, but in my mouth, it took me back to the Caribbean with the smoky grill flavor that reminded me of jerk chicken and roadside BBQ. The taste of the salad was increased by the ginger-flavored dressing, which complemented and balanced the dish well.

Our trip to Banyan’s Island Grill was the highlight for our Sunday afternoon on the North Shore and its worth visiting at least once.

 Old Sugar Mill Brand Coffee & Chocolate 

Address: 67-106 Kealohanui St, Waialua, HI 96791

While waiting on our meal from Banyan’s Island Grill we stumbled into the Old Sugar Mill Brand Coffee & Chocolate. This was an old sugar mill that was turned into a coffee and chocolate processing business established in 1991. A highlight of this store is the Coffee & Chocolate Mill and their live cacao trees that are on display. They also sell a host of other items such a incents, local soaps, lotions, and other items that tourist would love to get their hands on.

The Old Sugar Mill Brand Coffee & Chocolate also feature other local Made in Hawaii products such as Hawaii’s Best Papaya Seed Salad Dressing, Aloha Peanut Butter, For J’s Salts and Seasonings, Uncle Mikey’s Dried Pineapple, Aloha Spice Company Spices, Hamakua Toffee Company’s Butter Toffee, Maui Jelly Factory Jams and Jellies, Manoa Honey Company Honey, Maui Rainbow Teas, Hamakua Macadamia Nuts, Ube Crinkle Cookies by Ubae and Old Sugar Mill Natural Shave Ice and Boba Drinks and much more. They had a very large stock of items and my favorite were the incents and soaps.

The pictures below are images I captured at the store from their picture board along with the cocoa plant in their garden.

Waialua Surf Shop

Address: 67-106 Kealohanui St, Waialua, HI 96791

Waialua Surf Shop Instagram:

Surf Shop Website:

Another store we visited was a surf shop located next to a soap factory, which sold surfboards, skateboards, t-shirts, sundresses, and other items. Waialua Surf Shop is a very chill place and is noted as one of the last old-school surf shops in Hawaii established in 1990. The shop hosts the 3rd Stone Surfboarding Factory and labels to design their own t-shirts in-house. While I was there, I purchased a t-shirt and a sketch from the artist and animator Andrew Miller, known as Drew Toonz.  This artist is well known and has several films and a YouTube channel that features his work.

For more information about Drew Toonz check out his instagram and YouTube channel below.

Drew Toonz Instagram:

Drew Toonz YouTube:

This was just the beginning of my journey in Hawaii. While I only had a few days on the island, you can be sure that what I uncovered was unique, different, and intriguing.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Travel for Food the Hawaii edition.

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