In the Mix

Food truck frenzy

November 7th, 2010

Henry "Hank" Adaniya, left, of Hank's Haute Dogs stopped by Melt, a new food truck focusing on grilled cheese sandwiches, during its soft opening last month. Also pictured are Melt co-owners Alejandro "Aker" Briceno, second from left, and Martha Cheng, in truck; not pictured is co-owner Lindsey Ozawa.


With so many new additions to Honolulu's mobile culinary landscape, it's fair to call 2010 the Year of the Food Truck.

That's not to say we're in the midst of a "Food Truck Revolution," or that the rookies in town are really doing anything different other than elevating the ingredients involved and/or offering different cuisine than what's been available.

And let's not forget about the good old-fashioned manapua truck, which can still be found in many neighborhoods on the island. Another option is the ice cream truck, like the one pictured at right (find it on the North Shore). Head out to the leeward side, and you'll be able to find trucks like these in neighborhoods from Waianae and Ewa Beach out to Maili and Makaha.

Still, with the options now available for both foodies and those looking for a cheap, quality meal, along with the explosion of taco trucks in recent months, you could spend days eating all of your meals outdoors at all the different spots open on Oahu.

And that's exactly what this columnist tried to do over the last few weeks. The interesting thing about food trucks? The more you pay attention, the more you'll find in operation.

Lunch wagons are ubiquitous in many parts of urban Honolulu during the midday hours, while on the weekends it's easy to find one near the beach parks and other recreation areas frequented by local folks. For every five you know exist, there are another five or even 10 trucks you've never seen before.

Even some of Oahu's most popular bricks-and-mortar eateries are getting into the food truck game. While some, like Haili's Hawaian Foods and Magoo's, went the mobile route when their restaurant operations failed, others are looking to make the jump in reverse.

Cholo's, located in the North Shore Marketplace, is one of those restaurants. They've spent the last few months buying and shipping a heavy duty food truck to Oahu, and are almost done getting all the necessary permits to operate. Look for their new truck, pictured at right, on the North Shore during the upcoming Vans Triple Crown of Surf.

Click here to take a virtual tour of 20 different food trucks, including a few that have yet to start serving customers. It's not a comprehensive list, so don't be surprised if your favorite lunch wagon isn't included. Our goal was to list a variety of food choices, including a few "old school" favorites and some of the newest players in the game.

Want more food truck picks? Wondering what happened to a mention of the iconic shrimp trucks on the windward side?

Check back with The Pulse in a few days for a post focusing on the food truck options available on the North Shore of Oahu as part of an upcoming feature on the neighborhood.

14 Responses to “Food truck frenzy”

  1. Keaunuijr:


  2. Haleiwa12:

    mmm i remeber pancho goldsteins!

  3. Anonymous:

    Are they up to sanitation code? Had one meal at a Food truck on Maui.....had the runs for days.

  4. Anonymous:

    How many of these trucks have health department permits and how many food handlers are free from TB?

  5. Willow_wie:

    very good point. the health dept. used to be dependable. now, i think they are understaffed and indifferent. The public deserves to know .

  6. Jen:

    You are so right, and it is sad that people like us are not reconized when we have concerns for the pblic and our kids. Example. That tacky looking cafe across the prison tat is such a tacky eye sore but nothing can be doneabout it!!!!!

  7. Sansi1002:

    I recently started a food wagon business, you have to have a commercial kitchen to prepare and cook your food and a TB is a must. And YES The health department watches us like a hawk. Why are all these small business trying to cause a problem for us trying so hard to make a living. If they think that we don't pay high prices for renting a commercial kitchen, then they should do more homework on the lunch wagon business. And yes, there are rules as too where you can park, there's a vending permit, roadside permit, commercial land permit, county permit, but no parking on any state highways. There is alot of laws that a lunch wagon has to follow.

  8. kat:

    Being a cafe, small business owner, the impact of these trucks are putting us out of business. I pride myself on offering a eating experience that also includes a nice place to sit and enjoy the food. These food trucks do not have the overhead what small business cafes or restaurants have and most of them only accept cash. Hmm what does that tell you? I work hard to provide for my family and resent a lunch wagon that pulls up and parks on the same street as my business. That means I have to keep my prices competative with theirs to stay in business. There is a City Ordinance of Honolulu Sec. 15-13.6 Selling on highways restricted. This ordinance states that it is unlawful for any vendor, peddler or huckster to carry on or solicit business in one location on any street or on any public highway for a period of more than 15 MINUTES. Upon vacating one location, it is unlawful for such itinerant vendor, peddler or huckster to take up another location to carry on or solicit business within 300 feet of such location or any location previously vacated within three hours. So I ask why was this law made? I assume to protect small business owners. My next question is, why is it not being enforced? I think that lunch wagons are becoming out of control and that it is an eyesore in some areas that are saturated by them.

  9. Ytz:

    I like competitive prices. And if your food was better than the lunch wagon, I would walk the 10 ft and go to your restaurant, not the lunch wagon. Maybe that says something?

  10. Islandmjk:

    some people have to make a living like you do....maybe they have something they like and you don't. It's fast food..people don't have to wait...cheaper food....home cooked food. And I hope these food trucks are clean and being checked by the health department.

  11. Anonymous:

    Food truck? I've never been to one recently and don't intend to. Remember eating out anywhere is not healthy eating so do it once in a great while. Feed your body the food that will nourish it not send you to the doctor for treatments or medication. I have so many friends who have to take meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. One guy I met recently told me that without the 37 pills he takes daily, he probably wouldn't be alive yet he keeps eating junk food. Stop the insanity!

  12. Anonymous:

    It's all about supply and demand...a $6.00 plate lunch is the attraction the "food truck" has for me. Most Korean plates have gone up and are about $9.00 for me if I can save on the meal and get a soda for under $9.00 then that is a deal.

  13. Armil@truckdrivingjobs:

    usually foods sold in these food trucks are delicious and at affordable price that's why it has been popular to many. i just hope that owners are responsible enough to keep their foods clean and safe to eat at all times. but for my self, i would love trying their foods.

  14. Best of Our Web: The Year of the Food Truck? – Honolulu, Hawaii Calendar of Events – Hawaii Entertainment and Nightlife – Honolulu Pulse:

    [...] kimchi fries are on the menu at Gogi Tacos, one of 20 food trucks we visited in recent weeks. Visit to see the complete lineup, including pictures of a few trucks scheduled to open for business in [...]

Recent Posts

Recent Comments