Food trucks are a staple of the Hawaii experience. World-class food trucks exist all across the islands, but depending on where you’re visiting, it may be harder or easier to find what you’re looking for.

This is particularly true on the Big Island for many reasons. One is - it’s big! Everything is more spread out on the Island of Hawaii.

Another reason is reclusiveness. Food trucks on the Big Island are like big fish in the deep sea - they are often one-of-a-kind, always on the move, and sought after by countless hungry visitors. The search, however, is worth it.

Below is our guide to the best and how you can find and experience them while on the Island of Hawaii.

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Island Style Grindz

In a deck of cards, it’s the Ace of Spades. In wildlife photography, it’s a snow leopard. In the world of Hawaiian food trucks, it’s Island Style Grindz

Incredibly rare and incredibly sought after, this one-of-a-kind Big Island food truck is owned and operated by the somewhat mysterious culinary genius Shannon Javillonar. Javillonar is rumored to catch the fish himself, which he then cooks and serves himself with his family.

The truck is mobile, and its whereabouts and hours are constantly in flux - stealthily roaming the island's landscape like a lion in the savanna.

However, you can find and visit them if you try to follow them and check their weekly schedule on Instagram. And here is why you want to do that. 

Javillonar and his family own and operate what is often held up as the single-best food truck in the state. Wherever you find the truck, there will be a line, usually a long one - meaning calling to order ahead is always a good idea.

People flock because of the variety of fish plates made in true traditional Hawaiian fashion. The miso yaki butterfish is probably the most common and most praised, but as their website reveals, the variety is vast, and you cannot go wrong. 

Despite the ever-changing places and times, you can generally find Island Style Grindz open Wednesdays through Fridays in most of the Big Island’s major towns. This is the holy grail of supporting locals; eating fresh fish is on your to-do list.

Manuela Malasada

What would a Hawaii visit be without at least one act of indulgence in the drug known as the malasada? If you’re interested in food while you’re here - a likely scenario - then you should be interested in these.

We’ve published an ultimate guide to the Hawaiian malasada for those unfamiliar. If you’re on the Big Island and on the hunt, Manuela Malasada is the food truck you’re looking for - especially the guava and mango-filled malasadas, which everyone reliably loses minds over.  

Manuela Malasada has been featured on HGTV. They have locations all over Hawaii and even in California and Utah. On the Big Island, you will find them in Waimea.

You can follow them on Instagram for more info.

Embarking on a food truck journey across the Big Island is an adventure.

The quest for these culinary treasures, mobile beacons of gastronomic delight, leaves few disappointed. These vendors, day in and day out, season after season, offer surprises and joy to their patrons, unveiling a world rich with fresh, locally sourced, and meticulously prepared traditional cuisine.

The Big Island amplifies this experience. Here, the food trucks may be fewer and farther between, and the wait times longer — a small price for the unparalleled quality of food that awaits. This is the essence of seeking out the finest culinary experiences on the island.

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