1. Got’z Grindz
The Hawaiian local favorite, Got’z Grindz, is a fantastic place for delicious musubi and amazing poke bowls. It’s definitely worth the extra effort to get there too since it’s located off the beaten path. Once you’re on Kamehameha Highway, though, it should be easy enough to find. Countless choices of musubi will definitely put you in a good mood after your trip getting here. Every bite is packed with flavor of this ideal rice-to-topping ratio. Oh and don’t forget ordering their garlic noodles as a side dish – they’re phenomenal and highly recommended!
2. Higoto Japanese Eatery
Take the long line outside Higoto Japanese Eatery in Kaimukī as a normal activity in this shop. Maybe just like me you’re thinking “are there even enough parking stalls at this small shopping center? But if you can try their musubi, especially the cheeseburger musubi, you’ll get to know why this shop is always packed with people . Trust me , these fistfuls of rice and generously portioned toppings are glorious. You can indulge it while you walk or sit everywhere, this musubi will surely fill you.
3. Komedokoro M’s
If you want the best rice experience possible in Waikīkī, explore a little off the beaten path. I’m talking about Komedokoro M’s, a tiny store with shelves that are emptied within 30 minutes of opening by housewives and food enthusiasts who want to get their hands on some musubi for the day. Located on the secluded path of Hobron Lane and Ena Road, this shop which is recommended by many Japanese expats will surely not disappoint you! It was here that I found THE best rice: Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi in brown rice form from The Rice Factory. Their rice is milled fresh daily at Komedokoro–and let me tell you, after taking my first bite of this incredible dish till my last , their musubi is my definition of musubi.
4. Mai Musubi
If you’re in the mood for some delicious food, Mai’s is the place for you. They just recently relocated from Liliha to just off University Avenue in the former Bubbies Ice Cream shop. The new location offers more space and parking than before, as well as a larger menu with online ordering. And don’t worry, even though the menu has expanded, the quality of the food remains excellent. One of their most popular dishes is musubi–the toppings are plentiful and there’s just the right amount of rice to meat ratio. Or if you’re looking for something else, try one of their bento or curry bowls–again all reasonably priced. So come on over to Mai’s today and enjoy some yummy cuisine!
5. Mana Musubi (Mana Bu’s)
You’ll expect that the chef’s know their dish if they wrote a book about it right? Well Manabu and Fumiyo Asaoka wrote a musubi book. They opened what was known as Mana Bu’s in 2008 and known OG musubi folks in Honolulu. Despite trying with third-party operators, they returned to directly manage the shop in 2020. This change saw an increase in offerings and output for Mana Musubi. Additionally, it is worth noting that Mana Musubi is the only musubi shop with staff wearing chef coats- an indication of premium quality onigiri.
6. Ma‘ona Musubi
Want to try different flavors without spending so much? Then go to Ma‘ona Musubi where they sell their Onigizaru in half. Onigirazu are large, square musubi that look like sandwiches, only they’re made with rice. You can grab some onigirazu before work downtown, or at the Kapi‘olani Community College, Kaka‘ako and Pearlridge farmers markets. They also expanded to Waikīkī in early October where they sell a limited selection of onigirazu at Inn on the Park.
7. Musubi Café Iyasume
Musubi Cafe Iyasume is one of the most popular places to get onigiri in Hawaii. With locations all over Oahu, it’s convenient for most people. I love that they have a lot of options and their prices are fair. The quality of their musubi is also pretty consistent, no matter which location you go to. When I’m working at the mall, Musubi Cafe Iyasume is always my first choice for lunch. My usual order consists of a shiso Spam musubi, chicken karaage mayo musubi, potato salad and an Aloha Maid iced tea .
If you’re looking for delicious seafood treats when you’re in Hale’iwa, Musubistro is the place to go. They use fresh-caught ‘ahi tuna that they turn into crispy katsu blocks, and their poke bowls and original spam musubi are some of the best on the island. They also have rotating specials that are always worth trying out. I haven’t been there myself yet, but it’s definitely at the top of my list for next time I’m in town!
9. Palolo Factory pop-up at Fishcake
Ever dream of owning a restaurant so you could eat there every day? I thought the same thing when Palolo Factory began appearing in Kaka‘ako earlier this year. If Hikari Takahashi and Kevin Kuroda would adopt me, I’d be set. But kidding aside, just go to Fishcake every Saturday and you get a similar experience. While Kuroda takes care of each table, Takahashi prepares musubi to order along with three side dishes and miso soup. For updated menus and schedules, visit their Instagram more frequently. They often travel, so it’s best to check before making plans.
10. Paradise Poke
In our opinion, Paradise Poke must be a musubi specialist. Every morning, they lay out rows of onigiri that are quickly snatched up by people on their way to work or school. Plus, this is also the only shop that serves onigiri with crispy nori, which is a big plus in my book. You can visit the store for poke, lunch, boiled peanuts – or just go straight for the morning onigiri. We’ve tried both and they’re both great!