The Comforting Hawaiian Fast-Food Chain That Will Have You Eating Like A Local

Whether you're sipping a mai tai by the beach, filling up on Kalua pork cooked in a traditional underground oven, or feasting on a colorful poke bowl, Hawaiian cuisine is famously divine. And if you've just come back from an all-day adventure on the islands, you're going to be starving for some comfort food that will double as a bucket list checkmark for your itinerary. Locals love Zippy's family-owned restaurant for it's local delicacies, and it's become a hotspot where you can enjoy a hearty meal rooted in diversity.

Charles and Francis Higa started the first Zippy's diner in 1966, and today, there are over 20 locations spread across the Hawaiian islands. This beautiful state has always been a melting pot of cultures, all blending together and adding their traditions to Hawaii's amazing food scene. Historically, immigrants from Asia, Puerto Rico, Samoa, and the Philippines have made Hawaii their home, and it's thanks to their rich heritage that the Aloha State is home to many mouthwatering dishes. 

Zippy's is known for serving up local eats as well as American classics, and the best part is that you can get your Zippy's fix at all hours of the day. It's open 24-7 and has a few iconic Hawaiian foods on the menu, including its famous chili — in fact, the chain sells over 100 tons of chili each month! But you won't want to miss out on other local bites you can grab.

You can try Hawaiian staples like saimin and loco moco

A typical Hawaiian breakfast features loco moco, which is a miniature tower of rice, hamburger, gravy, and a fried egg. Zippy's menu features this, alongside other traditional favorites you can sample. If you're feeling like ramen, saimin is the perfect Hawaiian noodle dish for you to try, made with dashi broth, green onions, colorful Japanese fish cake, and spam. The comfort food doesn't stop there. Korean fried chicken is on the menu, full of unique, zesty flavors that you can pair with a fresh macaroni salad. Whether you're surfing out at sea or splashing around in the crystal-clear shallows all day, and you'll be thankful you brought a bucket of Zippy's chicken and chili. Dining locally is truly one of the best ways to eat authentically, support small businesses, and be kind to your wallet during your travels.

If you try Zippy's once or five times and end up loving it, don't skip out on grabbing takeout for your flight home. According to Fodor's Travel, Kevin Yim, Zippy's vice president of marketing, says, "[I]t's a time-honored mark of the well-traveled Hawaiian Local to take a Zippy's 'Zip Pac' on board your mainland-bound flight. So, you did Hawaii the right way!" These are meat-heavy meals, inspired by Japanese bento boxes, that will keep you full, and prolong the presence of that sweet taste of Hawaii on your tongue a little bit longer.