You may have heard that Honolulu is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. (and, when it comes to housing, it is), but you may be surprised to learn our capitol city is actually a great value for foodies!

In honor of World Food Day on Oct. 16th, the personal finance website, WalletHub, has released a list of the most wallet-friendly cities when it comes to food.

Honolulu is ranked as the 20th-best city for foodies in the website’s 2015’s Best and Worst Foodie Cities for Your Wallet.

Analysts reviewed the affordability of dining scenes in the 150 most-populous U.S. cities with an eye toward 18 metrics, from the cost of groceries to the number of restaurants per capita.

With 1 = best and 75 = average, Honolulu is rated:

  • 1st in number of gourmet specialty-food stores per capita and number of farmers markets and CSAs (community supported agriculture) per 100,000 residents. Honolulu is in a five-way tie with San Francisco, Cincinnati, Orlando, and Salt Lake City
  • 4th in number of food trucks per 100,000 residents
  • 5th in number of coffee and tea shops per capita, behind Salt Lake City at No. 4 and below a three-way tie for No.1 between Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco
  • 12th in number of ice cream and frozen yogurt shops per capital
  • 33rd in number of restaurants per capita
  • 47th in number of grocery stores per capita

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

Honolulu was ranked #33 for number of restaurants per capita. In Honolulu, you'll find Pacific Rim specialty foods and ingredients, as well as American cuisine.

It’s not ALL good news, however. Unfortunately, the “20th-best” rank for Honolulu for foodies conceals other aspects of the index including an affordability rank of 149 out of 150. Contributing to that standing, Honolulu has the highest cost of groceries, behind No. 149, Jersey City, N.J. and No. 148, Santa Rosa, Calif., according to WalletHub.

The market with the most affordable groceries is Laredo, Texas.

Some 72 percent of respondents told WalletHub researchers they would consider dining out more frequently if restaurants offered discounted menu prices during less busy times of day. Since nearly a third of the U.S. food dollar is spent on restaurant services, cheaper meals would make a big difference for diners.

For foodies who REALLY want the local-cuisine experience, Hawaii Aloha Travel offers its Aloha Plate Tour, curated and hosted by The Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” winners Lanai Tabura, Adam Tabura and Shawn Felipe. During you tour, you’ll experience local flavors and cuisine, plus the opportunity to visit  off-the-grid restaurants and venues.

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

The Rainbow Drive In is one of the stops on Hawaii Aloha Travel's Aloha Plate Tour.

When it comes to value and options, Honolulu certainly holds its own as a hub for wallet-friendly cuisine. So, don’t forget to budget enough time and money to experience all Honolulu dining has to offer!


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