Where to Eat at Hawai‘i International Film Festival’s Ala Moana Drive-In Movies

Grab takeout from these 7 favorite restaurants and eateries at Ala Moana Center for movie meals and snacks.



Photo: Martha Cheng



Remember when dinner and a movie out was a thing? Thanks to HIFF, the good old days, in more ways than one, are back. This week is the last week of HIFF’s drive-in movies at Ala Moana Center and Windward Mall. For the movies at Ala Moana, you can easily order concessions from your phone and have them delivered straight to your car, and options include our favorite jerky—sweet and salty and spicy like taegu, but made out of, surprise!, mushrooms.


SEE ALSO: Discover Mushroom Jerky from ‘Ōpala Foods at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell and Farm Link Hawai‘i


But if you want something more substantial than popcorn and candy, here are my favorite options for a pre-movie dinner or takeout tailgate during the show.



As the weather turned windy and colder last week, newcomer SingMaTei provided laksa comfort. Thin rice noodles and chewy egg noodles mingle in a mild coconut curry broth brightened with fresh basil and mint—add sambal for a bit of heat and zing.


Inside the Makai Market food court



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Goma Tei

Goma Tei has branched out into brunch recently, but the ramen is still the main draw. For me, it’s always a tough choice between char siu tan tan ramen—slabs of rolled pork, braised until tender in a rich, almost creamy sesame broth—or the shredded pork and Sichuan pickle sunho ramen, its sour and spicy clear soup refreshing the senses.


Street level 1, near Macy’s


Ahi And Veg

Photo: Martha Cheng


‘Ahi and Vegetable

Sushi may be one of the most perfect movie foods—compact, tidy, easily eaten with your fingers and perfect for takeout. At Ala Moana, ‘Ahi and Vegetable is the best option at the intersection of fresh and affordable. Find ‘ahi and salmon nigiri as well as poke bowls here.


Inside the Lānai food court



Honolulus King Of Spam Musubi Now Serves 23 Varieties At 7 Spots On Oahu Left

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino



Iyasume Musubi

“Eat musubi walking. Running. Even driving. Not illegal, eating musubi in car,” says Iyasume Musubi founder Toshiyuki Otake. And now, eat musubi in your car while watching a movie. Missing the beginning of the movie while trying to decide among the options that range from shiso and Spam to unagi and Spam is a real concern.


Inside the Lānai food court


SEE ALSO: Honolulu’s King of Spam Musubi Now Serves 23 Varieties at 7 Spots on O‘ahu



Photo: Martha Cheng



Jejubing Dessert Cafe

For first dessert, or for a pairing with Abominable, head to the new Korean pat bing soo eatery, where the milk-based shave ice is so fluffy and powdery that it has us longing for our snowboards. The classic, with roasted soybean powder, mochi, sweetened red bean and condensed milk seems at first plain compared to the fruit options, but it’s just right in its simplicity.


Street level 1, near Goma Tei



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La Palme D’Or

And for second dessert, the one you take in your car, choose from a range of options, including a slice of strawberry shortcake, soft and fluffy in its whipped cream and sponge cake layers, or the fall-appropriate Mont Blanc with chestnut cream around a chestnut paste on almond cake.


Mall level 2, near Lānai food court



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Brug Bakery

At the end of the night, especially after some stressful moments as in “I’m Your Woman,” or the idea of pending parenthood in “Baby Done,” I find few things more comforting than some soft carbs, of which Brug Bakery has plenty. My go-to: a simple an pan. Why complicate things?
Inside the Lānai food court