The fresh, local food of Hawaii is a taste that many of us crave. From its rich blend of cultures and eclectic cuisines which were influenced by immigrants from every corner of the world, Hawaiian food becomes new and different from any other food on earth!
In this post, we will explore together the Hawaiian food menu and culture by introducing an abundance of incredible seafood dishes, smoked meats, and unique twists that you have to try when you visit Hawaii.
SUPER TASTY DISHES AND FOODS TO TRY IN HAWAII
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The dish known as poke is a native Japanese food that has been adopted by the Hawaiians. It’s typically served both an appetizer and main course, though there are many different variations in terms of ingredients used for each type – such as using shellfish or vegetables instead!
Poke is basically a dish made of diced raw fish served as an appetizer or main component and is eaten all over the Islands. He’e (or ‘Aku) poke usually goes by its Japanese name -Tako poké/poki- except on Niʻihau where it’s called “He pohaku.”
The word he’e refers to dishes made from diced raw fish served either hot (akau)or cold(he’).
Hawaii Tropical fruits
Hawaii is home to a large variety of tropical fruits, with vivid colors and bizarre shapes.
The biggest and freshest selections can be found at the farmer’s markets. There are four distinct seasons in Hawaii that produce different types of fruits from dragonfruit (a green Asian fruit) all the way down through starfruits or mangosteens which look rather like plums but taste sweet instead.
It doesn’t matter what you’re craving because there’ll always be something new in Hawaii! So don’t forget your shopping bag to grap some tasty bizarre fruits while exploring this lush land known as Aloha.
Chicken long rice
When you think of Hawaiian food, the first dish that comes to mind is likely spam musubi. But there’s another popular dish that deserves attention: chicken long rice. This tasty comfort food is made with chicken, rice noodles, and vegetables, and it’s perfect for a quick and easy meal.
You can find chicken long rice at most local restaurants in Hawaii. So if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, be sure to add chicken long rice to your list of must-try Hawaiian dishes!
Have you ever had the pleasure of trying Lomi salmon? This traditional Hawaiian food is made with fresh, raw salmon and is a real treat for seafood lovers.
This dish is made with fresh salmon and tomatoes, and it is perfect for summertime meals. The flavors are amazing, and if you’re lucky enough to try it, you’ll be hooked!
Laulau (Lau Lau)
One of the things you need to put on your list of things to do in Hawaii is trying laulau. This dish is a Hawaiian classic food and is made with pork and salted butterfish.
This unique dish is popular throughout the islands, and there are many recipes for it. However, all versions of laulau share some common ingredients and flavors.
The pork and fish are wrapped in taro leaves and then steamed, resulting in a delicious, hearty meal. Laulau is definitely a dish you’ll want to enjoy while you’re in Hawaii
If you’re visiting Hawaii, you’ll want to try poi. This traditional dish is made from taro root which is a starchy vegetable and has a slimy texture that may take some getting used to.
But don’t let that put you off, poi is definitely worth a try! It’s got a mild flavor and a slightly nutty aftertaste, and it’s considered to be quite healthy. It can be served either cold or warm and it’s a great way to get your daily dose of fiber.
So go ahead and give poi a try you may end up liking it more than you expect.
Mochi is a sweet, pounded rice cake that is popular in many Asian countries. In Hawaii, mochi is one of the most popular foods and can be found at almost any local restaurant or store.
Mochi can be made with different flavors and toppings, such as chocolate, strawberry, or peanut butter. And it’s often served with ice cream or drizzled with honey. If you’re visiting Hawaii, be sure to try this tasty snack!
There are many different ways to enjoy mochi, but the most popular way is to eat it as a dessert. If you’re visiting Hawaii, be sure to try some mochi!
the Hawaiian plate is one of the most popular traditional foods in Hawaii and for good reason—it’s delicious! The Hawaiian plate is certainly one item you don’t want to miss.
A typical Hawaiian plate will include kalua pig, lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves), chicken long rice, and haupia (coconut pudding). So if you’re wondering what to eat in Hawaii, look no further – the Hawaiian plate is a must-try!
Saimin is a unique Hawaiian dish that is made with Chinese noodles and dashi broth. The broth is usually flavored with soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil, and the toppings can vary depending on the restaurant.
Some of the most popular saimin toppings include char siu (roasted pork), fishcake, kamaboko (a type of fishcake), chopped bamboo shoots, and sliced mushrooms.
Saimin is typically served with a side of pickled ginger and wasabi. If you’re looking for a delicious and unique meal while in Hawaii, be sure to try saimin!
No matter what your opinion of Hawaiian food is, there’s one dish that takes the cake as the comfort food of Hawaii – loco moco. This simple dish of white rice, hamburger patties, and gravy has been a favorite for locals and tourists alike for generations.
Loco moco is usually served with a fried egg on top. Although there are many variations of this dish, the basics always remain the same: rice, burger, and gravy. So if you’re looking for something hearty and satisfying while in Hawaii, be sure to order a loco moco!
Hawaiian shave ice
Hawaiian shave ice is a famous Hawaiian food that has a unique texture and flavor.
The ice is very fine, which results in a smooth and creamy consistency. There are many different flavors to choose from, so everyone can find their favorite! It’s typically flavored with syrups such as strawberry, mango, or piña colada. Some people even like to add condensed milk or fruit on top.
Many people say that the best shave ice can be found on the island of Oahu. If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience, pay a visit to Oahu!
Have you ever had Haupia, the traditional coconut milk dessert from Hawai’i? If not, you’re missing out!
Haupia is made with coconut milk, cornstarch, and sugar and has a thick, creamy texture. You can find Haupia served at most luaus in Hawai’i. It’s also commonly served on special occasions such as weddings.
The good news is that you can order it online. So what are you waiting for? Try Haupia today!
Hawaiian Kona coffee
If you’re a coffee-lover, you owe it to yourself to try Kona coffee.
Grown in the rich volcanic soil of Hawaii, Kona coffee is considered by many to be some of the best in the world. The smooth, rich flavor and mellow acidity make it a favorite among coffee aficionados.
Tourists visiting the islands often marvel at the rich, dark color and smooth flavor of Kona coffee, which can only be found there. If you’re lucky enough to visit Hawaii yourself, be sure to sample some of the local coffee! You won’t be disappointed.
If you’re traveling to Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to try out the local cuisine. Spam musubi is one of the most popular foods in Hawaii, and it’s easy to see why – it’s tasty, satisfying, and cheap ($1 to $2)!
This dish is basically a piece of grilled spam wrapped in rice and seaweed. It’s simple, but it’s definitely delicious. And if you’re not familiar with spam musubi, now is the perfect time to try it!
You can find this dish at just about any restaurant or food stand in Hawaii. So if you’re looking for a tasty snack while you’re in the islands, be sure to give spam musubi a try.
If you’re looking for a unique and delicious Hawaiian dessert, try guava cake. This traditional treat is made with fresh guavas, sugar, butter, flour, eggs, and baking powder.
The sweet, fluffy dessert is easy to make and can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. It’s something new to try while in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Mac Salad
Hawaiians are well-known for their love of macaroni salad. It’s a staple at any potluck or barbecue, and it’s often served as a side dish with fish or chicken.
While the ingredients may vary by recipe, most versions of this dish include elbow macaroni, mayo, mustard, and diced celery and onion. Some people also add shredded ham or bacon to the mix.
Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki
If you’re looking for an amazing and flavorful dish to try when in Hawaii, look no further than the Hawaiian beef teriyaki!
This dish is made with marinated beef that is grilled and served with a delicious teriyaki sauce, rice, and vegetables.
Hawaiian beef teriyaki food experience offers some of the best flavors Hawaii has to offer.
Hawaiian Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Most people who visit Hawaii indulge in the local cuisine. One dish you’ll want to try is the Hawaiian Chicken Grilled Teriyaki which features chicken that has been marinated in a soy and pineapple-based sauce and grilled to perfection.
The juicy, tender chicken is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner and pairs well with rice and vegetables. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavors of Hawaii!
Anyone who has ever been to the Hawaiian islands knows that taro, a root vegetable, is a staple of the local cuisine.
What you may not know, however, is that you can buy bags of chips made from taro at most convenience stores on the islands. Taro Ko Farm Chips are made from 100% taro and are a delicious and healthy snack choice while in Hawaii.
The Taro Chips are made of four simple ingredients: Sweet potatoes, garlic salt, soybean oil, and li hing mui powder.
Hawaiian Acai Bowls
Did you know that the açai bowl is the Hawaiian superfood? This antioxidant-rich dish is made with açai purée, bananas, and other fresh fruits or vegetables. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack on the go.
The açai bowl is quickly becoming one of the most popular breakfast and snack items in Hawaii. Made with açaí purée, bananas, and other fresh fruits or vegetables, this dish is not only delicious but also packed with antioxidants.
If you’re looking for a healthy and convenient Hawaiian food option, be sure to give the açai bowl a try.
Huli Huli Chicken
Huli-Huli chicken is a grilled chicken dish in Hawaiian cuisine. The name of the dish comes from the Hawaiian word for “turn” or “rotate”, referencing the way the chicken is cooked.
Huli-Huli chicken is a popular dish on the islands and can be found at most local restaurants. The sauce used in this dish is a mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and garlic.
The chicken is typically marinated in this sauce for several hours before grilling. Grilled pineapple and onions are often served with Huli-Huli chicken, making it a delicious and succulent meal to enjoy while vacationing in Hawaii!
This unique Hawaiian dish is made with char siu pork and Steamed buns. Manapua can be found at most restaurants on the islands.
Manapua is a shortening of the Hawaiian mea ʻono puaʻa, meaning “delicious pork thing“. This dish was brought by Chinese immigrant workers on the sugar cane and pineapple plantations during the 19th century.
Luau Stew is a traditional Hawaiian food. This hearty stew is made with chicken, pork, taro root, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. It’s the perfect comfort food for cool weather days.
Taro roots are tuberous vegetable that grows in tropical climates, and they have a starchy texture and a nutty flavor. Mushrooms are used in the stew to add depth of flavor, and they can be replaced with other vegetables if desired.
The chicken can be replaced with pork or beef if desired. This stew is hearty, flavorful, and nutritious.
Kalua pork is a traditional Hawaiian food that is often served at luaus. The pork is cooked in an underground oven called an imu, and the results are tender, juicy, and flavorful. If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience, be sure to try kalua pork!
Staple Ingredients in Hawaiian Cuisine
Kalo: Kalo is the Hawaiian name given to the cultivated plant, taro. Both the leaves and the vegetable root of this plant are used a lot in Hawaiian cuisine. Taro ko chips, Poi, LauLau are only a few dishes that use Kalo (Taro) as a part of the recipe.
Uala: Uala is the Hawaiian sweet potato. It’s a starchy vegetable that is widely cultivated on all the islands of Hawaii with more than 24 different types.
Ulu: Ulu, also known as breadfruit, is local produce found on the Hawaiian Islands. Ulu can be enjoyed and prepared as a fruit or a vegetable and when roasted, it resembles baked bread.
Alaea salt: The Hawaiian red salt, is an unprocessed salt that is rich in natural seawater minerals. A type of red volcanic clay is added to the salt to add health benefits adds the reddish/brownish color. However, it does not alter the taste or smell of the salt.
Inamona: Inamona is a condiment or relish used in traditional Hawaiian cooking made from roasted kukui nut and sea salt. It is sometimes mixed with seaweeds, often accompanying meals.
What is Hawaiian food famous for?
Hawaii is well-known for its stunning beaches and lush landscape, but the islands are also home to a rich culture and diverse cuisine.
While poke bowls and spam musubi may be some of the most famous Hawaiian dishes, there are plenty of other culinary treasures to discover in this tropical paradise. From seafood to island fruits and vegetables.
Hawaiian national dish (dishes)
Hawaiian cuisine is a mix of East and Polynesian flavors, with an emphasis on fresh island ingredients. While it’s hard to pick just one dish that represents Hawaii’s diverse food landscape, the Hawaiian plate is certainly
Also, Saimin, and Poi are iconic foods that Hawaii islands are most known for and they are all considered national dishes of Hawaii.
Traditional Hawaiian Food Preparations
Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, a type of underground oven. The word “kālua” may also be used to describe the food cooked in this manner, such as kālua pig or kālua turkey, which are commonly served at lūʻau feasts.
Hawaiian Food Cookbooks
Isn’t always possible to cross the oceans to try te Hawaiian food but that doesn’t mean you can’t. If you’re craving some delicious Hawaiian dishes you can either go to the nearest Hawaiian restaurant near you or make it yourself.
If you love cooking and need some guidance, I looked up a few Hawaiian cookbooks for you, here is what I found:
- Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawaii: This cookbook has a 4,8/5 rating with more than 1000 reviews. The cookbook is written by a Maui native and food blogger and it offers 85 different Hawaiian and local recipes. (Check this cookbook).
- Cook Real Hawai’i: A Cookbook: This cookbook is written by by a two-time Top Chef finalist and Fan Favorite. It shares the story of Hawaiian cooking and 100 recipes that embody the beautiful cross-cultural exchange of the islands. (Check this cookbook)
- Hawaiian Barbecue Cookbook: This cookbook shares over 60 Hawaiian recipes and cooking tips so you can learn to cook the famous Hawaiian cuisine for your family and friends. (Check this bookbook)
Hawaiian Food on Instagram
Looking for food in Hawaii inspirations or places to eat the tasty Hawaiian food near you, the hashtag #hawaiianfood on Instagram is a great resource for that.
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