The Hawaiian cuisine is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. The culture is inclusionary and welcoming, and so is the food tradition here. Hence, you owe it to yourself to try the local Hawaiian delicacies.
Hawaiian cuisine is a mishmash of traditional island cuisine, absorbed from the food of the very first wave of Chinese immigrants and those who came after. Following the Chinese wave, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Puerto Ricans came to the tiny island nation. You also have the Mexicans, Samoans, and of course, the American GIs and their families, and they all brought their favourite foods into the Hawaiian mix.
So what should you try here? If you want to indulge in an epicurean adventure, you have to start with the following items on the menu:
This is the notorious dish that’s long been considered as the Hawaiian hamburger. It’s pronounced poh-kay, and you can find it served as premium appetizers in even the most exclusive restaurants in the islands.
You can also enjoy it from a poke shop and take it to the beach for a picnic. It uses fresh ahi poke, along with ingredients like Maui onions, avocado, seaweed, or spicy mayo. Most of the flavors will be a bit familiar to those who’ve tried sushi before, but it’s still unique. Just make sure it’s made from fresh fish; you can check this on the label, which will indicate if it was made from previously frozen fish.
Numerous online foodie forums have discussed the rather strange popularity of Spam here in Hawaii, and Spam musubi is a great example why that’s so. Normally, musubi is a Japanese rice ball stuffed with ingredients with powerful flavours such as salted fish roe and pickled plums, and wrapped in seaweed.
In the Hawaiian version, you get grilled Spam that’s been glazed with a bit of sugar and soy sauce. The Spam slices actually taste like an uncommon type of ham steak except it isn’t chewy. That strong Spam flavor is mellowed quite a bit by the rice. It’s wrapped in crispy nori, so eat it fresh so it doesn’t lose its crunchiness.
This is a large steamed bun with sweet pork filling, and you can find it in various bakeries. You should eat manapua while it’s still fluffed high from the steamer. There’s a lot of the warm filling, and the sauce for the pork is sweet but luckily not cloying.
This is one of the most popular comfort foods in Hawaii, and it’s a great example of how Hawaiian cuisine is a mix of so many cultures. It originally was the food in the plantations where the first immigrants worked. You first sip the understated dahi broth that’s made livelier by the green onions. Then you taste the distinct samin noodles and enjoy the toppings, which can include fishcake and sliced deli ham. It’s mild and salty, and it’s great for a rainy afternoon.
This is the culinary contribution from the quaint immigration culture known as the mainland surfers. It doesn’t need breading, as the surfers just wrapped up local fish bits with spices and a tortilla. Since the fish here is super-fresh, you get to taste the tuna, mahi-mahi-or ono used for the taco. The salsas come with mango and pineapple, so it’s definitely a Hawaiian dish.
Different restaurants offer different toppings, so you get a new taste each time you visit a different place. It can be just ahi and pico de gallo, or cabbage slaw over ono with a creamy sauce.
The local cuisine coupled with luxury vacations & villa rentals in Hawaii provides you with just about everything you need to truly have a fantastic good time. If you wish to do so, you can even have a chef, though villas generally have their own kitchen so you can prepare your own dishes. Preparing your own dishes might sound enticing to some, but if you don’t give the real Hawaiian cuisine a try, you’d really be missing out on something special.
So are you getting hungry with all these descriptions? Then come on down and enjoy a fantastic feast because Hawaiians love to share!