Going to Hawaii? Do not miss the chance to have the real Hawaiian experience and enjoy delicious local food. Since, the cuisine of Hawaii includes five distinct styles of food, reflecting the diverse food history of settlement and immigration in the Hawaiian Islands. Let’s just dive straight into our favorite Hawaiian food that you MUST try while in Hawaii.
1. Hawaiian Poke
Poke isn’t just a dish in Hawaii, it’s a way of life. Since it is one of the favorite dishes of local people. Poke literally means “to cut crosswise into pieces”. Poke is made of chopped seafood, basically, tuna or salmon marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil served with rice often. But, you can find many types of this dish when you visit poke places in Hawaii. Poke was first prepared by native Polynesians centuries before Western travelers arrived on the islands. You can try Poke in different bars, cafes and restaurants as well as in some grocery stores, however, the fish freshness may vary.
2. Loco Moco
If you are a big fan of gravy and meat then this dish is for you, especially if you are HANGRY. You must try this Hawaiian dish at on these top-rated places on Oahu with classic Loco Mocos:
- The Alley Restaurant
- Cafe 100
- Pancakes & Waffles
- Rainbow Drive-In
- Liliha Bakery
Loco moco is a dish featured in contemporary Hawaiian cuisine. There are many variations, but the traditional loco moco includes white rice, topped with a hamburger, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Variations may consist of bacon, Spam, tofu, kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, teriyaki chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters, and other ingredients.
3. Hawaiian Acai Bowl
We LOVE Hawaiian Acai because it’s healthy, nutritious, and extremely delicious. Hawaii. Açai bowls are sorbet-textured blends made of a mixture of fruits, and juices topped with a variety of fruits, granola and honey. You can also add different nuts, peanut butter or/and coconut flakes.
We would recommend trying this bowl at the following places:
- Haleiwa Bowls (Haleiwa-North Shore)
- Crispy Grindz (North Shore)
- Island Vintage Coffee (Waikiki)
- Sunrise Shack (Waikiki, North Shore)
4. Kalua pig
Kalua pig is Hawaiian-Style Pulled Pork! Tender and juicy slow-cooked pork will give you a real taste of the Hawaiian islands. Kalua literally means “cooked in an underground oven,” which makes sense because this traditional Hawaiian cooking method uses an underground oven called an imu.
Like many Hawaiian recipes, this kalua pig includes simple, flavorful ingredients. While there is some sourcing involved, the ingredients list is pretty minimal. Therefore, you can even try to cook it by yourself, you only need 5 main ingredients to make homemade kalua pork:
- Boneless pork shoulder
- Banana leaf
- Hawaiian sea salt
- Liquid smoke
However, better visit Hawaii and try the “true” Kalua pig.
Traditional Hawaiian food would not be complete without a dish known as laulau.
A good lau lau is meaty, savory, and sooo juicy! Many people say lau lau is their favorite Hawaiian dish and it’s easy to see why. Traditionally laulau is made with pork wrapped in layers of taro leaves and cooked in an underground hot rock oven for hours until it turns soft and smoky flavored. The meat is tender and juicy while the leaves turn to a spinach like consistency.
Nowadays you can easily find fish, chicken or pork laulau in Hawaii.