Posted on 4/2/2023

Must Try Local Foods

Hawaiian cuisine is a beautiful blend of foods from several Asian countries and the Pacific Islands (and elsewhere around the globe). There are too many dishes and treats to sample in just one trip, but here are a few dishes and snacks that are both delicious and a big part of Hawaiian culture!


It’s hard to go wrong with these simple ingredients. Malasadas are fried balls of dough covered in sugar (optionally, they can be filled with custard or fruit). Many bakeries will make these fresh to order every morning.


Poke is another very simple dish that is famous in Hawaii because of all the fresh fish available. It usually consists of raw fish (typically tuna or salmon), onions, green onions, and soy sauce, but many other variations exist.


 Poi is a Hawaiian staple made from the root of the taro plant that is ground and mashed into a smooth paste. Flavor can vary greatly depending on how it’s made, from sweet, to sour, even savory at times.

Shave Ice

 Shave Ice (extra emphasis on shave, not shaved) is much more than a snow cone in Hawaii. Many stands have special machinery to ensure a soft, almost smooth ice texture and a wide variety of flavors, toppings, and even ice cream!

Spam Musubi

 The perfect on-the-go snack, Spam Musubi is a slice of marinated and cooked Spam atop a thicker layer of rice, held together by a strip of nori (seaweed).

Kalua Pork

Traditionally, Kalua Pork, as the name suggests (Kalua means to cook underground in a pit), is made from a whole pig cooked in a pit called an imu. Banana leaves cover the pit to keep the pork moist, and the slow cook time leaves an extremely tender and delicious final product.

Honorable Mentions:

 Mochi, Loco Moco, Chicken Katsu, Haupia Pie, Manpua, Mac Salad

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