Hawaiian Food & Treats
Hawaii is a breathtaking island group filled with diverse cultures, exquisite nature, and abundant opportunities for exploration. But what makes a trip to Hawaii even more special is its unique cuisine. Hawaiian food mixes different cultures, flavors, and ingredients, and locals and tourists beloved its dishes and treats. Traditional dishes like poke, kalua pig, lomilomi salmon, and haupia are staples in Hawaiian cuisine.
With several fusion dishes, such as spam musubi and late lunch, Hawaiian cuisine is an absolute must-try for all food lovers. If you’re looking for an iconic Hawaiian treat, don’t forget to have some shaved ice. This sweet, syrupy treat is most commonly served with a scoop of ice cream on top but can be enjoyed without it just as much. There’s no shortage of options for fans of Hawaiian food and treats.
Whether looking for a traditional dish or something entirely new, you will find something delicious and affordable. In this blog post, we will closely examine some of the most popular Hawaiian food items and treats.
Traditional Hawaiian Foods
Traditional Hawaiian foods are an essential part of Hawaiian culture, and no visit to the islands is complete without trying some of these unique dishes. Here are three of the most iconic traditional Hawaiian foods that visitors should try:
Poi is a traditional Hawaiian dish made from taro root that has been crushed and mixed with water to create a starchy purple paste. It is a staple food in Hawaii and is rich in nutrients, with a slightly sour taste. It is usually eaten with two or three fingers or mixed with other ingredients. Poi provides a nourishing source of carbs, and its texture and flavor make it a unique Hawaiian culinary experience.
Laulau is a dish with pork, butterfish, and taro leaves wrapped in ti leaves and steamed until tender. Combing the flavors of pork and butterfish for a delicious umami taste, it is served with poi and is often enjoyed at luaus. Representing a connection between the land and the people, laulau is a beloved Hawaiian dish with deep cultural significance.
3. Kalua pig
Kalua pig is a traditional dish made by slow-roasting a whole pig in an underground oven called an imu. This style of cooking the pig imparts a unique, smoky flavor distinct from the Hawaiian culture. Kalua pig is typically served at special occasions and celebrations and is a beloved dish with deep cultural roots. Visitors to Hawaii who want to taste traditional cuisine should not miss the opportunity to try this delicious dish.
Poke is a delicious Hawaiian dish with raw, cubed fish marinated in a savory soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, and other seasonings. It is frequently served as an appetizer or a main course and can be enjoyed at many Hawaiian restaurants and food trucks. This versatile dish has surged in popularity, inspiring creative variations like poke bowls and burritos. Poke is an unmistakably flavorful experience sure to make your taste buds sing.
5. Chicken long rice
Chicken long rice is a Hawaiian dish consisting of chicken, clear noodles, ginger, garlic, and green onions. It originates in Chinese cooking but has been adapted to fit Hawaiian tastes. Served hot, this comforting and flavorful dish is a favorite. It is often eaten at family gatherings or enjoyed as a comforting meal.
Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine
1. SPAM musubi
Spam musubi is a popular Hawaiian snack made with spam, rice, and nori. The spam is marinated in soy sauce and sugar and pan-fried until crispy, after which the rice is formed into a block and placed on top.
The entire snack is then wrapped in a sheet of nori. It can be found in many markets throughout the state and is a go-to snack for locals and tourists alike, providing a quick and tasty meal or snack.
2. Loco Moco
Loco Moco is a beloved Hawaiian comfort food dish. Loco Moco is a hearty and filling meal served for breakfast or lunch, consisting of white rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.
Variations of Loco Moco exist, with some restaurants adding additional toppings like Spam, Portuguese sausage, or kimchi. This popular classic dish is found in many restaurants and diners throughout Hawaii and is a must-try for tourists and locals alike.
Manapua is a Chinese snack food that has become a popular staple of Hawaiian cuisine. It is a steamed bun with various savory fillings like char siu, chicken, or vegetables.
The name “manapua” is Hawaiian for “meat bun,” The snack is sold at bakeries, convenience stores, or food trucks. Modern variations of manapua include sweet fillings like coconut or azuki beans. These tasty snacks are perfect for a quick bite and make a delicious addition to any meal.
4. Hawaiian plate lunch
Hawaiian plate lunch is a fusion of different cultures’ cuisines, usually featuring a main protein like chicken, beef, or fish. It is served with white rice and macaroni salad. This meal originated in the 1880s as an on-the-go lunch for plantation workers.
Today it can be found all over the islands in many different combinations, giving visitors a taste of Hawaiian cuisine. Plate lunch is a satisfying, flavorful meal that combines the best elements of many culinary traditions.
Popular Hawaiian Treats
Hawaii is known for its delicious treats and desserts, many of which are influenced by the local culture and ingredients. Here are some popular Hawaiian treats that visitors should try:
1. Shave ice
Shave ice is a classic Hawaiian treat made of finely shaved ice and signature syrup flavors like lychee, coconut, and passionfruit. Popular topping options include condensed milk, mochi balls, and ice cream. Beach Street Maui is well known for providing some of the best Maui shave ice on the island – using only natural, high-quality ingredients.
Customers can customize their shave ice with their favorite flavors and toppings. Beach Street Maui is the perfect spot to be refueled with a refreshing and delicious treat while exploring Lahaina town.
Malasadas are a popular Portuguese-inspired sweet treat in Hawaii. They are deep-fried dough balls coated in sugar and filled with sweet fillings like custard or fruit.
Malasadas are a year-round favorite and can be found at local bakeries, food trucks, and festivals. They are best eaten hot and fresh and delight any sweet tooth with their fluffy texture and sweet flavor.
3. Chichi dango mochi
Chichi dango mochi is a traditional Hawaiian sweet treat with chewy rice cake. The name comes from the Hawaiian word “chi chi,” meaning small, and “dango,” which is the Japanese word for dumpling. This bite-sized snack is a popular dessert in Hawaii and is enjoyed during special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.
It is lightly sweetened with sugar and often flavored with coconut. Its delicate texture and sweet taste make it a beloved Hawaiian treat that can be served alone or with other snacks. Chichi dango mochi is perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth.
Haupia is a delicious Hawaiian dessert made from coconut milk, sugar, and cornstarch. It has a creamy texture and a delicious coconut flavor. Haupia is commonly served at luaus, weddings, and other special occasions.
It can be enjoyed alone or combined with other Hawaiian desserts, such as mochi or shaved ice. Haupia is a fan-favorite treat appreciated for its refreshing flavor and creamy texture. It is the perfect food item to cool down on a hot day and is enjoyed by people of all ages who have a sweet tooth.
5. Li hing mui
Li hing mui is a popular and beloved Hawaiian treat consisting of dried plums coated in a special powder from ground li hing mui fruit. It is loved for its tart and salty taste, which can be enjoyed as a snack or added to other food and drinks for a unique flavor.
Li hing mui is deeply rooted in local culture, having become a beloved part of life in Hawaii. It has been enjoyed for many years and is the perfect snack or addition to desserts or cocktails.