Top Must Try Hawaii Foods

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Everything you'll want to taste when you visit Hawaii.

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• General: Educational • General: Kid Friendly

Matt Anderson's Take
Coming to Hawaii for your first time? Then you'll want to try each and every one of these must-try Hawaii foods to truly experience Hawaii culture. Don't worry, we'll skip the poi.

Shave Ice


This is a Hawaiian classic that everyone should sample. First off, know that it is not called "Shaved Ice" but rather "Shave Ice". Second, this isn't a mainland style snow cone. This is ice shaved so thin that it's like a bunch of frozen feathers packed together and covered in a flavored, sugary syrup. Other toppings are available but nothing beats the classic. Find some Shave Ice.

Poke


A good poke is all about using incredibly fresh, raw seafood that is marinated in a sauce. Try an ahi poke bowl (ahi tuna) for your first time and go from there. Find some Poke.

Loco Moco


For many, it's not a trip to Hawaii without a good Loco Moco. Start with a bed of rice, add a hamburger patty on top, smother it in gravy, and plop a fried egg on top. Drooling yet? Find some Loco Moco.

Ramen / Saimin / Udon


These dishes are similar yet different as well. They're all noodle dishes that are usually served hot. The differences come in with the type of noodle used as well as the type of broth used. Try all three, see which you prefer! Find some Ramen, Saimin, or Udon.

Pho


Pho is another noodle bowl but this Vietnamese dish offers a straight noodle along with herbs and meat. Add various garnishes as you desire and you're in noodle nirvana. Find some Pho.

Malasadas


These are deep fried dough balls that get coated in sugar. It's a Hawaiian doughnut, what more do you need to know? Find some Malasadas.

Spam Musubi


You've probably heard about Hawaii's love affair with Spam by now. Well, it's all true and a lot of that comes down to the simple Spam Musubi. Take a bed of rice, toss on slice of fried Spam, and wrap it in some dried seaweed and you have the essence of Hawaii in a small snack. Find some Spam Musubi.

Manapua


These bakery treats are soft buns that are either baked or steamed. They're then filled with pretty much anything, often a savory filling like beans or pork. Find some Manapua.

Acai Bowl


Acai, pronounced ah-sah-ee, is a fruit berry that is said to have all sorts of health benefits. Those claims aside, just know that these get mixed into a thick ice-cream like substance and then topped with fruit, granola, and honey to form a bowl of awesomeness. If there's a tastier breakfast option please clue us in! Find some Acai Bowls.

Fish Tacos


Oh sure, you've had fish tacos before. But have you had them when they're made from incredibly fresh fish that was just caught? Probably not. Put that on your bucket list. Find some Fish Tacos.

Huli Huli Chicken


This is nothing more than marinated chicken that is grilled on a rotisserie. Try a few bites and you'll wonder why all chicken isn't cooked this way. Find some Huli Huli Chicken.

Bubble Tea


Bubble tea actually comes from Taiwan originally but you'll find bubble tea shops all over Hawaii now. This is essentially a tea based drink that is mixed with fruit flavors or milk and served cold. You then add tapioca balls, or bubbles or boba as they're also called, to the tea. These bubbles can also be made from fruit jellies or items like "popping boba" which sort of, well, pop in your mouth. Delicious and refreshing. Find some Bubble Tea.

Hot Pot


This one is both fun and delicious. You'll choose a broth which will come out in a pot that cooks on a burner at your table. You'll then get an assortment of vegetables, noodles, meats, seafood, and whatever else you want to cook. Pop your items into your broth and you'll then eat as they cook. Find some Hot Pot.

Kalua Pig


If you're doing a luau dinner in Hawaii you'll be eating Kalua Pig or Kalua Pork as it's also called. Traditionally, this tender pork is cooked in an imu (underground oven) but in restaurants, it will just be slow cooked in a more traditional oven. It's very tender, shredded pork. Find some Kalua Pig.

Haupia


Never heard of it? It's basically coconut flavored gelatin and looks like a white cube on your plate. Even if coconut isn't your thing you'll probably like this stuff. It's often served as a small dessert at luaus but you'll also find it in other forms, such as a haupia pie or (even better) a chocolate haupia pie! Find some Haupia.

Lomi Salmon


Lomi Salmon or Lomi Lomi Salmon is made with fresh tomatoes and salmon, diced into small cubes. Toss in some onions and chili peppers and you have yourself a Hawaiian salad. Find some Lomi Salmon.

Lau Lau


This dish is made with a layer of ti leaves and taro leaves that are wrapped around pork and fish. It's then slow cooked (traditionally in an imu, or underground oven) until soft and tender. The outer ti leaves aren't eaten but the inner taro leaves are. Find some Lau Lau.

Squid Luau


I know, it's hard to get beyond how this stuff looks which is at the opposite end of the "beautiful scale". It's octopus that is cooked in taro leaves and coconut milk. Love it or not, it's certainly unique! Find some Squid Luau.
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Matt Anderson
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Dave
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 237
Likes Received: 33
Keep an open mind when you visit the Islands! Try it! Don't wrinkle up your nose and say yuck! We have and when we come back home and tell people what we ate, they say they don't think they could eat that or they say they want to try it. For example, shaved ice is big in Hawaii, along with lau lau, and poi. Even the items they serve on the mainland, taste so much better in Hawaii!
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