Colorful, flavorful, and delicious – these are three common characteristics of traditional Hawaiian recipes. Much of the cuisine enjoyed on this gorgeous island originally came from Polynesian recipes. Today Hawaiian dishes draw inspiration from the island’s natural flavors and other cultures from around the world. Here are 7 authentic Hawaiian dishes you might enjoy while visiting this wonderful travel destination.
Poi was brought over with Hawaiians from Polynesia. It’s considered the national dish of Hawaii as it became popular before the western world influenced local cuisine. The dish is made from taro root stems, which are steamed and mashed into a desired consistency. It has a light flavor that can be incorporated into other dishes or enjoyed on its own. Try Poi at home using this recipe from Emeril Lagasse.
This scrumptious dish is traditionally served at Luaus in Hawaii, which have become popular events for tourists. The Kalau method involved cooking meat using an underground grill which is lined with hot rocks and banana leaves. Kalua pig is slow roasted and smoked to perfection. While it might be hard to cook underground on your own, try this adapted Kalua pig recipe from Pineapple and Coconut.
A popular Hawaiian appretizer is Poke, which is a raw salad served in various forms. The original Poke was made from skinned meat, seaweed, and seasalt. A different style became popular in the 1970’s, which is the most common recipe used in Hawaii today. This version uses raw fish and an assortment of vegetables and spices. Try this recipe which uses ahi tuna, macadamia nuts and ginger from Anne Burrell.
Saimin is Hawaii’s noodle dish that riffs on traditional Japanese ramen and Chinese mein. The soup base is made from hot dashi and filled with wheat egg noodles and other desired toppings. Popular additions include spring onions, Spam, fish, and nori. Saimin has become a typical fast food dish and is Hawaii’s most popular dish served at McDonald’s. You can make this dish easily at home using this healthy recipe from Aida Mollenkamp.
This dish is an original staple of Portuguese cuisine. It made its way in 1878 with immigrants from Portugal who made their way to Hawaii. Since then they’ve become a typical item found in Hawaiian bakeries. Malasadas are sweets made from yeast dough which is deep fried and covered in powdered sugar. Try this delicious donut-esque treat using a recipe from Chef Leonard Rego.
Contemporary Hawaiian cuisine has risen in worldwide popularity in recent years. Loco moco has especially become more common in the rest of the United States. This dish has many versions but classical consists of white rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Other recipes use teriykai beef, chicken, oysters, and shrimp. Try this updated version from celebrity chef GuyFieri.
Cellana, or “Opihi”, is a type of snail that clings to ocean rocks in Hawaii. They are considered a local delicacy, and can only be found in a few other areas of the world. Opihi can be enjoyed raw like an oyster, or dressed up with different flavors. Chef Bobby Flay suggests marinating them before placing them on the barbecue. If you ever have access to Opihi try his excellent recipe!
Craving authentic versions of these Hawaiian recipes? Browse our collection of luxury villas in Hawaii and plan the food-filled trip of a lifetime!