Hawaii has quickly become a culinary force and shows no sign of stopping. From food trucks to holes in the wall and celebrity chefs – there’s something for every palate.
In addition to all of this, you’ll find familiar staples in some places – California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, Yard House, etc. You will likely have one of these places near you, if not more. Sure, it may be solid and reliable but certainly not unique. So, I ask … when traveling to such an exotic place why would you just stick with what’s familiar and something you can get any day of the week?
I encourage you to step out of the resort and see what the island has to offer – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Eat like a local! Here’s a small sampling of the specialties you will find and should try.
Loco Moco – found throughout the islands, a loco moco is a bed of rice topped with a hearty hamburger and delicate egg, then dressed in gravy. And because there’s an egg doesn’t mean it’s just for breakfast. It can be found on lunch and dinner menus too. Portions can sometimes be huge. So it is a great option for sharing.
Shave Ice – not “shaved ice!” Also found throughout the islands, shaved ice is a perfect way to cool off. While it sounds like a snow cone, it’s quite different in texture! A snow cone is made of ice that’s crushed whereas shaved ice is light layers of ice that’s been finely shaved. Top it with a variety of flavored syrups, ice cream, condensed milk, or adzuki beans.
Plate Lunch – a local staple. A plate lunch typically consists of two scoops of perfectly cooked rice, creamy macaroni salad then a kicked-up protein like chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, and Kahlua pork. YUM! I love the chicken. Which have or would you try?
Poke – if you’re a seafood lover, this is for you. And the freshness of locally sourced fish makes this dish very popular. Served as an appetizer (pupu) or the main course, its main ingredient is raw fish – skipjack tuna, octopus, and yellowfin. It’s then combined with things like Maui onions, inamona, limu, soy sauce, green onions, or sesame oil to complete the dish.
Malasadas – perfect for a sweet tooth because they’re Portuguese donuts coated with cinnamon and sugar. Traditionally they do not come filled, but in Hawaii they sometimes are. Embrace the flavors of local fruits with fillings of coconut, passionfruit, guava, and pineapple, or keep it simple with a delicate custard. Leonards on Oahu is famous for their malasadas. If you’re on another island, ask around for recommendations!
There you have it, some of the tastiest local eats in Hawaii. Of course, there are many more and this list could go on and on, so don’t stop here! If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, let us know and we can certainly give you more recommendations. Are any of the above your fav? Let us know!
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