5 mouth-watering Hawaiian dishes you have to try

  • What to eat in Hawaii

Hawaii is unlike anywhere else you could visit in the USA and that's what makes it so special. A five hour flight from the mainland and with some of the most picturesque scenery, your Instagram account is just dying for you to pay Hawaii a visit.

One of the biggest differences on the island is the food. Yeah, you'll find your typical American grub, but Hawaiian cuisine is something you have to experience, with each dish more delicious than the last. So let's go on a culinary adventure together and discover some of Hawaii's most delicious tropical dishes.

Hawaii is calling and you must go!


Fish tacos

A firm favourite and a staple part of any Hawaiian diet, the fish taco! They've been enjoyed across the islands for generations, and you'll be suprised to know that it wasn't the Mexicans who introduced tacos to the island, but the cool surfer dudes of the late 20th century.

Over the years the Hawaiians have put their own twist on this North American classic. Instead of the conventional Baja style, the Hawaii fish taco is coated in breadcrumbs along with a selection of spices and then grilled. What you get is a burst of fresh ono, mahi mahi and tuna flavours, we're drooling just at the thought of it!

Fish tacos

Photo credit: Nicole Rupersburg-Flickr



For more traditional Hawaiian cuisine, saimin is the ultimate comfort dish. This hearty broth originates from the plantations which many migrants worked when they arrived on the islands. It's a colourful noodle style soup complemented with scrumptious fresh ingredients from around the local area.

It shares its roots with Okinawa Soba resembling a Chinese-style broth but where it differs is the toppings. Many locals refer to it as the 'Hawaiian ramen' ; it starts with a salty seafood base, then come the noodles which are added to the soup.

As it stews, green onions are added to it and then topped with sliced deli ham and can even be accompanied with a fishcake. It's a comforting and warming dish that is a true taste of Hawaii.


Photo credit: Archisticks-Flickr


Loco moco

Carrying on the comfort food train, you can't go to Hawaii without sampling the fabled loco moco, a dish that is so renowned that it got a special mention on our favourite eating show, Man v. Food. The loco moco was created by the Lincoln Grill restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii in 1949, it starts with a base of white rice and topped by a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy it becomes a gooey, rich, delicious meal.

The meat can vary from restaurant to restaurant with some opting for garlic sausage, kalua pork, teriyaki beef or shrimp oysters, whatever your pick is, you'll be in Hawaiian food heaven with the first mouthful.

Loco moco

Photo credit: Sher Yip-Flickr



Something a little lighter on the ol' waistline is poke. Far removed from the richness and heaviness of loco moco, poke is a raw salad served as an appetiser. The word poke is the Hawaiian verb for "section" or "to slice or cut" and the dish makes for a yummy starter.

Hawaiians have been eating poke since the 19th century and over the years, the meal has developed. Again, most versions embrace the seafood obsession the region has with yellowfin tuna marinated with sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, limu seaweed, chilis and inamona.

It's then combined with fresh tomatoes, green onion, maui onion, more soy sauce and sesame oil and seasoned well. There are variations such as he'e (octopus) or raw salmon, but all are equally as satisfying as the next.

Poke salad



After all those savoury treats it's time for something a little sweeter. How about a Hawaiian-style doughnut to top your foodie adventure off?

It's the Portuguese you have to thank for the deliciously sweet doughnut which took the islands, and the rest of the USA by storm in the 1800s. These are not your average doughnut and are simply yeasted and deep-fried then rolled in sugar to create a square. Ready for the best bit? They are filled with cream and a fruit filling, YUM! Making them the perfect end to any Hawaiian meal.

Flickr - Malasada

Photo credit: Wally Gobetz-Flickr

Are your tastebuds already watering with anticipation? Then check out some other reasons why you need to get yourself to Hawaii right now!

Hawaii is calling and you must go!

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