Top Hawaiian Food Recipes
The variety of hawaiian food recipes strongly reflects the blended cultures that have historically settled there. Whether you’re looking to indulge in the best foodie spots on a trip to the islands themselves, or experimenting with Hawaiian cuisine in your own home, Hawaii has something to tickle everyone’s taste buds, from poi to poke, and Lomi salmon to Loco Moco!
Kalua pig is traditionally made by salting the meat and wrapping it in banana leaves, then cooking it slowly in an underground oven called an inu, often leaving it overnight.
Taste the local flavor in Hawaii!
Pay a visit to Helena’s Hawaiian Food in Honolulu – a family business opened by Helena Chock way back in 1946, which is now run by her grandson! Their classic Kalua pig is cooked in an inu and served with cabbage. If you’re still hungry, try their Pipikaula short ribs.
You may also wish to check out Kono’s North Shore for an ‘Old School’ Kalua pig sandwich, complete with guava BBQ sauce, homemade slaw, and grilled onions.
Cook it at home!
Use a slow cooker such as a Crock Pot to mimic the inu.
- Pork shoulder
- Red Hawaiian sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of Hickory liquid smoke
Let's get started:
Place the pork in the slow cooker, and rub with salt and liquid smoke. Set the heat low and cook for 12 hours. When cooked, use two forks to shred the meat. You can serve with classic cabbage, rice, poi, macaroni cheese, or with salad.
One of the most famous hawaiian food recipes: Poke. It consists of a raw fish salad, originating from the cut-offs of a fisherman’s catch, which they would season and eat as a snack. Usually served as an appetizer, the most popular forms of Poke are He’e (octopus) and ahi (yellowfin tuna).
Try it in the Islands!
Poke is pretty easy to come by anywhere in Hawaii, but if you’re looking for something outstanding, head to Maguro Brothers in Oahu, where every portion is served fresh to order, at excellent value. If you’re struggling to decide between all the mouthwatering options, go for a half-and-half poke bowl to get a taste of two!
If you’re still in search for the best of the best, hit up Tin Roof Maui, run by internationally recognized Chef Sheldon Simeon. A casual lunch spot with a chic, independent vibe, the beautifully presented poke bowls are to die for, and vary their content on a daily basis to keep you on your toes! If you’ve got room for more, we recommend the pork belly or the chop steak – delicious.
How to prepare it?
This recipe is so simple and tasty! Be sure to buy the freshest yellowfin tuna possible when making ahi poke. Get sushi-grade tuna if you can.
You will need:
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon of roasted macadamia nuts, crushed
- ½ teaspoon of Hawaiian sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Using a sharp knife, slice the tuna into 1-inch pieces and place into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least two hours. You may marinate for up to two days. Serve over sushi rice or noodles, and enjoy!
A comforting noodle soup, often compared to Japanese ramen. It was developed during Hawaii’s plantation era, as a result of many cultures coming together.
Where to find it in Hawaii!
For an incredible eating experience of one of the greatest hawaiian food recipes, visit Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai on the main island, run by Hawaii’s culinary ambassador Sam Choy. The Kai Lanai offers up a panoramic view of the Pacific as you tuck into local favorites such as classic vegetable Saimin, or Moe’ Moe’ Saimin with teriyaki beef.
To see where the locals eat, venture over to Hamura’s Saimin Stand, a counter-service restaurant also based on the main island. Soak up the lively, busy atmosphere as you watch your food being made right in front of you. There are plenty of options to choose from, but we advise you try the shrimp tempura Saimin!
Cook it at home!
Saimin is a really hearty homemade dish which makes for great comfort food, but it also an excellent healthy option! You can try all sorts of ingredients, including some great no-meat options for vegetarians, but we’ve chosen a shrimp and vegetable Saimin for this recipe.
- 1 pound of raw shrimp
- ½ pound of noodles (soba, udon, or lo mein)
- 2 teaspoons of Hawaiian sea salt
- 12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- ½ cup of soy sauce
- 1 bunch of Chinese broccoli
- 1 bunch of bok choy, sliced
- 5 scallions, sliced
- 3 soft-boiled eggs
First, cook the shrimp in boiling water with the sea salt for 2-3 minutes, until pink. When cooked, remove them from the water and place in the refrigerator. Place the noodles in water and cook on a low heat. Add the bok choy and broccoli for the final two minutes. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms and ginger in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and simmer gently to create the broth. Afterwards, the noodles and shrimp to the broth and serve. Top with the mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, scallions and sliced soft-boiled egg. Simply Delicious.
While the majority of hawaiian food recipes was heavily influenced by Asian food, the presence of Portuguese workers in the plantation era left their legacy in the form of the Malasada – a form of doughnut with no hole, and now a firm favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. Malasadas are traditionally rolled in sugar, and served plain or with filling.
Taste it in Hawaii!
Easily the most famous Malasada spot in Hawaii is Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu, first opened in 1952. The vast menu offers an assortment of pastries, cakes, cookies and pies, but the star of the show is the Malasada – devour them rolled in plain or cinnamon sugar, or filled with custard, chocolate, classic Hawaiian Haupia, or ‘filling of the month’.
For somewhere a little off the beaten track, pay a visit to the Panalu’u Bake Shop on the main island, secluded on a beautiful exotic estate close to the Volcanoes National Park. Feast on traditional Malasadas and other sweet treats here, and you can also buy their Malasada mix to take home and try!
Prepare it yourself!
A wonderful treat for those with a sweet tooth, Malasadas make for a great snack, or the perfect pudding after a Hawaiian main course. This recipe shows you how to make them plain, but you may choose to add any filling if you prefer!
You will need:
- 25 ounces of active dry yeast
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 6 cups of flour
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup of melted butter
- ½ cup of evaporated milk
- 1 cup of water
- 2 quarts of vegetable oil
Place the flour in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then pour it into the flour, along with the eggs, melted butter, 1 cup of water, milk, and ½ cup of the sugar. Beat all the ingredients together until a smooth dough has been formed. Cover the dough to allow it to proof until it has doubled in size. Heat the vegetable oil to 380 F and separate the dough into small balls. Deposit them into the oil and fry them for 2-3 minutes until golden. When cooked, drain the oil, roll the Malasadas in the remaining sugar, and serve.
We hope you enjoy our local hawaiian food recipes! We know we did!
Try out some of these recipes at home – the flavors of Hawaii may even tempt you to pay a visit to the islands themselves! Don't forget to check out the rest of our blog for more great travel tips!
Have a great Hawaiian recipe of your own. Post a comment below and let the rest of the world know!