5 Things to Eat in Hawaii

Hawaii is known as a tropical paradise. A stereotype it lives up spectacularly, with its magnificent beaches, incredible jungle hikes, rolling hillsides covered in green, stunning waterfalls, beautiful hotels and resorts and its relaxed island vibe. But what is there to munch on between mouthfuls of mai tai, hours of sunshine and all that fun paddling in the surf? Here’s your rundown of 5 things to eat in Hawaii .

Stunning tropical scenery, Hawaii
Stunning tropical scenery, Hawaii

5 Things to Eat in Hawaii:

1. Loco Moco

This incredibly popular, if somewhat artery-clogging, dish can be found all over the Hawaiian islands. From cheap, greasy takeaways to the fanciest of hotels, you’ll see this meal popping up all over the place. Traditionally a hamburger patty on rice, topped with a fried egg or two, all doused in brown gravy, it now comes in a variety of guises. These variations usually involve swapping the hamburger patty for something else: spam, bacon, seafood, beef or vegetables. Just as crazy as its name suggests, this dish is a must-try for anyone visiting the ‘Aloha State’.

2. Shave Ice

Another item in our list of things to eat in Hawaii is Shave Ice. It is just about the perfect snack for a hot day at the beach (lucky it’s so popular in Hawaii)! On a basic level it’s just ice, crushed or shaved, then covered with sweet, fruity syrups of your choice, kind of like a snow cone or slushy drink. In reality though, great shave ice has the uncanny ability to transport you back to that giddy childhood elation of eating ice creams by the ocean.  Additions to the colourful mound of ice can include condensed milk, a scoop of ice cream, nuts and (strange as it might sound) beans.

5 Things to Eat in Hawaii: Shave ice
Shave ice

3. Kalua Pig

For most the mention of Hawaii instantly conjures up images of girls in hula skirts, men in flowery shirts, people sipping drinks adorned with fruit and colourful umbrellas by the beach, and everyone with garlands of flowers round their necks. Add to that a kalua pig and you’ve got yourself a luau (a Hawaiian party or feast)! But you don’t have to be at a luau to enjoy kalua pig. This slow-cooked pork is traditionally cooked in an underground oven called an ‘imu’, made by digging a whole in the ground, placing in hot stones and cooking an entire pig covered in banana leaves, to keep in the heat. The result is tender, smokey pork which can be pulled apart and melts in your mouth. Delicious!

5 Things to Eat in Hawaii: Kalua pig is the middle dish of this Hawaiian meal
Kalua Pig

4. Poke

If you like sushi or sashimi you’ll love this: big chunks of raw fish, usually tuna, sliced up and tossed in a light dressing of soy sauce and herbs. It’s often served on warm sushi rice, as a poke bowl, or by itself, as a salad. Even if you don’t like raw fish be sure you take advantage of Hawaii’s abundance of cheap and wonderfully tasty seafood. This definitely should be in your list of 5 things to eat in Hawaii.

5 Things to Eat in Hawaii: A delicious poke bowl
A delicious poke bowl

5. Ted’s Chocolate and Haupia Pie

The best way to explore the Hawaiian islands is with your own rental car. If you make your way up to the famous North Shore of Oahu, home to some of the planet’s best surf, then head to Ted’s Bakery for one of their delicious pies. If you don’t get up to the North Shore don’t worry too much because these pies can now be found in pretty much any supermarket anywhere on the island. There are a whole range of delightful flavours to pick from but one of the classics is the chocolate and haupia (a traditional, coconut milk-based dessert).

5 Things to Eat in Hawaii: Ted's Chocolate and Haupia Pie, The North Shore of Oahu
Ted’s Chocolate and Haupia Pie, The North Shore of Oahu

What’s your favourite Hawaiian dish? Is there a Hawaiian delicacy I missed off the list? Let us know in the comments below.

About James Gill

Born and raised in the UK, James got his first taste for travel on an inter rail trip, round Europe. Since completing his English Lit. degree, he has spent most of his time working and traveling in Asia. As well as the UK, James has lived in Thailand and southern China and is now trying his luck in Australia. He has backpacked throughout Southeast Asia and China and travelled in America, Australia and Europe. He is a keen reader and loves eating spicy food.

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