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Article: Your guide to traditional Hawaiian food & must-try dishes

Your guide to traditional Hawaiian food & must-try dishes

Embark on a delectable journey through the vibrant flavors of Hawaiian cuisine, where the rich cultural tapestry of the islands comes alive on your plate. In this guide, weʻll explore traditional Hawaiian dishes that showcase the unique bland of indigenous, Polynesian, and Asian influences, inviting you to experience the true essence of Aloha. 

  • Poke: A Must Try

You can't miss this quintessential Hawaiian dish that celebrates the ocean's bounty. Freshly diced raw fish (often ahi tuna or salmon), mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, and an array of toppings like seaweed, avocado and edamame. Each bite is a burst of vibrant flavors.


  • Poi: A Traditional Staple

Expand your palate with Poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish made from mashed taro root. Its unique, slightly tangy taste adds a cultural depth to your culinary experience. Poi can be enjoyed on its own or as a side dish, offering a true taste of Hawaiʻi's agricultural bounty.

Did you know that taro is an important part of Hawaiian culture? Taro is said to be the firstborn offspring of the god Kane, the creator of sunshine and fresh water. Since poi is made from taro, it is a considered a sacred dish.


  • Loco Moco: The Ultimate Hawaiian Comfort Food

This hearty dish features a bed of rice topped with a juicy hamburger patty, a fried egg, and hearty brown gravy. A fusion of Hawaiian, American and Asian influences, loco moco is a beloved favorite that captures the essence of Hawaiian soul food. Pro Tip: Don't forget the Tobasco.

Loco Moco

  • Hawaiian Plate Lunch: Mix Things Up!

Don't miss out on a plethora of local flavors! Have a taste of the variety of local favorites with a Hawaiian plate lunch. A typical plate lunch consists of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and a protein such as teriyaki beef, kalua pork, chicken katsu, or mahi mahi. It's a delicious reflection of the Island's diverse culinary influences.

Hawaiian plate lunch

  • Lau Lau: Unwrapping Traditions

Uncover the secrets of lau lau, a traditional Hawaiian dish that showcases the art of slow-cooking. Pork or fish is wrapped in taro leaves and ti leaves, then steamed to perfection. The result is a tender, flavorful delicacy that pays homage to the Island's cultural roots. Traditionally, lau lau is cooked underground for hours. This delivers the distinct flavor that makes this dish a local favorite.

Lau Lau

  • Haupia: Sweet Perfection

Indulge your sweet tooth with haupia, a coconut milk-based dessert that has stood the test of time. This velvety treat is often served in pie form or as a pudding, delivering a luscious and tropical finale to any Hawaiian meal.


Hawaiian cuisine is a celebration of heritage. From freshness of poke bowls to the comforting warmth of loco moco, every bite tells a story of tradition, innovation, and the unique cultural blend that defines the culinary landscape of Hawaiʻi. So bring a friend and join us in savoring the delightful cuisine that Hawaiʻi has to offer. 

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