The Aloha State is the most isolated population center on earth, and as a result, our food preferences and culinary styles are unique from those you will find on the mainland. While some of these Hawaiian food dishes have roots in other cultures and have since made their way to the continental United States, these uniquely Hawaiian dishes are simply mouthwatering — though they may elicit a few weird looks until you offer to share.
- Spam + Seaweed + Rice = Spam Musubi
Hawaiians eat more Spam per capita than any other American state and there is even an annual festival dedicated to the canned meat. The most popular Spam product in Hawaii is Spam Musubi, a unique sushi-like snack that is mouthwateringly delicious and served at restaurants and convenience stores across the state.
- Bun = Manapua Delicious Meat + Steamed
Manapua translates to “delicious pork thing” in Hawaiian, and that is exactly what it is: diced pork filling inside a steamed white bun. You can substitute other meats, or even bean paste if you would like — yum!
- Cream Puff Pastry + Chocolate Pudding + Macadamia Nut Frosting = Coco Puff
If you’ve never had a famous coco puff from Honolulu’s famous Liliha Bakery, you’re totally missing out. The exact recipe is a highly guarded secret, though I’m sure you can find imitations online.
- Hamburger Steak + Rice + Egg + Gravy = Loco Moco
The loco moco: A beef patty nestled into a bed of rice with a fried over-easy egg balanced on top, with a smothering of brown gravy bringing everything together. I’m not sure who came up with this classic Hawaiian food, but we are forever indebted to them for the wonder that is this delicious — yet fattening — concoction.
- Coconut Rum + Blue Curacao + Pineapple = Blue Hawaii
The classic drink was invented in 1957 by a bartender at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, and though there are debates on what ingredients should be used in a Blue Hawaii, I’d like to think every variation is delicious.
- Acai Berries + Fresh Fruit + Granola:Oatmeal + Honey = Acai Bowls
Ah, there is nothing quite like an acai bowl before a day full of exploring Hawaii’s natural wonders. This is such a healthy and satisfying breakfast, and I’m still trying to perfect the sweet meal at home.
- Japanese Sticky Rice + Ice Cream Filling = Ice Cream Mochi
I was introduced to mochi shortly after moving to Hawaii and fell in love. Yes, you can find mochi in other states, but everyone knows that the best mochi comes from Hawaii’s own Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert.
- Pork + Taro Leaf = Laulau
This traditional Hawaiian dish is made with pork wrapped in taro leaves and steamed on the stove. Native Hawaiians prepared the dish in an underground oven and it’s served everywhere from local hole-in-the-wall restaurants to resort luaus.
- Banana + Sugar + Rice Paper = Banana Lumpia
This treat made its way to the Hawaiian Islands from the Philippines and is created by coating a banana in sugar, rolling it in thin rice paper, and then deep frying it. Consider your sweet tooth satisfied.
- Shave Ice + Ice Cream + Sweet Condensed Milk = Heaven
Shave Ice is absolutely divine, but it’s even better with a scoop of ice cream at the bottom and sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top. The sweet treat is the perfect complement to an afternoon on the water.