Hawaii’s food plates scene is rooted in the state’s Polynesian heritage
with many additions from the various cultures who have immigrated over the years to the islands.
Traditional foods include seafood, root vegetables (taro, yams), tropical fruits, and
More recent additions include Portuguese sweet bread, Chinese and
There are many fine restaurants who will serve up excellent seafood of locally
For a more local experience, you’ll want to seek out a ‘plate lunch’,
originally designed to be an easy meal for plantation workers. A
plate lunch will always include two scoops of white steamed rice, a scoop of mayo-
heavy macaroni salad, and a meat item such as chicken katsu, fried mahimahi,
Certain foods are often served at a luau
for many, are ‘must have’ items to try
• Lomi Lomi Salmon: Lomi lomi means massage, and the salmon in this dish is
It retains a bright red color and is
• Poke (pronounced PO-kay):
Similar to sashimi, raw yellow fin tuna is marinated
in soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil and served with cucumber as a finger food.
• Poi: This dish made of taro tends to inspire either a strong like or dislike.
very traditional item, dating back to the time in the islands when native root vegeta-
Taro is a starchy tuber
which is boiled or Water is added to achieve the desired consistently. It’s not usually eaten plain,
it serves rather like the bread that goes with an underground oven (imu) though
today they are often simply steamed in the
kitchen. Do not eat the ti leaves, just the filling.
• Kalua pork: This is the traditional centerpiece of a luau
is found also in many lunch plates.lay-lau It would traditionally be cooked in an imu, an underground
oven. The texture and taste is similar to pulled pork or carnitas.
• Haupia: A dessert menu will often include haupia pie.
based dessert thickened until it has a consistency like pudding or a gelatin dessert.
shave (not shaved) ice. Similar to a snow cone,
yet those are made with crushed ice
it is shaved, often done by machine,
the ice is so fine that it absorbs the flavored syrups quite
easily. Shave ice is often
served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or adzuki bean paste on the bottom and will require a straw to consume. Manapua-crumb of bread filled with char siu, chicken, beans;
Loco Moco-Rice + hamburger patty + fried egg + gravy all over
Shave Ice –The most delicious, finely shaven snow cone you’veever dreamed of, with syrup and coconut milk.
Malasadas –Deep-fried balls of heaven coated in sugar.
Stereotypical Hawaiian bar drinks tend to include rum, coconut, and fruity ingre-
dients and these concoctions are indeed readily available and enjoyed even by lo-
cals. Beachside hotel bars can be a great spot to chat with locals and travelers from
This is indeed the evening ‘nightlife’ scene, right here in the hotel bars.
Other good places to find a drink are lounges
attached to fine restaurants or in din-
In addition to fruity drinks, Hawaii has its own
beer (Kona brewing) and wines are on Maui.
on the Big Island and Kauai and is of a very fine quality.