If you’re visiting Hawaii, make sure you take your appetite with you. There is an incredibly wide variety of food here that you’ve probably never even heard of as each Hawaiian island has something new and different to offer. Although this list is not an in-depth description of the best tastes of Hawaii, these are a few which I loved and have ever since been on the top of my list and should be on yours as well.
A traditional Hawaiian staple, poi is a thick paste made from taro root, which is similar to yam and potato but with a flavor which is more starchier. These taro roots are either boiled or baked and then pounded. While pounding, water is added into the mixture until it reaches a pudding-like smooth consistency. Poi has a unique flavor, with a slightly sour taste to it due to the fermentation in the preparation process. “Taro is one of the most nutritious starches out there,” says the Cultural Centre Ambassador of Polynesia.
Hawaiian version of of the Japanese sashimi, poke is a casual snack that celebrates the fresh fish, enhanced with a little seasoning, and is eaten on the go. This Hawaiian staple consists of cubed raw tuna (ahi), marinated in a mixture of sesame oil, shoyu, green onions, and Hawaiian salt. In some places, they even offer different dressings like Sriracha mayonnaise or wasabi mayonnaise.
Lomi Salmon is a traditional Hawaiian side dish which is prepared by mixing raw, diced and salted salmon with sweet Maui onions, tomatoes, and chili pepper flakes. As the word lomi is Hawaiian for massage, the salmon is then massaged with the ingredients to break up the fish and blend the flavors together. When the salty flavor of salmon is paired with the onions and tomatoes, the taste becomes one to cherish. The dish is best eaten cold, with crushed ice sometimes added to further chill it before serving.
Loco moco is a well-known Hawaiian dish that was originally invented to help curb the hunger of active surfers, and hence has high levels of carbs and proteins. There are many variations of it, but the traditional consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and a fried egg.
Saimin was originally developed in Hawaii’s plantation era. If you love ramen then this traditional Hawaiian staple will definitely be your next favorite. Soft wheat egg noodles are served in a hot dashi sauce, garnished with green onions along with other ingredients of your choosing, such as nori, kamaboko, and sliced Spam, among others.
Emmeline Brown is a passionate travel blogger. She shares an uncanny love for food and travel and has been dreaming of exploring the world ever since she took a trip to the Grand Canyon with her parents when she was 13. You can read more of her work in her freelance blogs, such as this Europe inspo article, and more on Travel & Chocolate Blog.