Hawaii Regional Cuisine
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What is Hawaii Regional Cuisine?
In 1991, twelve Hawaii chefs established Hawaii Regional Cuisine, a culinary movement that inventively blends Hawaii's diverse, ethnic flavors with the cuisine of the world. Hawaii Regional Cuisine takes advantage of the freshest island ingredients: cattle raised on the upland pastures of Hawaii Island, fruits and vegetables grown from rich, volcanic soil in Upcountry Maui, and some of the best quality fish in the world, to name a few. The 12 founding chefs were Sam Choy, Mark Ellman, Roy Yamaguchi, Beverly Gannon, Roger Dikon, Amy Ferguson Ota, Jean Marie Josselin, Peter Merriman, Philipe Padovani, George Mavrothalassitis, Alan Wong and Gary Strehl.
Where can I experience Hawaii Regional Cuisine?
Today, you can experience Hawaii Regional Cuisine throughout the islands by a variety of esteemed chefs. The twelve original award-winning chefs continue to dream up mouth-watering entrees and signature desserts in world-renowned restaurants. From Waikiki to Waimea, start making your reservations in these chefs' restaurants.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine Chefs:
Alan Wong's Restaurant (Honolulu, Oahu) was named #8 in Gourmet magazine's Top 50 restaurants in America, 2006. You can also get a taste of chef Wong's creations at The Pineapple Room in Ala Moana Center on Oahu.
Chef Roy Yamaguchi was Hawaii's first recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award. Visit Roy's locations at Roy's Hawaii Kai and Roy's Waikiki. Chef Yamaguchi also has restaurants in Ko Olina on Oahu, Lahaina and Kihei in Maui, Waikoloa on the island of Hawaii, and in Poipu on Kauai.
Indulge in critically acclaimed French-Hawaiian cuisine at Chef Mavro (Honolulu, Oahu). Chef Mavro holds the prestigious James Beard Foundation award and his restaurant has earned the Five Diamond rating from AAA in 2009.
Merriman's (Waimea, Island of Hawaii) has been named the “Best Big Island Restaurant” by Honolulu Magazine for eleven consecutive years. You can also get a taste of Peter Merriman's dishes at the Hula Grill in Kaanapali and Merriman's Kapalua, both in Maui.
At Sam Choy's Kai Lanai (Kona, Island of Hawaii), the panoramic views from the restaurant in historic Kailua-Kona are nearly as popular as the fresh ingredients that fuel the menu.
Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, Maui) and Mala Wailea (Wailea) are beloved for their fun atmosphere and delectable menus that merge Ellman's California roots with his more than 25 years of life in Hawaii. Ellman's most recent restaurant is Honu Seafood and Pizza (Lahaina), which offers incredible panoramic views of the ocean.
One of Hawaii Regional Cuisine's leading women has a handful of eateries on Maui and Lanai, including Haliimaile General Store (Makawao, Maui), Joe's (Wailea) and Lanai City Grille (Lanai City, Lanai).
Explore Restaurants by Island
From funky North Shore food trucks to the world-class culinary mecca of Honolulu, Oahu is truly paradise for foodies. True to its nickname, The Gathering Place, Oahu’s dining scene combines diverse global influences with locally grown ingredients, creating a melting pot of flavors you won’t find anywhere else.More
With a moniker like "The Garden Island," it's no surprise the restaurants and sunshine markets of Kauai are bursting with local fruits and veggies. On this laid-back island, you can keep it casual at poke joints, dress up for a high-end meal or ride your bike to Hawaii originals like Lappert’s Ice Cream in Hanapepe or Poipu.More
Lanai may be small, but the fine dining offered at resorts like the Four Seasons Lanai will dazzle even the most refined palates. In downtown Lanai City, explore quaint cafés or peruse the Saturday farmers market at Dole Park for pineapples, lilikoi (passion fruit) and other local treats.More
Roadside farm stands, mom-and-pop shops serving Maui’s signature banana bread and outstanding resort restaurants are among the diverse dining choices on the Valley Isle. See where it all comes from in lush Upcountry Maui, where you can visit farms, ranches and wineries in Kula and other towns.More
On the Big Island, the food is as diverse as the terrain. Sip your way through the coffee plantations that make the Kona region famous; snack on sweet treats from shave ice and mochi shops in Hilo; or feast on Hawaii Regional Cuisine at acclaimed restaurants like Merriman’s in Kamuela.More
Eat like a real Hawaiian on Molokai, where many locals still fish for their dinner off the Kaunakakai pier, and lining up at the back door of Kanemitsu’s Bakery for piping-hot bread is a nightly ritual. Don’t miss the chance to devour one of Molokai’s freshly-plucked coconuts, which you can even mail home!More