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Food Culture in Hawaii

With our bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, fertile upland cattle farms and Pacific Ocean waters teeming with sashimi-grade fish, Hawaiian cuisine is a colorful tapestry of traditions and flavors. Here, ancient customs meet international influences brought to Hawaii over hundreds of years, giving local food culture more layers than a Maui onion. From dawn until well past dusk, Hawaii offers visitors a dizzying menu of culinary wonders, including the islands’ own Hawaii Regional Cuisine, which blends the islands’ diverse flavors with the fruits of Hawaii’s farms and plantations.

In Hawaii, our palates have been influenced by generations of immigrants from around the globe, so it’s no surprise that our melting pot is filled with countless ethnic specialties. Local tastes are as varied as you’ll find anywhere in the world, but there are local delicacies that are more or less exclusive to Hawaii. Street food in the islands reaches its zenith in the plate lunch, served on a paper plate and featuring everything from teriyaki beef with two scoops rice to the Japanese hybrid, spam musubi. Locals are also drawn to loco moco breakfasts (white rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy), exotically flavored shave ice and custardy coconut haupia.

One more thing you need to know: the Hawaiian word for "delicious" is ono!

Video: Food in Hawaii

Take your taste buds off the beaten path with the flavors of Hawai‘i. Discover local comfort foods, island favorites, and authentic tastes from farm-to-table and gourmet, to hidden spots and must-trys.

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Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Created by 12 pioneering chefs, Hawaii Regional Cuisine leverages the freshest island ingredients including locally raised cattle, fish from local waters and fruits and vegetables grown in volcanic soil.

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Farmers Markets

Sweet lilikoi (passion fruit). Succulent pineapples. Even fresh-baked banana bread and local macadamia nuts. Hawaii's farmers markets give new meaning to the word "fresh."

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Farm and Agriculture Tours

Discover the agricultural cornucopia growing in Hawaii's rich, volcanic soil.

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Hawaiian Luau

No trip to Hawaii is complete without attending one of these traditional celebrations of food and culture. Feast on kalua pork cooked in an imu (underground oven), laulau (beef, pork, chicken or fish wrapped in taro leaves) and poi (taro starch) while hula dancers tell stories through their graceful movements. 

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Gaylord's Ribs
Kauai
Gaylord's at Kilohana
3-2087 Kaumualii Highway
Lihue, HI 96766
Summary

Gaylord’s offers one of Kauai’s most beautiful settings for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Our kitchen uses only the freshest, seasonal ingredients supporting our local farmers and fishermen. Our 67-acre sustainable farm provides much of the produce and herbs used in our dishes and cocktails.

Websites
Kilohana Mansion
Kauai
Kilohana
3-2087 Kaumualii Highway
Lihue, HI 96766
Summary

Kilohana Plantation is a historic landmark and premier visitor attraction offering visitors and locals a glimpse into Kauai’s past combined with assorted island-style activities, dining and shopping.

Websites
Lava Lava Beach Club Beachfront
Kauai
Lava Lava Beach Club
420 Papaloa Road
Kapaa, HI 96746
Summary

Located in the hip new Kauai Shores Hotel in Kapa'a on the Coconut Coast of beautiful Kauai. Lava Lava Beach Club is what you come to Hawaii for. Come get some sand between your toes! Creative cocktails, casual laid-back fare, delicious entrees on the beach with live musicians entertaining nightly.

Websites
Chocolate Farm & Botanical Tour
Kauai
Steelgrass Farm
Summary

Eight-acre Steelgrass Farm – so-called after a nickname for bamboo, a member of the grass family with a mechanical strength that rivals metal — is on Kauai’s East side, above the town of Kapa’a, between Sleeping Giant and Mt. Wai’ale’ale. We grow Chocolate, Vanilla and offer popular farm tours.

Websites
Red Salt Dining Room
Kauai
Red Salt
2251 Poipu Road
Koloa, HI 96756
Summary

Red Salt’s diverse menu by acclaimed Executive Chef and Kauai native Noelani Planas celebrates fresh Hawaiian seafood and produce in a casual, yet sophisticated seaside atmosphere.

Websites
Pupus and mai tais
Kauai
Tasting Kauai
Summary

Tasting Kauai invites residents and visitors on a culinary romp through paradise. Learn how to buy local through educational and fun events while connecting with Kauai’s culture, aloha, people and land. A portion of all book and tour sales are donated to the Hawaii Food Bank - Kauai Branch.

Websites
Grinding cacao beans into chocolate
Kauai
Garden Island Chocolate
5-2719 Kuhio Highway
Kilauea, HI 96754
Summary

Garden Island Chocolate is the premier gourmet Hawaiian chocolate company. We make organic dark chocolate bars,(85% cacao) chocolate truffles and a hot chocolate drink. We have guided chocolate farm tours and tastings every Mon, Wed, & Friday at 9:30am. The tours are very popular so book in advance.

Websites