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Food Culture in Hawaii

With our bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, abundant upland cattle farms and Pacific Ocean waters teeming with sashimi-grade fish, Hawaiian cuisine is a beautiful tapestry of flavors and traditions. Here, ancient customs meet global influences brought to Hawaii over many generations, giving our local food culture more layers than a Maui onion. From farm-to-table Hawaii Regional Cuisine to traditional feasts fit for ke alii (royalty), you’ll find delicious culinary treasures on every Hawaiian island.
 
Oahu, known as The Gathering Place, is nothing short of a foodie paradise, and in the past few years Honolulu has emerged as one of the major culinary meccas in the U.S. Stroll through foodie ’hoods like Kakaako, Kaimuki and Chinatown to discover a melting pot of trendy eateries and mom-and-pop diners dishing up local specialties like plate lunch and loco moco (white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy). From downtown Honolulu to Waikiki, book a table at one of the iconic fine-dine restaurants that put Hawaiian cuisine on the map, including Roy’s and Chef Mavro.
 
If your travels take you to Kauai, assemble an epic Hawaiian-style picnic at the island’s famed sunshine markets, and treat yourself to a memorable meal at hotspots like Merriman’s or Eating House 1849. Maui’s mix of roadside food stands and gourmet restaurants is enhanced by the abundant produce grown in the island’s Kula region. The Island of Hawaii offers dining choices as diverse as its landscapes; just remember to finish your meal with a cup of homegrown Kona coffee. And don’t let the smaller populations of Lanai and Molokai fool you: these deeply rooted islands serve up tons of local flavor – from pillowy doughnuts and fresh bread at Kanemitsu’s Bakery in Kaunakakai to high-end sushi from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa at Nobu Lanai.

Food festivals throughout the Hawaiian Islands showcase our local food scenes. Prestigious events like the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival and Kapalua Wine & Food Festival gather top-notch chefs, sommeliers and winemakers from around Hawaii (and the world). From poi to pancakes, learn all about the “staff of life” at the East Maui Taro Festival, and sample a real Hawaiian delicacy in all its forms at the Waikiki Spam Jam. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is good to the last drop, while beloved events like the Maui Onion Festival, Lanai Pineapple Festival and Kauai Coconut Festival pay homage to our local crops. 
 
Speaking of celebrated chefs, you can even dine at restaurants run by two former Top Chef contestants: Lee Anne Wong’s Koko Head Café in Honolulu and fan-favorite Sheldon Simeon’s Tin Roof in Kahului, Maui. And of course, a trip to Hawaii isn’t complete without experiencing the sensory delights of an authentic luau – nightly celebrations of our islands’ rich culture and cuisine that are nothing short of ono (delicious).

Farm-to-Table Hawaii

Farms and Agriculture

Each Hawaiian Island has its own agricultural region, from Upcountry Maui to the rich volcanic soil on the Island of Hawaii. Pay a visit to our many farms and ranches to see our farm-to-table traditions in action.

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Farmers Markets

Sweet lilikoi (passion fruit). Succulent pineapples. Even fresh-baked banana bread and local macadamia nuts. Held just about every day of the week, Hawaii's farmers markets give new meaning to the word "fresh."

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Hawaii Regional Cuisine

The farm-to-table philosophy is central to Hawaii’s defining cuisine. Founded by 12 pioneering chefs, Hawaii Regional Cuisine uses fresh island ingredients – including locally caught fish and more fruits and vegetables than you can name – to create an exciting fusion of flavors.

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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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Explore Food in Hawaii

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showing 81 - 90 of 118
Maui
Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia, HI 96779
Summary

Maui's most memorable oceanfront dining experience, famous for our heart-stirring windward setting. Artfully designed to evoke a feeling of Hawaiian hospitality, from the gecko-shaped tile walkway to the fish cooked in coconut milk and lime juice.

Websites
Oahu
Orchids
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, HI 96815
Summary

An oceanside restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a panoramic view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. Decorated with a profusion of colorful orchids, creative seafood specialties are presented in a setting which is informally elegant.

Websites
Hawaii
Ainakai
78-128 Ehukai Street
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Summary

At Ainakai, guests enjoy a tropical buffet breakfast, Island juices, fresh fruits and made-to-order specialty items enhanced with warm aloha service. Ala Carte options are also available.

Websites
Hawaii
Huggo's
75-5828 Kahakai Road
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Summary

Huggo's is nestled in the heart of Kailua Kona and specializes in award-winning entrees like fresh island fish and beautiful sunsets. Reservations required. "Huggo's on the rocks" is the perfect setting for lunch or pupus & cocktails at the ocean's edge.

Websites
Oahu
Pa'akai
57-091 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
Summary

Pa'akai – or "sea salt" in the Hawaiian language, reflecting Hawaii’s numerous seaside salt beds – features sea-to-table cuisine. Pa'akai’s menu highlights the best in fresh local fish, farm-raised lobster, Kauai prawns, sea asparagus, seaweed and sea salt produced in Hawaii.

Websites
Maui
Surfing Goat Dairy
3651 Omaopio Road
Kula, HI 96790
Summary

State of the art working goat dairy with over 25 cheeses including 11 National Award winners. Daily casual tours, grand's orchard tours, barbeques, special events, goat milk soaps, citrus relishes, specialty fruits & herbs.

Websites
Kauai
Voyager Grille
650 Aleka Loop
Kapaa, HI 96746
Summary

Voyager Grille has been completely refurbished, open 7 days a week for breakfast & dinner featuring private dining, a fabulous breakfast buffet and dinner specials featuring a Hawaiian Fusion influence.

Websites