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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!
Eat Like a Local
Consisting of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and everything from kalua pork, Korean barbecue, chicken katsu, beef teriyaki, or mahimahi, the plate lunch is a staple of local food.
No matter what island you’re on, grab a shave ice to cool off. These finely shaved snow cones are served with colorful flavors on the top with a choice of ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom.
“Pupu” is the Hawaiian term for appetizer, and every local restaurant in Hawaii offers a wide range of creative pupu platters to dine on, from poke dishes to sushi.
Treat your sweet tooth to a hot malasada (a Portuguese doughnut). Although Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu is popular on Oahu, ask any local and they can tell you their favorite bakeries on each island to find these fresh and tasty treats.
For big appetites, try a “loco moco,” which is a hamburger steak and egg over rice, covered in gravy. You can find loco moco served throughout the islands, but Café 100 in Hilo on the island of Hawaii is said to have originated the name.
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.More
Explore Restaurants by Island
From four-star Hawaii Regional Cuisine to famous North Shore garlic shrimp, Oahu is a foodie wonderland.More
With a monicker like "the Garden Isle," it's no wonder the restaurants and Sunshine Markets of Kauai are bursting with ultra-fresh fruits and vegetables.More
Lanai may be tiny, but the fine dining offered at the island's restaurants and resorts is more than enough to please any palate.More
Roadside farm stands, mom-and-pop shops serving fresh-baked banana bread and outstanding resort restaurants are among the amazing dining choices on Maui.More
On the Big Island, you can sip fresh Kona coffee, taste honey from a local farm, cool off with rainbow-flavored shave ice and much, much more.More
Outrigger Reef on the Beach combines inviting hospitality, timeless traditions and elegant style to create a distinctive Waikiki resort experience. Dine at two seaside restaurants and enjoy nightly live performances by legends of Hawaiian music.
Wailea Resort is a 1,500 acre master planned, world class resort situated on Maui's southern shore, spanning from the emerald slopes of Haleakala to the glistening shores of the Pacific. Our hotels, neighborhoods and retail/commercial areas all work in harmony.
Restored authentic Hawaiian plantation estate providing classes and accommodations on the North Shore of Maui with extensive programs for yoga, watersports, meditation and well being. Offering Farm-to-table dining, adventure classes and activities include surfing, kite surfing and paddle boarding.
Oceanfront accommodations at Hale Kai Hawaii B&B with a spectacular view of the Pacific and Hilo Bay. Located in a peaceful area minutes from Hilo Town. Watch surfers, dolphins, and seasonal humpback whales while you enjoy a delicious breakfast.
Aloha! On the ocean front in sunny Kihei. Maui Sunset Vacation rental condominiums on the beach in South Maui. Large accommodations with resort amenities, air conditioning, washer/dryer, wi-fi, & large private view decks. Suites are updated. Conveniently located in the Kihei-Wailea Resort area.
Kona Beach House: Plantation Manager's Beach House is an oceanfront home in sunny Kona. 4 bedroom/4 bath home is spacious and quiet with sandy beach and a private lagoon. Perfect for relaxation!
This Maui beachfront resort with low-rise buildings spans 34 acres of tropical landscaping and terraces down to Keawakapu Beach. Amenities include 4 swimming pools, paddle tennis, shuffleboard, barbecue grills and beachfront pavilion.