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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!
Hawaiian Culinary Highlights
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.
Culinary Adventures throughout Hawaii
See how dishes from Hawaii use local and ethnic styles and ingredients to reflect the islands' history and culture.
BALANCE IN A BOWL - The subway rumbles under Columbus Circle in New York City. Inside the towering Time Warner Center is Per Se by Chef Thomas Keller, one of the best restaurants in New York. This is where Brandon Baptiste cut his teeth, working tirelessly 12-16 hours a day, perfecting his culinary skills, and learning from the very best, to be the very best…More
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
Let Hawaii Forest & Trail show you an authentic Oahu, utilizing our unparalleled land access and interpretive guiding approach to provoke authentic place-based experiences that illuminate the island’s unique regions through in-depth interactions with our nature and culture. Our Hawaii Oahu tours offer a different perspective.
A beautiful Victorian Luxury Inn. One of Travel+Leisure Magazine's 30 Great US Inns. Spectacular gardens and ocean location. Luxury accommodations with king beds, extra large rooms (600sq.ft.), jetted tubs, fireplaces, gourmet meals, and more!
A relaxing beachfront retreat on the western shore of Oahu offering spacious guestrooms, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas. Villas feature fully equipped kitchens, living and dining areas, master bedrooms and baths and private balconies or patios.
The Paia Inn is located on the North Shore of Maui. Enjoy a white sandy beach with our private beach access. Each guest room offers wireless internet, flat screen TV, iPod clock radio, and complimentary coffee, tea, gym pass, daily maid service and business center.
Located ocean front on historic Banyan Drive in Hilo, Hula Hulas offers a creative twist on Hawaii cuisine. Sourcing from local farmers, fisherman, bow hunters and food artisans, Hula Hulas is Hawaii's best gathering spot for local cuisine, craft beers and cocktails, and live Hawaiian entertainment.
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Aston The Whaler on Ka'anapali Beach is at the heart of Maui's finest vacation destination. Just minutes from Lahaina, this resort offers spacious studio, one-, and two-bedroom oceanfront units complete with kitchens, private lanais and daily maid service.
Private Kauai Vacation Home Rental in Princeville, near all North Shore beaches, the Town of Hanalei and Princeville Golf! WiFi, mountain bikes, golf clubs, private tropical garden setting, full kitchen, outdoor shower, outdoor living space and many extras! Great Value for couples or families!
This newly renovated European Style resort with a Hawaiian tropical flair delivers exceptional accommodations that will appeal to discerning travelers. It offers great amenities that include the state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor pool, garden, sauna, and complimentary high-speed Internet.