7 Local Foods You Must Try in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are a traveler’s haven with their white sand beaches, lush green mountains, and turquoise waters. But what truly makes Hawaii the paradise of the Pacific is its inspired local food. Although somewhat influenced by the Japanese, Chinese, European, American, and Polynesian cuisines, Hawaiian food has carved its own identity.

If you plan to visit Hawaii, here are five local foods you should not miss out on:


Saimin is a popular local dish that resembles Japanese ramen or soba noodles. The primary ingredients are wheat noodles, meat, scallions, and nori, but the broth is more transparent and lighter than other ramen noodles. A bowl of Saimin noodles also offers eggs with a crunchy flavor. 


Malasadas is the Portuguese version of a donut, introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese cowboys. These sugar-coated fried balls are crunchy, gooey, and delicious. You can find stuffed versions of Malasadas with rich fruit, cream, or chocolate fillings.

Kālua pork

The literal meaning of ‘Kālua’ is to cook in an underground oven. Traditional  Kalua pork is a whole hog that is salted, seasoned, and wrapped in banana leaves. It is then slow-cooked in an underground oven (imu) for several hours. The meat slowly tenderizes, and you can then break it away from the bones to prepare a pork-based dish of your choice.


When in Hawaii, do not miss out on this mouth-watering dessert. The roots of Haupia lie in Polynesia, and coconut is its primary ingredient. Hawaiians turn the coconut milk into a jello-like consistency to make Haupia. You can eat Haupia as a standalone dessert or combine it with chocolate and whipped cream to make a sumptuous pie.

Spam musubi

After trying Haupia, if you want to refresh your palette with the delectably salty  Spam Musubi. It contains thick spam slices layered on top of rice and bound with seaweed. A rich soy and sugar sauce balances the saltiness. 

Shave ice

When you tire of the tropical humidity and scorching sun, Shave ice is a refreshing respite. It is a lot like regular ice pops, but with a smoother texture. Instead of artificial ingredients, Hawaiians use natural fruits like coconut, guava, pineapple, mango, and star fruit to make their syrups. You can opt for mixed syrups to create flavors that will cater to your individual taste.

Lau Lau

If you like meat and seafood, you must try Lau Lau. It’s an ancient Hawaiian dish with a fatty pork belly or fish (sometimes both) wrapped in taro leaves. Chefs add salt seasonings to Lau Lau before steaming it to create a flavor extravaganza.  

Delectable Mexican food in Honolulu 

If you want to try these mouthwatering Hawaiian/Mexican foods in Honolulu, Surf N Turf Tacos should be your one-stop destination. At our restaurant in the heart of Waikiki, we offer a wide selection of dishes made from fresh, locally-sourced produce. You can call us at 808.922.8226 or drop an email at surfnturftacos@gmail.com to know more.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x