When one thinks of Hawaii, the first thought that often comes to mind is the dazzling sunsets, the blue ocean and a good time on the beach. However, along with the wonderful sites, the local cuisine often tends to leave a stronger and better impression of the place. Here is a list of some of the food items that are an absolute must when visiting Hawaii
10 Dishes That you must Try out In Hawaii
1. Saimin Noodles
Often confused with its Japanese counterpart ramen, Saimin is inspired by it but has a taste and complexity of its own. It is the most famous comfort food of Hawaii and can be eaten at any time of the day. The dish consists of white, thin noodles with a clear broth and the toppings vary from individual to individual. Some prefer to add fishcakes, pork strips, egg, and shrimp while others add boiled vegetables. It is also extremely inexpensive.
It is a traditional staple food of Hawaii. It is made up of by pounding the root of the taro plant with water. This results in a pale purple paste that is also considered a superfood by many. It is also somewhat of an acquired taste. However, the taste is balanced by the immense health benefits that are obtained from the paste.
While Poi is made out of the root of the taro plant, LauLau is made out of the leaves. LauLau is usually pork wrapped around the taro leaves which is cooked in an underground oven for several hours. Due to this, the meat gets cooked till tender while the leaves turn into a somewhat mushy consistency.
Heavily influenced by Chinese meat bun, Manapua is a popular snack in Hawaii. With its name translating to ‘ delicious pork thing’ , it consists of a white bun with diced pork filling. The buns can be either steamed or baked, depending on the individual. Several frozen or packaged versions are available in the supermarkets but it is highly recommended to taste it fresh.
5. Kalua Pork
A dish similar to the LauLau in some ways, Kalua Pork is basically made from boar and is cooked in an underground oven. Leaves and rocks are used to cover the meat to keep it tender and moist. Meanwhile, salt and various other spices are used to give flavour to the meat.
After a heavy meal, the best thing always seems to be a desert. Malasadas are fried dough that is covered either in cinnamon powder or sugar. Perhaps even both. The coverings vary from place to place giving each malasada a unique taste.
7. Loco Moco
Although the name might confuse a few, the dish is actually really simple and delicious. It’s just rice along with a hamburger patty, soaked in a thick mouthwatering gravy. And also an egg or two, as a topping choice. This is local favourite comfort food and is best eaten simply. Although some restaurants do try to add their own spin to the dish, by using ribs as well.
It is present almost everywhere in Hawaii. From birthdays to office parties, there’s no place where poke doesn’t make an appearance so why should we miss on it? It is raw and fresh seafood that is marinated in different sauces. Along with a plate of rice, poke makes the perfect companion for a beach trip.
9. Shaved Ice
Well shaved ice is nothing but our beloved Ice Gola. Delightfully familiar, this dish is a way that people can try out the taste of Hawaii without stepping too much out of their comfort zone. The shaved ice is flavoured with local ingredients like coconut cream, passion fruit, and li hing mui.
10. Plate Lunch
In this, a customer picks one out of the various entrées served. The entrées vary depending on the restaurants and the season. However standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, a macaroni salad, and an entrée. The most popular entrées are chicken katsu, Kalua Pork or kalbi.