Hawaii's Favorite Foods

The food of Hawaii reflects the racial diversity of the islands and creatively blends foods, tastes and textures from Hawaiian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and American cooking. Some of the island favorites follow below.


Saimin (most common and inexpensive)


Kalua pig



Mac salad


Shoyu chicken

Huli huli chicken






Aku or Ahi




Portuguese sweet bread

Portuguese sausage

Tripe stew

Lomi lomi salmon




Lau lau


Char sui

Siu gee yook



Noodles in soup

SPAM, commonly eaten fried w/ scrambled eggs for breakfast or with rice

Roasted, shredded pig with Hawaiian salt

Filipino spring rolls

Thinly sliced beef with Teriyaki marinade

Macaroni salad

Salted plum, typically in the middle of a Japanese rice roll

Chicken (typically thighs) boiled in Shoyu, sugar, ginger mixture until soft

Grilled chicken, typically sold at fundraisers

Typically a mixture of fresh, raw tuna (aku or ahi), onions and seaweed (ahi limu poki);

also made with octopus (tako poki) or white crab (crab poki)

Taro, boiled until soft and then pounded into a paste;

eaten with appetizers such as poki or sometimes with shoyu or cream and sugar


Tuna; yellowfin tuna


Dolphin fish (not the mammal)

Portuguese doughnut, typically deep fried and rolled in sugar

Pao Dolce; sweet egg-based bread

Linguica sausage

Just like it sounds; typically in a tomato-based broth

Diced raw salmon with onions, green onions, tomatos and salt

Mixed lunch take-out (plate or box)

Chinese baked buns with varied fillings (pork, black bean, chicken, etc...)

Chinese Dim Sum

Taro leaves, pork and salted fish wrapped in ti leaves and steamed

Sticky rice with pork and salted eggs wrapped in ti leaves and steamed

Sweet roast pork

Salted, fire-roasted pork

Some of my favorite recipes

Haupia (Hawaiian Coconut pudding squares)

4 c. coconut milk (2 cans + water to make 4 cups)

2/3 c. cornstarch

1 c sugar

Mix cornstarch and sugar with 1 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Boil the remainder, stirring frequently. Lower heat and stir as you pour starch mixture into boiling milk. Cook until thickened & begins to bubble. Pour into 8" square pan. Cool. Refrigerate to set until firm enough to cut into squares.

Kalua Pig (haole style)

One medium sized pork butt

Hawaiian salt

Smoke flavoring

Gash pork butt and rub in Hawaiian rock salt and smoke flavoring into gashes. Wrap in tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 hours or until tender and easy to shred. Cool until luke warm and then shred.

Zucchini Bread

1 cup oil

1 3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 cup coarsely shredded zucchini

1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrots

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp bkg soda

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup nuts and/or raisins (optional)

1 tsp vanilla

Squeeze water out of shredded vegetables then measure. Beat eggs and sugar together. Add oil and vanilla. Add vegetables first then dry ingredients. Stir/fold but do not overmix. Fold in raisins and nuts as desired. Pour into 2 foil-lined loaf pans (or greased and floured no-stick pans). Bake at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a nice brown on top. Cool thoroughly.