Top Five Must-Try Foods of Hawaii

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Top Five Must-Try Foods of Hawaii

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Nov 30, 2011

Hawaii’s most iconic foods just might be shave ice, kalua pig, malasadas, poke and—if you’re headed to Oahu’s North Shore—a plate of shrimp from one of the well-known food trucks that line the side of the road.

‘Tis the season for food, and with Hawaii’s great mix of cultures in this hub of an island chain, you’ll find quite the assortment of dishes on a holiday table here. I’ve never been a lover of the traditional holiday meal. I don’t like turkey. I don’t like dressing. I don’t like gravy. I don’t like ham.

I do like fish. I do like seafood. I do like vegetables. And I do like sweets. Let me repeat that last one. I do like sweets. A lot.

So, in Hawaii, with its eclectic spread of delectable dishes, I manage to fill my plate and overeat with the best of them. Here’s what you might find heaped on my plate this holiday:

1. Poke: fresh ahi cut in bite-size cubes and tossed with green onions, a pinch of chili pepper flakes, a sprinkling of sea salt, some shoyu and sesame oil. 

2. Shrimp summer rolls: chunks of shrimp, grated carrots, cubed mango, radish sprouts, a fold of baby lettuce all wrapped in rice paper.

3. Purple sweet potato anything but wrapped in ravioli--like at Kauai's Hukilau Lanai restaurant in Kapaa--and drizzled with a rich, creamy sauce is delightful.

4. Pan-seared scallops topped with sweet, chili sauce and served over rice.

The husband, being an equal opportunity eater, might go for some other traditional Hawaii dishes:

1. Laulau: pork and butterfish seasoned with crushed garlic, wrapped in leaves of taro and steamed in ti leaves.

2. Teriyaki chicken skewers.

3. Mesquite smoked marlin lumpia roll.

4. Grilled marinated pork tenderloin.

He likes his sweets, too, leaning more towards chocolate, so he’ll go for the Chocolate Lava Cake; whereas, I go for anything with lilikoi—passion fruit. Ideally, a lilikoi chiffon pie from Hamura’s.

What about you? What Hawaii-inspired dishes are you looking forward to eating this holiday season? (Or what ones would you like to try?)

Are you hungry yet?


susan | Dec 01, 2011 11:49 AM

How 'bout salmon poached in curry sauce? Or Ahi Nori Wraps ala Mermaid's? Or coconut panna cotta with Judy's homegrown lilikoi sauce? And, what about pure, fresh from the nut coconut water? That should be on the top 5, really. But, your list is good, too.

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