Sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii has blended the culinary traditions of Polynesia, America and Asia over the generations.
When on vacation here, make it your personal mission to experience the flavors of Hawaii, as there are many dishes and drinks that are just waiting to be discovered by passionate travelers like yourself.
Below, we will discuss some of the most prominent foods and beverages that you will find across the islands…
Hawaiian Shave Ice
No matter when you find yourself in Hawaii, the temperature is constantly on the warmer side of the scale.
Not surprisingly, ice cream is a very popular way to beat the heat, but a locally authentic way to do this is to get some Hawaiian Shave Ice instead.
Originating in Japan, immigrants to the Hawaiian islands brought the tradition of shaving a block of ice into a snow like texture, then drizzling it with a variety of flavored syrups to the islands over the years.
While this treats can be commonly found at midways on the American mainland these days, local variants of Hawaiian Shave Ice contain a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom of the cone or plastic bowl.
In some versions, sweetened condensed milk is also drizzled over the top, which is a type of Shave Ice that is known as a snow cap.
One thing that you should keep in mind is that on the big island of Hawaii, Hawaiian Shave Ice is known as ice shave, so if you are making your way from your modern villa that you acquired through Big Island Hawaii rentals to a vendor, remember this so that you don’t embarrass yourself in front of the shopkeeper.
On the west coast of the Big Island lies some of the best loved coffee fields in the world. In the Kona area, coffee plantations thrive in the highly fertile volcanic soils, producing a blend that has gained fans around the globe.
Go on a plantation tour, and then sample the various kinds of coffee drinks available at the many stylish cafes that can be found in the village below.
Of all the culinary specialties that are unique to Hawaii, the plate lunch is the most noteworthy of the bunch.
Typically consisting of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, Ahi Poke, and entrees such as Chicken Katsu (a Japanese speciality that involves battering chicken with tempura), Hawaiian kalua pork, Korean kalbi, Filipino Chicken Adobo, and American hamburger steak, there are innumerable versions of this iconic Hawaiian meal.
The end result of what happens when you combine spam with the traditional Japanese dish of sushi, Spam Musubi is a bite-size treat that is available at many corner stores across Hawaii.
Constructed by putting a piece of grilled spam on top of a block of rice, and then wrapping it in Nori, it is often served with dipping sauces such as soy sauce or Japanese mayonnaise.
If the traditional construction of Spam Musubi seems a little boring to you, there are variations that include things like daikon, hot dog, scrambled egg, shrimp to name but a few additional ingredients.