Mon, August 15th, 2011 - By

Spotlight: 5 Foods from Hawaii


When we think of Hawaii, you probably think of frosty drinks with umbrellas in them, and of course, the beach. But a traveller’s gotta eat! And Hawaii, despite being an island, has some interesting foods that you might not have considered when planning your trip. Regardless, come hungry – there’s plenty to eat here in the Pacific.

1 – Tuna

Tuna has long been a precious resource here in Hawaii; out of all the sea species that hang out in the waters here in the Pacific, it seems tuna dries and stores well, which is good when in seafaring days the next door neighbours were a several days sail away! Today tuna comes in all shapes and sizes, but I think poke – a tuna dish made with veggies and spices, is one of my faves, but tuna sashimi (thinly sliced fish/meat) is another popular choice.

2 – Spam

Yes, ladies and gentleman, one of America’s most disgusting foodie creations is actually a popular foodstuff in Hawaii, it came into rise in the country because of this location as a strategic military spot, and for some reason soldiers thought this was a nutritious and delicious item. You’ll even see spam sushi – which just feels very, very wrong. But if you have never had spam, this is certainly an opportunity to try it, because you’ll not doubt find a permutation that will satisfy your palette.  Or at least make spam taste… good.

3 – Kona Coffee

As a caffeine addict, I have to add this tasty beverage to my Hawaii food highlights. Kona, if you don’t know, is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, mostly because such a small area of Hawaii is suitable for harvesting it and the quality of the output is superb. Kona is highly caffeinated, so if you are uninitiated, take care as I don’t want you to be awake for all 200 hours of your vacation.

Another hot tip is to try a Kona Coffee ice cream from Lapperts! Or how about a kona-infused beer? The options are limitless.

4 – Taro

This one is for our vegetarians in the audience! Taro is a tuber or root vegetable and has been harvested by the Pacific indigenous tribes for thousands of years, and is probably one of, if not the, oldest “cuisine” of Hawaii. The plant has developed into a cultural icon of the country, and even has its own customs, such as the fact that you aren’t supposed to argue around it, as its considered an “elder” Hawaiian.  When you’re having poi, that’s taro, but you should also try some taro chips, which can be yummy too!

5 – Shave Ice

Note the lack of a “d” in that headline.. shave ice. Not shaved ice. I’m not sure how to explain the difference – you’ll just have to taste it when you get to Hawaii. It’s everywhere, and the weather is warm, so the combination of the two is more than practical. The flavours are far fetched and so I suggest you go with a one-two combo to get a couple of tastes going on. Also, consider a topping… or, getting a little secret stash of ice cream in the bottom of your cone.

What are your favourite foods from Hawaii?

Photos by Banzai Hiroaki, bluewakiki , mikepetrucciarnold

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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