Beside my new found love of poke’ bowls, there are several Hawaiian foods that are recommended that we should try. We will start with the first which is of course the beloved, Hawaiian Ice. This is shaved ice, but not like a snow cone. Not crunched ice, but shaved ice. There is a difference. And the flavors are unique from mocha to mochi, ice cream, li hing mui, and even condensed milk topping.
Hawaiian Acai Bowl
The next food to add to the list is the Hawaiian acai bowl. This is a tasty dish with a variety of fruit and berries, coconut flakes, poi (pounded taro), pitaya (dragon fruit) and honey.
Another delightful Hawaiian dish is Kalua Pig. It is best served with cabbage and rice. This is the Hawaiian version of pulled pork.
A fun dessert to try is haupia. This is a coconut milk-based dessert. It has a gelatin consistency and is served in squares. Sometimes haupia is used as icing on wedding cake. In Hawaii, haupia can be purchased at McDonald’s.
Just the opposite of dessert is a food called Loco Mocos. This is a hearty dish that consists of a mound of rice, plus a beef patty with an over-easy egg. The entire plate is then topped with brown gravy. Mmmmm. Mmmm!
Spam musubis is spam fried in shoyu and wrapped with rice in nori. (Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species of the red algae genus Pyropia) This is an easy snack to take on picnics and to pack in lunches. Hawaiians take this to the beach, soccer games or to school. This snack is actually available near cash registers in most convenient stores in Hawaii.
Liliko’i butter – is a passion fruit butter in Hawaii. And it spreads on everything, from oatmeal to bread, to desserts and is sold on food trucks all over Hawaii. Don’t miss out when you are there.
Some of these foods can only be found in Hawaii or in specialty stores on the mainland, USA. But half of the fun of going to the islands is seeking out authentic food, and trying new things when you are there for a visit. One of the things I have recently discovered is all of the Poke’ restaurants available in the Kansas City area. I was so happy to find out one restaurant was only 10 minutes from my house! I had never been to this place and it’s right in the center of where I go all the time. I just didn’t notice.
Expanding your tastes and trying new foods is one of the best things about travel. But staying home and trying new foods is fun as well. As Hawaiian food continues to gain more traction in the Mainland, we are getting more familiar with foods we didn’t know about even 20 years ago. “People are becoming more curious about food and noticing that Hawaiian cuisine is more than what we once thought,” said Troy Guard, chef and owner of Eight Concepts across Denver. “It is this melting pot of the Pacific Rim, so really all of these flavors and combinations are infused in a diverse culture of food.”
And people across this country love the Hawaiian flavors and the cuisine. If you haven’t tried any of the Hawaiian dishes, please seek out a restaurant that cooks some of these flavors. It will be worth the effort, and you will enjoy a new taste and a healthy way to eat thanks to the Hawaiian people.