If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, you'll want to enjoy all the fun-in-the-sun the islands have to offer. To experience some authentic Hawaiian culture, make a reservation for a luau while you're there. The food you find at a Hawaiian luau include some of the state's unique dishes, so be sure to try a little of everything. Hawaiian cuisine has a reputation for being delicious, and that reputation is 100% founded on fact!
Once you've booked Hawaii flights, make a list of the activities and attractions you want to experience while in Hawaii, as well as the dishes you're interested in trying. Here are a few that really ought to be on your list.
You'll find a decidedly Japanese influence in many Hawaiian dishes, thanks to the island chain's proximity to Asia. This is particularly apparent in a dish called poke. The Hawaiian version of sashimi (Japanese raw fish), poke typically consists of yellowfin tuna, but it can be made from other varieties of fish, such as tuna and salmon. Poke is made by marinating the fish in soy sauce, sea salt, and various spices. Poke is pre-seasoned, and sometimes contains other ingredients, such as kukui nuts, a slightly bitter yet smooth native nut. You'll find this delicacy at a variety of restaurants and grocery stores throughout the islands, so make sure you give it a try while you're in Hawaii.
Malasadas are deep-fried balls of dough, similar to donuts but without the hole. Traditionally they're not filled, but some people have started filling the confections with cream or jelly. Malasadas originated in Portugal, and are typically eaten on Fat Tuesday as a way to use sugar and lard before the beginning of Lent. Catholic Portuguese plantation workers brought this treat to Hawaii, and as a result Fat Tuesday is still known as Malasada Day in Hawaii. It may not be a low-calorie food, but the chance to experience Hawaian culture is a good excuse to try one...or two! These tasty snacks are typically coated in sugar, making them a very sweet, very tasty treat.
One of the better-known Hawaiian foods, poi is a popular dish which is served at many luaus. It's made by boiling and mashing the taro root. It has a very distinct flavor that may take some getting used to. It's of Polynesian origin, and historically not only served as nourishment to the Hawaiian people, but was also a highly important dish used in some religious traditions. When Hawaiian families uncovered a dish of poi at dinner, they believed the spirits of the ancestors of the Hawaiian people were present.
Kalua pig is also commonly served at luaus. This dish is akin to barbecue pork. It's cooked in an underground oven called an imu, which is dug out out of the sand or dirt. A whole pig, which has been salted, seasoned, and stuffed with hot rocks, is placed in the pit with hot rocks and vegetation, then covered with banana leaves, wet burlap, and a layer of sand or soil.
The kalua pig cooks for six to seven hours before it's dug up. The meat is shredded before serving to create a uniform flavor and consistency. The flavor of a kalua pig can only be achieved using this method of cooking, and it is typically only done in Hawaii. Make sure you experience an authentic kalua pig during your travels.
You're in for quite the culinary journey if you travel to Hawaii and partake of the local dishes. Hawaiian cuisine encompasses Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean influences. Its flavor is like no other on this planet. Make the most of your vacation and treat yourself to some unique local cuisine.
Hawaiian cuisine is like no other cuisine in the world. If you've booked Hawaii flights, be sure to leave room in your itinerary to sample a few of these delicious local dishes.