How to Eat Like a Local in Hawaii

How to Eat Like a Local in Hawaii

The stereotypical stories of Hawaii cuisine suggest that all we eat here are pineapples, Spam, and eggs. Throw in a little udon, perhaps some fresh seafood, and you’ve got a rather dull palette to manage.

Why eat like a local when resorts offer 5-star dining experiences with every possible ingredient?

Hawaii is a genuine melting pot of experiences. You can see Japanese, Chinese, and mainland influences throughout many of the dishes. When you start eating like a local, you’ll be hunting down the cafés, food trucks, and back-corner restaurants that make Honolulu such an intriguing culinary destination.

Get to Know the Plate Lunch

You won’t find a better meal than the plate lunch during your stay in Hawaii. This dish covers all of the basics so that you have the energy to explore. Use it as a late breakfast if you plan on hiking or participating in some of Honolulu’s unique retail therapy options.

The typical plate lunch includes white rice, some macaroni salad, and your preferred meat. Choices vary by location, although barbecue chicken, kalua pig, and laulau are considered standard fare.

Chicken katsu is an excellent choice if it is available.

Try Crack Seed Snacks

When you want a quick snack to boost your energy, visit a crack seed snack store. You’ll see dozens of glass jars that let you choose dehydrated and preserved fruits of all kinds. Most products come with li hing mui powder on them as a preservative coating. It comes from salted, dried plums, adding a unique element to the flavor.

It helps to ask for samples for items you’re unsure about, although it may not be offered as an option in some stores.

Find a Favorite Poke Vendor

This fast-food option is becoming a go-to meal on the mainland, but it has been available in Hawaii for a long time. Think of this culinary option as a salad bar with seafood, providing endless flavor combinations with vegetables, wasabi avocado, and ahi limu. Don’t forget to practice using your chopsticks!

Malasada Will Leave You Wanting More

Hawaiian Malasada is a take on the Catholic tradition of serving sweet pancakes at the beginning of Lend. It is a fried bread doughnut with an eggy texture with enough yeast to make it light and fluffy. A dusting of sugar on top makes it a super treat that leaves you wanting more. You can also fill it with a favorite cream, jam, or pudding to add another dimension of flavor.

If you want to eat like a local during your stay in Honolulu, try the haupia malasada, which uses coconut pudding as its filling.

You Can Never Go Wrong with Shaved Ice

Shaved ice is the Honolulu equivalent to a snow cone. When the weather is hot, this treat cools you down! What makes it such a fun item is that you can top it with almost anything. If you want to try it the local way, use lychee or lilikoi syrup.

If you’re feeling brave, try shaved ice as a meal with azuki beans and mochi balls.

What culinary option do you want to try first during your trip to Honolulu?

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