Sense of Place: The Food and Cuisine of Hawaii

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Clockwise: loco moco, spam sushi, and coconut cream pie)
A casual visitor to Hawaii might leave with the impression that the “native” cuisine is limited to the kind of fare found at luaus. In reality, there’s so much more! Let’s take a look…

The food in Hawaii is a rich fusion of Polynesian, Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and classic American cuisines. While some dishes have remained true to the culture of origin, many Hawaiian foods meld features from several cultures into one unique dish. In this way, Hawaii can claim to have been practicing fusion cooking before there even was such a thing!

We also want to point out an interesting cooking method used in Hawaiian cooking: the imu. This is an underground pit or oven used for slow cooking meats and is a particular feature of luaus.

Sides and Starches:
Poi Maoli from Recipezaar
Hawaiian Sweet Bread from Aloha World
Saimin Soup from Recipezaar
Coconut Shrimp from the Food Network
Lomi Lomi Salmon Salad or Spread from
Manapua from Recipezaar

Main Dishes:
Spam Sushi
Loco Moco from What’s Cooking America?
Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi from the Food Network
Korean Braised Short Ribs from the New York Times
Oven Roasted Kalua Pig from Epicurious
Huli Huli Chicken from Recipezaar
Lau Lau from

Huapia Coconut Pudding from Cyber-Kitchen
Hawaiian Wedding Cake from
Coconut Cream Pie from Epicurious

Pipikaula Hawaiian Jerked Beef from Recipezaar
Mai Tai from the Food Network

What other foods do you love from Hawaii?

(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn and Flickr members taka horri and kimberlykv licensed under Creative Commons)