Hawaiian Food Recipes

More on the history and shaping of Hawaii’s Cuisine

The truth is that Hawaii is a tropical State unlike any other in the United States. Our eight islands — Big Island (Hawaii), Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe — are 2,400 miles west of California in an otherwise unpopulated portion of the Pacific. These main islands along with 132 smaller islands, reefs, and shoals, are scattered across 1,523 miles of the Pacific, southeast to northwest across the Tropic of Cancer.


Hawaii is thar rare phenomenon of a truly multiethnic society, the most diverse in the United States and possibly the world. It all began with travelers from the South Pacific islands of Polynesia. During the last two centuries, since their discovery by Europeans. the Hawaiian islands have attracted explorers, merchants. Investors, and workers from England, France, Russia, the United States, China, Japan, Korea, Samoa, Africa, che Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, Portugal, and Southeast Asia.

The astonishing, high-energy confluence of East and West expresses itself in the everyday life of the Islands—in everything from language and religion to food and art. Even after thirty years of statehood and the development of tourism as the number one industry during the 1960s, Hawaii remains unique: a Hawaiian-Asian-American-Polynesian rainbow of life.

As for our food, it is based on an immense varierty of fresh, natural ingredients, abundant in texture and taste. It consists of beautiful dishes, presented with flair and panache, which are
extremely healthy because they are based on low-fat ingredients quickly and simply cooked. What has really happened here — rather quietly and with no great coverage in the culinary press — is the evolution of a kind of world cooking based on the international array of ethnic cuisines on the Islands, the availability of fresh, high-quality ingredients, and the concern for a nutricious, low-fat diet. Add to this the Islands’ style — lots of outdoor cooking, outdoor entertaining, a taste for informal elegance and beauty, and the importance given to family, friendship, and hospitality—and you have Hawaiian cooking.

There is pineapple, but it”s not the dietary staple people imagine it to be. You’re more likely to find it used in a sorbet or a salad with papaya, mango, banana, and kiwi than stuffed with cubes of meat. The luau — which some mainlanders think of as a “primitive feast” — has more the soul of a decorous, bounteous French family picnic, albeit with lots of family members and music on guitars. And poi, a very healthy starch rich in vitamins and derived from che taro, is still eaten, but very likely in combination with a Japanese-style vegetable dish, a Chinese stir-fry, or as an accompaniment to salty dried fish.

In the authentic Hawaiian food recipes I’ve gathered and created on this website I offer the best of this spirited, concemporary Hawaiian cooking — the recipes with the most dash and distinction, the most taste, nutrition, and eye appeal—which characterize this trans-ethnic cuisine.

Readers who know a bit about Chinese and Japanese cuisines will find familiar ingredients and techniques, along with the challenge and fun of some new and surprising ones. Readers familiar with French and Mediterranean cooking will recognize some culinary landmarks — French chefs were a mainstay for many years at Hawaiian hotels and I, too, was trained in France—and lovers of spicy cooking will find happiness in the dishes inspired by emigres from the provinces of China and Korea and the sailors and fishermen who came to Hawaii from Portugal.

The modern cuisine of Hawaii is a blend of many cuisines brought up by multi-ethnic immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, chiefly of American, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Polynesian and Portuguese origins, including plants and animal food sources imported from around the world for agricultural use in Hawaii. Most local Hawaiian restaurants serve the plate lunch that includes macaroni salad, sticky rice, and an array of different toppings ranging from loco moco ; which is a hamburger patty, fried eggs and gravy – a dish that is unique to Hawaiian cuisine, or Japanese tonkastu that consists of deep fried pork.

When visiting Hawaii, you will come across many names and terms that may seem quite unfamiliar to you. This is due to the verity that Hawaii is such a melting pot of traditions from around the world with influences from Chinese, Japanese, and Hawaiian, Vietnamese and others.

Now have a look at some of the common Hawaiian Food Recipes and terms that can be found on the islands and the foods that one is likely to find at one of the luaus throughout Hawaii.

Banana bread – It is made with mashed ripe bananas and is often offered at luaus
Banana/Coconut/guava cake –You will probably find one of these tropical flavoured cake at nearly any luau that you attend in Hawaii.
Char siu – This rich and delicious, red spareribs is a dish that was brought by chemise immigrants to Hawaii.
Chicken Adobe – This is the national dish of the Philippines and is one of the favourite at luaus. It is a simmer with chicken and pork and a sauce of white vinegar, Soya sauce, peppercorns and garlic.
Chicken Katsu – It is a Japanese style fried chicken which is most often served with Tonkatsu sa
Chicken Long Rice – It is also among one of the staple at most luaus, this Chinese side-dish is prepared with chicken and long rice, oriental vermicelli or bean strands.
Chicken Lu`au – It is a Hawaiian favourite cooked with chicken, taro leaves and coconut milk.
Fried rice – It is one of the standard cuisine, it is cooked with meat or sea food and a wide assortment of vegetables.
Haupia – It is a traditional Hawaiian dessert that is coconut flavored and can be best described as “stiff pudding”/
Huli Huli chicken – It s Hawaii ‘s own version of barbecued chicken and is cooked with hauli hauli sauce .This sauce is prepared with Hawaiian brown sugarcane along with soy sauce and fresh ginger
Kulolo –It is a Hawaiian pudding made of taro, brown sugar and coconut milk.
Lau Lau – It is salt butterfish, beef, chicken or pork, wrapped in taro or tea leaves and is then steamed
Macaroni salad – It is a mainland favorite brought to Hawaii and is served at many luaus. Like many salads, it can also be prepared in many different ways.
Mango bread – This version of mango bread is from a recipe by Hawaii’s most famous chef, Sam Choy

araimo dasheen
black beans
Chinese parsley
choi sum
chung choi
dau see
fueru wakame
gau gee
harm ha
Hawaiian salt
kim chee
kinpira gobo
lau lau
deep fried tofu, fried bean curd
vinegar-flavored meal
yellowfin tuna
Japanese taro
salted and fermented black beans
Chinese broccoli
(or chung choy) preserved salted turnip
white radish or turnip
salted and fermented black beans
dehydrated seaweed
rice condiment made with seaweed flakes
Chinese dumpling. usually deep-fried
burdock root
shrimp sauce
coconut cornstarch pudding
coarse sea salt
roasted. pounded. and salted kukui nut
small dried fish
rice soup
fish cake
hot, spicy preserved vegetable
burdock root stir-fried with soy sauce and sugar
dried seaweed, dried kelp
tuber root flour cake
steamed bundle of meal in ti leaves
nishime cooked vegetable dish
nishime kombu narrow kep used in nishime
ocean salad deep-sea seasoned seaweed
ong choy swamp spinach or cabbage
‘öpakapaka pink snapper
oyster sauce
panko flour meal for breading
patis clear fish sauce
sake rice wine
shiitake mushrooms
shoyu soy sauce
somen fine wheat flour noodles
sukiyaki vegetable and meat dish
teriyaki soy-based sauce
taegu spice flavored codfish
ti leal broad leaf of ti plant
tofu fresh soybean curd
tortilla Mexican flat bread made of corn meal or wheat flour
udon noodles Japanese wheat noodles
wasabi Japanese horseradish, sold in paste and powdered form
won bok Chinese cabbage, makina, napa
yakitori Japanese-style grilled chicken


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One thought on “Hawaiian Food Recipes

  1. This is beautifully written and so colorful and easy to understand, Hawaii is the melting pot of culrures. I miss the easy food in the 50′s and 60′s. Thank you for sharing this article and I enjoyed reading this very much!

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