Hawaiian Food Traditions

 In Aloha Spirit, Randy's Insider Tips

We love to bring the spirit and nature of the islands here to the mainland.  That even goes for the food.  There are some Hawaiian delicacies that not everyone is on board with, but there are others that just about everyone loves.  Here are some traditional Hawaiian foods and styles that perhaps you and your family will want to explore.

One of the biggest traditional foods of the islands is poi.  Let’s start off telling you how it’s made.  Poi is made from the taro root.  This is considered one of the most popular types of food on the island.  People who are indigenous to the islands or from other Polynesian islands are accustomed to this being served at various gatherings.  The taro root resembles and has a similar texture to a potato.  The dish is considered to be quite healthy for those who partake in it.  It is a valuable source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A and C.  The dish is made from taking the root and pounding it and then blending it with water to form a yogurt-like dish.  Since the root itself is bland in nature the dish is sweetened with sugar or fruit and is traditionally eaten as a breakfast item or dessert.  Some people find it to be an acquired taste, but for islanders it is a staple for most of their meals.

Next up is Kalua pork.  This is served traditionally in a luau setting.  This type of pork is mainly derived by how it is cooked rather than the dish itself.  The Hawaiian word “kalua” is loosely translated to mean being cooked in an underground oven.  The meal is prepared by placing a cleaned, whole pig in a large pit in the ground with lava rocks put over an open flame.  They then cover the pit with the pig inside with banana leaves and soil.  The pig remains underground cooking for at least eight hours, depending on the size and weight of the pig.   The slow cooking process makes the meat tender and moist, making this one of the most popular types of dishes served in Hawaiian households.

Another very popular Hawaiian cuisine which has reached mainland popularity is poke or poke bowls.  Traditionally, poke means “to cut,” which essentially defines how this popular raw fish dish is prepared.  In Hawaii, ahi tuna is cut into bite-sized pieces and often marinated in a soy based sauce and served over rice.  The current poke bowl movement has added additional bases like greens and a host of other toppings mixed in.  Poke is a very healthy dish which packs a lot of protein which is why it’s become so popular as of late.

Hawaiian food is about flavor created with love and family in mind.  This is something that Desert Island Restaurants wants to achieve in most of their locations.  Marry the tastes of the islands with those here on the mainland.  Some of our restaurants, such as Ling & Louie’s Bar and Grill really show off how this is achieved.  So  now if you and your family are planning a trip to the paradise the Hawaii has to offer you are more aware of some of the dishes you may come across or even be asked to partake in.

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