Cuisine of Hawaii

The cuisine of Hawaii incorporates five distinct styles of food, reflecting the diverse food history of settlement and immigration in the Hawaiian Islands.[a] In the pre-contact period of Ancient Hawaii (300 AD–1778), Polynesian voyagers brought plants and animals to the Islands. As Native Hawaiians settled the area, they fished, raised taro for poi, planted coconuts, sugarcane, sweet potatoes and yams, and cooked meat and fish in earth ovens. After first contact in 1778, European and American cuisine arrived along with missionaries and whalers, who introduced their own foods and built large sugarcane plantations. Christian missionaries brought New England cuisine[1] while whalers introduced salted fish which eventually transformed into the side dish lomilomi salmon.

As pineapple and sugarcane plantations grow, so did demand for labor, bringing many immigrant groups to the Islands between 1850 and 1930. Immigrant workers brought cuisines from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Portugal after arriving in Hawaii, introducing their new foods and influencing the region. The introduction of new ethnic foods, such as Chinese char siu bao (manapua), Portuguese sweet bread and malasadas, and the Japanese bento, combined with the existing indigenous, European, and American foods in the plantation working environments and in the local communities. This blend of cuisines formed a "local food" style unique to Hawaii, resulting in plantation foods like the plate lunch, snacks like Spam musubi, and dishes like the loco moco. Shortly after World War II several well known local restaurants, now in their 7th decade opened their doors to serve "Hawaiian Food". Chefs further refined the local style by inventing Hawaii Regional Cuisine in 1992, a style of cooking that makes use of locally grown ingredients to blend all of Hawaii's historical influences together to form a new fusion cuisine.


Pre-contact period

Colocasia esculenta P1190432
Taro, Colocasia esculenta was brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians

When Polynesian seafarers arrived on the Hawaiian Islands in 300–500 AD,[b] few edible plants existed in the new land, aside from ferns (Hāpuʻu ʻiʻi, whose uncoiled fronds are eaten boiled) and fruits that grew at higher elevations. Botanists and archaeologists believe that the Polynesian voyagers introduced anywhere between 27 and more than 30 plants to the islands, known as canoe plants, mainly for food.[2] The most important of them was taro.[3] For centuries taro, and the poi made from it, was the main staple of their diet, and it is still much loved today. In addition to taro the Polynesians brought yams and sweet potatoes. The latter are believed to have come from Polynesian contact with the New World.[4] The Marquesans, the first settlers from Polynesia, brought breadfruit and the Tahitians later introduced the baking banana. These settlers from Polynesia also brought coconuts, candlenuts (known in Hawaiian as kukui nuts), and sugarcane.[5] They found plenty of fish, shellfish, and limu in the new land.[2] Flightless birds were easy to catch and nests were full of eggs for the taking.[2] Most Pacific islands had no meat animals except bats and lizards, so ancient Polynesians sailed the Pacific with pigs, chickens and dogs as cargo.[6] Pigs were raised for religious sacrifice, and the meat was offered at altars, some of which was consumed by priests and the rest eaten in a mass celebration.[6] The early Hawaiian diet was diverse, and may have included as many as 130 different types of seafood and 230 types of sweet potatoes.[7] Some species of land and sea birds were consumed into extinction.[8]

Starr 020803-0119 Aleurites moluccana
Kukui foliage, flowers, and nut (candlenut) was brought to Hawaii by Polynesians.

Sea salt was a common condiment in ancient Hawaii,[9] and Inamona, a relish made of roasted, mashed kukui nutmeats, sea salt and sometimes mixed with seaweeds, often accompanied the meals.[9] At important occasions, a traditional feast, ‘aha‘aina, was held. When a woman was to have her first child, her husband started raising a pig for the ‘Aha‘aina Mawaewae feast that was celebrated for the birth of a child. Besides the pig, mullet, shrimp, crab, seaweeds and taro leaves were required for the feast.[10] The modern name for such feasts, lū‘au, was not used until 1856, replacing the Hawaiian words ‘aha‘aina and pā‘ina.[11] The name lū‘au came from the name of a food always served at a ‘aha‘aina — young taro tops baked with coconut milk and chicken or octopus.

Prior to cooking, pigs and dogs were killed by strangulation or by holding their nostrils shut, in order to conserve the animal's blood.[12] Meat was prepared by flattening out the whole eviscerated animal and broiling it over hot coals, or it was spitted on sticks.[12] Large pieces of meat, such as fowl, pigs and dogs, would be typically cooked in earth ovens, or spitted over a fire during ceremonial feasts.[13][12] Hawaiian earth ovens, known as an imu, combine roasting and steaming in a method called kālua. A pit is dug into earth and lined with volcanic rocks and other rocks that do not split when heated to a high temperature, such as granite.[14] A fire is built with embers, and when the rocks are glowing hot, the embers are removed and the foods wrapped in ti, ginger or banana leaves are put into the pit, covered with wet leaves, mats and a layer of earth. Water may be added through a bamboo tube to create steam. The intense heat from the hot rocks cooked food thoroughly — the quantity of food for several days could be cooked at once, taken out and eaten as needed, and the cover replaced to keep the remainder warm.[9] Sweet potatoes, taro, breadfruit and other vegetables were cooked in the imu, as well as fish. Saltwater eel was salted and dried before being put into the imu.[15] Chickens, pigs and dogs were put into the imu with hot rocks inserted in the abdominal cavities.[9] Men did all of the cooking, and food for women was cooked in a separate imu; afterwards men and women ate meals separately.[c] The ancient practice of cooking with the imu continues to this day, for special occasions.[16]

Post-contact period

Native Hawaiian man pounding taro into poi with two children by his sides., c. 1890s
A Hawaiian man pounding taro to make poi. Taro plants can be seen growing behind him

In 1778, Captain James Cook arrived at the island of Niihau, leaving a ram goat, ewes, a boar, an English sow, and seeds for melons, pumpkins, and onions.[17] In 1793, Captain George Vancouver brought the first cattle to the islands; longhorns from California were presented to King Kamehameha I.[18][19] With no natural predators, the new cattle multiplied out of control; the king hired an American man named John Parker to capture and domesticate cattle.[19] Many of the cattle were butchered and beef was introduced to Hawaiian cuisine.

In 1813, pineapple was first cultivated in Honolulu by Don Francisco de Paula Marin,[20] a Spanish botanist and advisor to King Kamehameha I. Although grape vines were introduced by Captain Vancouver around 1792, Marin is credited with the first Hawaiian vineyard in 1815 and planting the now rare Mission grape variety.[21] Marin also brewed the first beer in 1812,[22] and planted the first coffee crop in 1817, but his plantings failed.[23] Marin, called "Manini" by the Hawaiians, experimented with planting oranges, limes, beans, cabbages, potatoes, peaches, melons, maize and lettuce.

By the late 19th century, pineapple and sugarcane plantations owned and run by American settlers took over much of Hawaii's land, and these two crops became the most important sources of revenues for the Hawaiian economy.[24]

Ethnic foods

As the plantations of the Big Five expanded, the demand for labor grew, so the plantation owners hired immigrant workers, which included Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos, and Portuguese. Each ethnic group wanted its own food in workplaces, and farms and grocery markets were established. The Chinese immigrants brought Cantonese cuisine, cooking the first stir fry, sweet and sour, and dim sum dishes in the islands,[25] and replaced poi with rice, adding their own herbs and spices.[24] Chinese rice growers imported familiar fish varieties from Asia to stock local streams and irrigation ditches.[26]

Korean immigration to Hawaii brought kimchi and built barbecue pits to cook marinated meats. Korean style bulgogi or boneless meat with moderately-sweet garlic sauce and galbi or meat with bones and moderately-sweet garlic sauce as well, and another Korean favorite bibimbab or mixed rice with seasoned vegetables, namul, sweet and spicy gochujang and bulgogi topping also became an integral part of Hawaiian cuisine.[27]

Hilo Ice Shave
Hawaiian shave ice, believed to have been introduced to Hawaii from Japan by Japanese immigrants who ate kakigōri

The Portuguese immigrants came to Hawaii from the Azores in the late 19th century,[28] introducing their foods with an emphasis on pork, tomatoes and chili peppers, and built forno, their traditional beehive oven, to make Pão Doce, the Portuguese sweet bread and malasada.[3] Whalers brought in salted fish, which ultimately became lomi-lomi salmon.[14]

The Japanese brought bento and sashimi, and, although many of their vegetable seeds would not grow in the climate of the islands, they succeeded in making tofu and soy sauce.[3] The homes of Japanese immigrants lacked ovens, so their cooking relied on frying, steaming, broiling, and simmering, leading to the popularization of tempura and noodle soups in Hawaii.[25] By the early 20th century, the Japanese were the largest ethnic group and rice became the third largest crop in the islands.[29]

Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii began in 1900, contributing spicy, Spanish-seasoned thick soups, casseroles, pasteles, and meat turnovers.[25] Filipinos reached Hawaii in 1909, bringing peas and beans, the adobo style of vinegar and garlic dishes, choosing to boil, stew, broil, and fry food instead of baking, and eating sweet potatoes as a staple besides rice.[25] Samoans arrived in 1919, building their earth ovens above ground instead of below like the imu, and made poi from fruit instead of taro.[25] After the Vietnam War ended in 1975 immigrants from Southeast Asia arrived,[30] bringing lemongrass, fish sauce and galangal popular in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.[25]

Territorial period – statehood

Royal Hawaiian Hotel
Royal Hawaiian Hotel was one of the first hotels built along the shores of Waikīkī

The first restaurant in Honolulu was opened in 1849 by a Portuguese man named Peter Fernandez. Situated behind the Bishop & Co. bank, the establishment was known as the "eating house" and was followed by other restaurants, such as Leon Dejean's "Parisian Restaurant" at the corner of Hotel and Fort Streets.[31] In 1872, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened on Hotel Street, and as one of the most refined hotels in the Pacific, it catered to wealthy clients. The Royal Hawaiian dining room served dishes on par with the best restaurants in Europe, with an 1874 menu offering dishes such as mullet, spring lamb, chicken with tomatoes, and Cabinet Pudding.[32]

The massive pineapple industry of Hawaii was born when the "Pineapple King", James Dole, planted pineapples on the island of Oahu in 1901.[3] In 1922, Dole purchased the island of Lanai for a large-scale pineapple production. By 1950, his Hawaiian Pineapple Company was the largest pineapple company in the world.[3]

In 1905, George R. Carter, Territorial Governor of Hawai'i, promoted increasing local agricultural production, saying that "there was a time when Hawaii supplied California with flour, also potatoes and other vegetables. Now California produces her own and sends part of the surplus here." Newspaper editorials of the time also questioned why locally-grown guavas were rotting on the ground while agribusiness were planting non-native pineapples in Hawaii. These concerns were not addressed until almost a century later, when the regional cuisine movement began encouraging the food industry to "grow local, buy local, and eat local."[33] Since the 1970s, pineapples have been grown more cheaply in Southeast Asia, so Hawaiian agriculture has taken a diverse approach, producing a variety of crops, including squash, tomatoes, chili peppers and lettuce.[3] From 1978-1988, chefs who came to Hawaii would avoid Hawaiian-grown ingredients like their European counterparts, preferring to ship everything in from the U.S. mainland, or as far away as Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.[34]

Japanese-American baker Robert Taira, came up with a recipe for the Hawaiian version of sweet Portuguese bread in the 1950s. Taira began to commercially produce the bread in Hawaii, and it became successful in Honolulu bakeries and coffee shops, with plant production expanding to California and South Carolina. By the 1980s, Taira's company, King's Hawaiian Bakery, was grossing US$20 million annually.[28]

Hawaii regional cuisine

Bali Hai seared ahi
Seared ahi and wasabi beurre blanc sauce

Hawaii regional cuisine refers to a style of cooking and the group of chefs who developed it and advocated for it as a distinct Hawaiian fusion style. The cuisine draws from local ingredients (including seafood, beef and tropical foods), and is a fusion of ethnic culinary influences.[35] The cuisine style was developed by a group of twelve chefs: Sam Choy, Philippe Padovani, Roger Dikon, Gary Strehl, Roy Yamaguchi, Amy Ferguson Ota, Jean-Marie Josselin, George Mavrothalassitis, Beverly Gannon, Peter Merriman, Mark Ellman, and Alan Wong.[34]

The development of Hawaii regional cuisine was a coordinated effort to move away from ingredients shipped over long distances and preparations that copied continental recipes even when they were not well suited to conditions in Hawaii.[36][37] Rather, the group hoped to promote locally sourced ingredients in the hospitality industry while simultaneously informing the world about cuisine in Hawaii. The goal of the group was to link local ranchers, fishermen and farmers with chefs and business in the hospitality and restaurant industry to develop Hawaii regional cuisine as a reflection of the community. They took uninspired international and continental hotel cuisine based on imported products and recipes from the mainland and replaced them with dishes and a cuisine based on locally grown foods.[5]

This founding group of chefs worked to publish the 1994 cookbook by Janice Wald Henderson, The New Cuisine of Hawaii. These chefs also sponsored a cookbook to be sold for charity.[38]

Contemporary times

The continued popularity of Hawaii in the 21st century as a tourist destination has helped spawn Hawaiian themed and Hawaiian cuisine restaurants in the contiguous United States such as Ono Hawaiian BBQ and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. Its popularity is also reaching Europe, with the restaurant POND Dalston opening in 2014 as first New Hawaiian Cuisine in the United Kingdom.[39] There are also many Hawaiian made specialties such as Lilikoi Acai Bowls from places like Ono Yo on the North Shore of Oahu. There are also branded items such as Mauna Loa macadamia nuts. sugarcane producer Alexander & Baldwin continues to operate and has diversified into other businesses. Dole Food Company is based in Hawaii and still has a pineapple operation on Oahu. Maui Land & Pineapple Company ceased production in 2009. Some of its assets and employees are involved in the Haliʻimaile Pineapple Company startup and Kapalua Farms organic pineapple operation was taken over by Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development with backing from Pierre Omidyar. Beer producer Kona Brewing Company and the Volcano Winery are active. Local eateries include the Zippy's chain. Foodland Hawaii is a grocery chain. There are also distinctive and historic business operations such as Kanemitsu Bakery, Helena's Hawaiian Food, Common Ground Kauai, Anna Miller's, Nisshodo Candy Store, Maui Tacos and Waiʻoli Tea Room & Bakery at Salvation Army Waiʻoli Tea Room. Roy Yamaguchi's Roy's and various cookbooks promoting Hawaiian regional cuisine have also helped popularize Hawaiian cuisine and Hawaiian fusion cuisine.


Vegetables, fruits and nuts

Pandanus tectorius fruit
Hala, the fruit of the Pandanus tectorius tree
  • Taro (Colocasia esculenta): A popular and ancient plant that has been harvested for at least 30,000 years by indigenous people in New Guinea.[40] There are hundreds of varieties of taro, and the corm of the wetland variety makes the best poi,[3] as well as taro starch or flour. The dry-land variety has a crispy texture and used for making taro chips. The smaller American variety is used for stewed dishes.[3]
  • Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)
  • Candle nut (Aleurites moluccana) or Kukui: Roasted kernels traditionally used as candles; main ingredient in the ancient Hawaiian condiment, 'inamona
  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
  • Polynesian arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides) or pia plant: Primary thickener. Cooked arrowroot is mixed with papaya, banana, or pumpkin in baked deserts. Haupia, a Hawaiian coconut cream pudding, uses Tacca leontopetaloides (pia) as a thickener.
  • Ti (Cordyline fruticosa): After distillation technique came to Hawaii, the root of the ti was turned into liquor called 'okolehao'
  • Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
  • Jicama


Spam musubi dllu
Spam musubi, a fusion of Japanese sushi that uses fried Spam instead of raw fish. Spam was brought to Hawaii with American GIs and popularized on the islands. Spam musubi was developed in the 1980s

The Hormel company's canned meat product Spam has been highly popular in Hawaii for decades. Per capita, Hawaiians are the second largest consumers of Spam in the world, right behind Guam.[41] Originally brought to Hawaii by American servicemen in their rations,[42] Spam became an important source of protein for locals after fishing around the islands was prohibited during World War II.[5] In 2005, Hawaiians consumed more than five million cans of Spam.[41]

Spam is used in local dishes in a variety of ways, most commonly fried and served with rice. For breakfast, fried eggs are often served with spam.[41] Spam can also be wrapped in ti and roasted, skewered and deep fried,[5] or stir-fried with cabbage.[41] It is added to saimin and fried rice, mashed with tofu, or served with cold sōmen or baked macaroni and cheese. It is also used in chutney for pupus, in sandwiches with mayonnaise, or baked with guava jelly.[41] Spam musubi, a slice of fried Spam upon a bed of rice wrapped with a strip of nori, is a popular snack in Hawaii which found its way onto island sushi menus in the 1980s.[41]


In the 19th century, John Parker brought over Mexican cowboys to train the Hawaiians in cattle ranching.[19] The Hawaiian cowboys of Kamuela and Kula came to be called paniolos. Cattle ranching grew rapidly for the next one hundred years. In 1960, half of the land in Hawaii was devoted to ranching for beef export, but by 1990 the number had shrunk to 25 percent.[43] The paniolos chewed pipikaula ("beef rope"), a salted and dried beef that resembles beef jerky.[44] Pipikaula would usually be broiled before serving.[45] With the influence of Asian cooking, beef strips are commonly marinated in soy sauce.[44] When beef is dried in the sun, a screened box is traditionally used to keep the meat from dust and flies. Dried meat could often be found as a relish or appetizer at a lū‘au.[44]

Fish and seafood

Tuna is the most important fish in Hawaiian cuisine.[46] Varieties include the skipjack tuna (aku), the yellowfin tuna (ahi), and the albacore tuna (tombo). Ahi in particular has a long history, since ancient Hawaiians used it on long ocean voyages because it is well preserved when salted and dried.[47] A large portion of the local tuna fishery goes to Japan to be sold for sashimi.[46] Tuna is eaten as sashimi in Hawaii as well, but is also grilled or sautéed, or made into poke.

The Pacific blue marlin (kajiki) is barbecued or grilled, but should not be overcooked due to its very low fat content.[46] The broadbill swordfish (shutome), popular and shipped all over the mainland United States, is high in fat and its steaks may be grilled, broiled, or used in stir-fries. The groupers (hapuu) are most often steamed. The red snapper (onaga) is steamed, poached, or baked. The pink snapper (opakapaka) has a higher fat, and is steamed or baked, served with a light sauce. The Wahoo (ono) is grilled or sautéed, and the dolphin fish (mahimahi) is usually cut into steaks and fried or grilled. The moonfish (opah) is used for broiling, smoking, or making sashimi.

Tako Poke
Tako (octopus) poke with tomatoes, green onion, maui onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, chili pepper

Poke is a local cuisine that originally involved preserving raw fish or other seafood such as octopus with sea salt and rubbing it (lomi) with seasonings or cutting it into small pieces. Seasonings made of seaweed, kukui nut, and sea salt were traditionally used for the Hawaiian poke. Since first contact with Western and Asian cultures, scallions, chili peppers, and soy sauce have become common additions to it.[48] Poke is different from sashimi, since the former is usually rough-cut and piled onto a plate, and can be made with less expensive pieces of fish.[49]

During the early 1970s, poke became an appetizer to have with beer or to bring to a party.[50]


Showing the island's Asian influence, teriyaki has become the most popular way of treating meats, including Spam.[29] Other common Asian spices include five-spice powder from China, wasabi and Shoyu (soy sauce) from Japan, and bagoong from the Philippines. Types of spices local for Hawaii cuisine include aloha shoyu, huli-huli sauce, and chili pepper water.


Ahi limu poke

Ahi tuna limu (seaweed) ahi poke


Wonton saimin


  • Kava (Piper methysticum) (ʻawa) is a traditional soporific beverage of Oceania thought to have originated in Vanuatu.[52] In modern times, kava bars have experienced some popularity in Hawaii, with commercial kava plantations on Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Oahu.

Alcoholic beverages

Mai Tai
A Mai Tai cocktail
  • Hawaiian tropical tiki cocktails like the Blue Hawaii and the Mai-Tai make use of rum. The rum is blended with a variety of tropical fruit juices and served with a decorative piece of fruit.[53] Pina Colada is a cocktail made with rum, coconut cream or coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Originated in Puerto Rico, Pina Colada is a popular beverage for Hawaiian locals.
  • Okolehao is an old Hawaiian liquor made from the root of the ti plant.[53]
  • Hawaiian wine is produced mostly on the island of Maui and the island of Hawaii.
  • Hawaiian beer is represented by the largest brewpub in the state, Kona Brewing Company. From 1901-1998, "Primo" was one of the most popular Hawaiian beers, and as of 2008, has returned to production, though it is now brewed in California. Historically, craft beers (microbrews) have been slow to take off in Hawaii due to a restrictive state law on brewpub sales. However, the law changed in 2003, and growlers are now available. The Maui Brewing Co. is the largest Hawaiian packaged beer brewer.[22] (see also List of breweries in Hawaii).

See also


a. ^ Food historian Rachel Laudan (1996) on four distinct types of food plus a new, fifth type known as "Hawaiian Regional Cuisine" (HRC) that began in 1992. Because HRC was so new at the time of Laudan's book, she only briefly touches upon it: "I came to understand that what people in Hawaii eat is a mixture of four distinct kinds of food, introduced at distinct periods, but now all coexisting. The first three reflect the three diasporas that have terminated in Hawaii: the great marine diaspora of the Pacific Islanders that probably reached the Hawaiian Islands sometime in the third century A.D..; the European voyages of discovery that finally came upon the Islands in the late eighteenth century; and the long migration of the Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Koreans, Filipinos, and lately, Southeast Asians, most of whom came to work on the plantations. From these diverse traditions, a fourth, an East-West-Pacific food, is now being created, known in the Islands as Local Food.[54] [...] But there is another cuisine in the Islands that attracts attention, Hawaii Regional Cuisine...[it] was created by forces quite different from those that drive Local Food...although the forces creating Hawaii Regional Cuisine and Local Food were different, their current cross-fertilization can be nothing but mutually beneficial, creating a firm regional base for the cuisine of the restaurants and increasing sophistication for the cuisine of the home and the street."[55]

b. ^ The early settlement history of Hawaiʻi is not completely resolved. One theory is that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaiʻi in the third century from the Marquesas and were followed by Tahitian settlers in 1300 AD who conquered the original inhabitants. Another is that there was an extended period of contact but not necessarily for a Tahitian invasion.[56]

c. ^ Men and women ate their meals separately to preserve the distinction between male and female mana, which was thought to be blurred by both sexes handling the same food. In addition, some foods were forbidden to women, such as pork, certain kinds of fish and most types of bananas.[9]


  1. ^ Laudan 1996, pp. 173-175,
  2. ^ a b c Laudan 1996, p. 216.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Nenes 2007, p. 478.
  4. ^ "Gardening at the Edge: Documenting the Limits of Tropical Polynesian Kumara Horticulture in Southern New Zealand" Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine, University of Canterbury
  5. ^ a b c d Nenes 2008, p. 479.
  6. ^ a b Brennan 2000, pp. 135–138.
  7. ^ Adams 2006, pp. 90–92.
  8. ^ Brennan 2000, p. 139.
  9. ^ a b c d e Kane 1998, p. 53.
  10. ^ Choy & Cook 2003, pp. 12–13.
  11. ^ Pukui & Elbert 1986, pp. 214.
  12. ^ a b c Schwabe 1979, p. 171.
  13. ^ Brennan 2000, pp. 3–5.
  14. ^ a b Choy & Cook 2003, p. 16.
  15. ^ Brennan 2000, pp. 271–273.
  16. ^ Corum 2000, p. 3.
  17. ^ HRHAS 1850, pp. 45–46.
  18. ^ Loomis 2006, p. 8.
  19. ^ a b c Barnes 1999, pp. 27–28.
  20. ^ Paul 2003, p. 253.
  21. ^ Miller, Bazore & Robbins 2002, p. 30.
  22. ^ a b Adams 2007, The Honolulu Advertiser
  23. ^ Miller, Bazore & Robbins 2002, pp. 25–26
  24. ^ a b Nenes 2007, p. 477.
  25. ^ a b c d e f Henderson 1994, p. 18.
  26. ^ Gabaccia 2000, p. 66.
  27. ^ Poet Paul Lee's commentary for this article, May 14, 2008
  28. ^ a b Laudan 1996, p. 134.
  29. ^ a b Laudan 1996, p. 5.
  30. ^ Corum 2000, p. 194,
  31. ^ Rea & Ting 1991, p. 30.
  32. ^ Rea & Ting 1991, p. 48.
  33. ^ Adams 2006, p. 10
  34. ^ a b Henderson 1994, p. xvi
  35. ^ Hawaii Regional Cuisine 2009 Lonely Planet Kauai page 247
  36. ^ Oahu Restaurants and Dining with Honolulu and Waikiki by Robert Carpenter, Cindy Carpenter page 35
  37. ^ Hawaii Restaurant Guide 2005 - Page 33
  38. ^ Laudan 1996, p. 7.
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2014-08-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ Brennan 2000, pp. 252–267.
  41. ^ a b c d e f Adams 2006, pp. 58–59.
  42. ^ Kulick & Meneley 2005, p. 187.
  43. ^ Miller, Latham & Flynn 1998, p. 83.
  44. ^ a b c Adams 2006, p. 98.
  45. ^ Choy & Cook 2003, p. 63.
  46. ^ a b c Nenes 2007, p. 480.
  47. ^ Laudan 1996, pp. 265–276.
  48. ^ Piianaia 2007, Waimea Gazette
  49. ^ Nenes 2007, p. 485.
  50. ^ Long 2003, pp. 116.
  51. ^ Top 10 Hawaiian food to try Fodor's
  52. ^ Brennan 2000, pp. 230–231.
  53. ^ a b Schindler & Schindler 1981, p. 14.
  54. ^ Laudan 1996, p. 3.
  55. ^ Laudan 1996, pp. 7–8.
  56. ^ Kirch 2001, p. 80.


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External links

Alaea salt

Alaea salt, sometimes referred to as Hawaiian red salt, is an unrefined sea salt that has been mixed with an iron oxide rich volcanic clay called 'alaea', which gives the seasoning its characteristic brick red color . It is part of Native Hawaiian cuisine and is used in traditional dishes such as kalua pig, poke, and pipikaula (Hawaiian jerky). It was also traditionally used to cleanse, purify and bless tools, canoes, homes and temples. Once exported to the Pacific Northwest to cure salmon, it saw a resurgence in popularity late in the 20th century in fusion style cuisine of Hawaii both on Islands and beyond.

Alan Wong

Alan Wong is a chef and restaurateur known as one of 12 co-founders (along with Sam Choy, Roy Yamaguchi, Peter Merriman, Bev Gannon and more) of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. They came together to form an organization to create a new American regional cuisine, highlighting Hawaii's locally grown ingredients and diverse ethnic styles. In 1992, they all came together and compiled a cookbook, The New Cuisine of Hawaii to be sold for charity. Wong and Choy are alumni of the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program. Wong has several restaurants in Hawaii, as well as one in Japan.

In 2009, Wong cooked a luau at the White House for President Obama at the annual White House Congressional picnic for members of Congress and their families.

In 2006, Wong appeared as a guest judge on the television cooking competition Top Chef (the episode, part one of the season two finale, aired on January 24, 2007). The Top Chef contestants, after enjoying a luncheon hosted by Wong welcoming them to Hawaii, were challenged to cater his birthday luau.

In 2001, he was awarded Chef of the Year by Santé Magazine. Also in 2001, Gourmet Magazine ranked one of his restaurants number six in a listing of America’s Best Fifty Restaurants. In 1996, he was awarded the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Pacific Northwest. In 1994, Wong was recognized by Robert Mondavi Winery as one of 13 Rising Star Chefs in America.

Asparagopsis taxiformis

Asparagopsis taxiformis, (limu kohu) formerly A. sanfordiana, is a species of red alga, with cosmopolitan distribution in tropical to warm temperate waters.

Culture of the Native Hawaiians

The culture of the Native Hawaiians is about 1,500 years old and has its origins in the Polynesians who voyaged to and settled Hawaii. These voyagers developed Hawaiian cuisine, Hawaiian art, and the Native Hawaiian religion.

Hawaiian cuisine (disambiguation)

Hawaiian cuisine may refer to:

Cuisine of Hawaii, the broader food culture of the islands including the fusion of native, immigrant, ethnic, local, and restaurant cuisines within the diverse state of Hawaii.

Native Hawaiian cuisine, pre-contact Polynesian cuisine and food eaten by ethnic Hawaiians

Hawaii regional cuisine, a distinct fusion style popularized by professional chefs in Hawaii

Leonard's Bakery

Leonard's Bakery is a Portuguese bakery in Honolulu, Hawaii, known for popularizing the malasada. The fried pastry, slightly crispier and chewier than a doughnut and with no hole, is known as a cuisine of Hawaii. Though Portuguese immigrants brought the malasada to Hawaii at the turn of the 20th century, Leonard's opened in 1952 and brought it to a wider audience. Leonard's is a household name in Hawaii and is well known in the continental United States and internationally. A franchise location opened in Japan in 2008.

List of American regional and fusion cuisines

Below is a list of identifiable cuisines which together form the Cuisine of the United States.

List of Hawaiian dishes

This is a list of dishes in Hawaiian cuisine, which includes Native Hawaiian cuisine and the broader fusion Cuisine of Hawaii. The Cuisine of Hawaii refers to the indigenous, ethnic, and local cuisines within the diverse state of Hawaii.

List of restaurants in Hawaii

This is a list of notable restaurants in Hawaii.


A malasada (Portuguese: malassada, from "mal-assada" = "under-cooked") (similar to filhós) is a Portuguese confection. It is a fried type of doughnut, made of small balls of yeast dough, coated with granulated sugar. The traditional Portuguese malasadas don't contain holes or any type of filling, but some variations do, especially the ones made in Hawaii. Malasadas are often eaten on Mardi Gras - the day before Ash Wednesday.

In Madeira and in the Azores, malasadas are mainly eaten on Terça-feira Gorda (“Fat Tuesday” in English; Mardi Gras in French) which is also the day before Lent begins. It's a traditional confection eaten in the Azores islands and in Madeira, during the Portuguese Carnival (Carnival of Madeira in the Madeira Islands). Malasadas were created with the intention of using all the lard and sugar in one's home, in preparation for Lent (similar to the tradition of the Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom, commonly incorrectly called Pancake Day). This tradition was taken to Hawaii, where they celebrate Shrove Tuesday, known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugarcane plantations of the 19th century, when the Portuguese (mostly from Madeira and the Azores) went to Hawaii to work in those plantations, bringing their Catholic traditions. These workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas.

Mark Ellman

Mark Ellman is a Hawaii-based restaurant chef. His first Hawaiian restaurant, Avalon, is on Maui; he became its owner in 1991. By 2011 he had sold that restaurant, and had founded or purchased into several other similar establishments.

Ellman was one of the twelve chefs who developed and promoted Hawaii regional cuisine.In 1988 his restaurant Avalon was the first of the chef-owned Hawaii regional restaurants and he was one of the founders of Honolulu Regional Cuisine in 1991. He urged the group to publish a cookbook The New Cuisine of Hawaii and his dishes, described by Honolulu Magazine as "towering tiki-style" were featured in the book's pictures with dishes such as chili-seared salmon on the cover. He served tableside guacamole and wok-fried whole snapper in black bean sauce. In 2011 he was the chef and owner of Mala Ocean Tavern, Mala Wailea. and Honu Seafood in Lahaina. Ellman has started and sold various restaurants including Avalon, Maui Tacos and Penne Pasta.

Native cuisine of Hawaii

Native Hawaiian cuisine is based on the traditional Hawaiian foods that predate contact with Europeans and immigration from East and Southeast Asia. The earliest Polynesian seafarers are believed to have arrived on the Hawaiian Islands in 300–500 AD. Few edible plants were indigenous to Hawaii aside from few ferns and fruits that grew at higher elevations. Various food producing plants were introduced to the island by migrating Polynesian peoples.

Botanists and archaeologists believe that these voyagers introduced anywhere from 27 to more than 30 plants to the islands, mainly for food. The most important of them was taro. For centuries, taro—and the poi made from it—was the main staple of the Hawaiian diet, and it is still much loved. ‘Uala (Sweet potatoes) and yams were also planted. The Marquesans, the first settlers from Polynesia, brought ‘Ulu (breadfruit) and the Tahitians later introduced the baking banana. Settlers from Polynesia also brought coconuts and sugarcane. ʻAwa (Piper methysticum, commonly known as kava) is also a traditional food among Hawaiians. Breadfruit, sweet potato, kava and he‘e (octopus) are associated with the four major Hawaiian gods: Kāne, Kū, Lono and Kanaloa.Fish, shellfish, and limu are abundant in Hawaii. Flightless birds were easy to catch and eggs from nests were also eaten. Most Pacific islands had no meat animals except bats and lizards.Ancient Polynesians sailed the Pacific with pigs, chickens and dogs and introduced them to the islands. Pigs were raised for religious sacrifice, and the meat was offered at altars, some of which was consumed by priests and the rest eaten in a mass celebration. The early Hawaiian diet was diverse, and may have included as many as 130 different types of seafood and 230 types of sweet potatoes. Some species of land and sea birds were consumed into extinction.Sea salt was a common condiment in ancient Hawaii. Inamona is a traditional relish or condiment often accompanied meals and is made of roasted and mashed kukui nutmeats, and sea salt. It sometimes mixed with seaweeds

Plate lunch

The plate lunch is a quintessentially Hawaiian meal, roughly analogous to Southern U.S. meat-and-threes. However, the pan-Asian influence on Hawaiian cuisine, and its roots in the Japanese bento, make the plate lunch unique to Hawaii.

Standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée. A plate lunch with more than one entrée is often called a mixed plate.

Poi (food)

Poi is primarily the traditional staple food in native cuisine of Hawaii, made from the underground plant stem (corm) of taro (known in Hawaiian as kalo).

Traditional poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) on a papa ku‘i ‘ai, a wooden pounding board, with a pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai, a carved basalt pestle. Modern methods use an industrial food processor to produce large quantities for retail distribution. Freshly pounded taro without the addition of water is called pa‘i ‘ai and is highly starchy and dough-like. Water is added to the pa‘i ‘ai during mashing, and again just before eating, to achieve the desired consistency, which can range from highly viscous to liquid. As such, poi can be classified as "one-finger", "two-finger", or "three-finger" depending on the consistency, alluding to how many fingers are required to scoop it up (the thicker the poi, the fewer fingers required to scoop a sufficient mouthful).

Poi can be eaten immediately, when fresh and sweet, or left a bit longer to ferment and become more sour – it then develops a smell reminiscent of plain yoghurt. A layer of water on top can prevent fermenting poi from developing a crust.

Poke (Hawaiian dish)

Poke (Hawaiian for "to slice" or "cut crosswise into pieces"; sometimes stylized Poké to aid pronunciation, also called Poké Bowl) is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or as a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine. Traditional forms are aku (an oily tuna) and heʻe (octopus). Heʻe (octopus) poke is usually called by its Japanese name Tako Poke, except in places like the island of Niʻihau where the Hawaiian language is spoken. Increasingly popular ahi poke is made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common poke seasonings.


Saimin is a noodle soup dish common in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. It originally consists of soft wheat egg noodles served in a hot dashi garnished with diced green onions and a thin slice of kamaboko. Modern versions include additional toppings such as char siu, sliced Spam, sliced egg, or shredded nori. When Chinese dumplings are added to the noodle soup, it is seen on menus as the heartier wonton min. All saimin establishments have their own, often secret recipe for the soup base, but primarily use kombu and dried shrimp as major components. Common table condiments mixed in the saimin broth are Chinese hot mustard and shoyu, added in small quantities according to each individual’s taste. Many local residents of Hawaii also enjoy barbecued teriyaki beef sticks (skewers) or American hamburgers as a side dish.

Saimin was developed during Hawaii's plantation era and is a testament to the history of cultural influences found in the Hawaiian Islands. It is a local comfort food eaten all year round at any time of day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a late-night snack. Originally consumed by the working class, saimin can now be seen on the menus of Hawaii's restaurants from fast food chains all the way to upscale five-star hotel restaurants. It is commonly eaten at sporting events as well, with concession stands offering the hot noodle soup along side popcorn and nachos. Saimin is also available as a pre-cooked packaged food much like instant ramen.

Spam musubi

Spam musubi is a popular snack and lunch food in Hawaii composed of a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori in the tradition of Japanese omusubi.

Inexpensive and portable, Spam musubi are commonly found near cash registers in convenience stores all over Hawaii.

Spam has become so ubiquitous in Hawaii that Spam dishes range from the cheap and fast at 7-Eleven (which also sells sushi in Hawaii), served on catering trays at formal events, to homemade Spam made by celebrity chefs such as Alan Wong at his exclusive restaurants.

Squid lū'au

Squid lū'au is a traditional Native Hawaiian cuisine food and part of modern fusion cuisine of Hawaii. It is made with squid (or octopus), taro (lu'au) leaves, coconut milk, garlic, water, and Hawaiian salt.

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