What Is the Popular Food in Hawaii?

Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Lauren Beck

Hawaii is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that is famous for its breathtaking scenery, sunny weather, and welcoming culture. 

When it comes to food, Hawaii is known for its unique cuisine that combines traditional Hawaiian flavors with influences from Asian, Polynesian, and American cultures. From seafood to comfort food, Hawaii has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the popular food in Hawaii and what makes it so special.

10 Popular Food in Hawaii:

  1. Poke – A traditional Hawaiian dish made with cubed raw fish, seasonings, and vegetables.
  2. Spam Musubi – A popular snack made with Spam, rice, and nori seaweed.
  3. Plate Lunch – A meal consisting of rice, macaroni salad, and a choice of protein like teriyaki chicken or kalua pork.
  4. Shave Ice – A refreshing dessert made with finely shaved ice and flavored syrup.
  5. Loco Moco – A hearty meal consisting of rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy.
  6. Poi – A traditional Hawaiian dish made with pounded taro root.
  7. Malasadas – A sweet pastry similar to a donut, originally from Portugal but popular in Hawaii.
  8. Haupia – A coconut milk-based dessert similar to a pudding.
  9. Manapua – A steamed bun filled with savory pork or sweet lotus seed paste.
  10. Saimin – A noodle soup dish with various toppings like green onions and char siu pork.

What Type of Food Is Hawaii Known For?

Hawaii is known for its unique blend of flavors and ingredients, which is influenced by the many cultures that have settled in Hawaii over the years. 

Some of the most popular ingredients in Hawaiian cuisine include rice, seafood, pork, coconut, and tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. 

Hawaiian cuisine is also characterized by its emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and the use of traditional cooking techniques like imu (underground oven) cooking.

What Do Hawaiians Eat for Breakfast?

Hawaiians enjoy a variety of breakfast dishes, including traditional Hawaiian dishes like loco moco and spam musubi, as well as American-style breakfast foods like pancakes and eggs. 

One popular Hawaiian breakfast dish is the Portuguese sausage omelet, which is made with a spicy sausage that was introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century.

What Is Hawaiian Comfort Food?

Hawaiian comfort food is all about hearty, filling dishes that are perfect for a satisfying meal. 

Some popular Hawaiian comfort foods include plate lunch, which typically includes a choice of protein like teriyaki chicken or kalua pork, rice, and macaroni salad. 

Another popular comfort food is lau lau, which is made with pork, fish, or chicken wrapped in taro leaves and steamed to perfection.

Does Hawaii Have Traditional Food?

Hawaiian traditional dishes

Yes, Hawaii has a rich culinary tradition that is rooted in the native Hawaiian culture. Traditional Hawaiian dishes include poi, which is made with pounded taro root, and kalua pig, which is cooked in an imu (underground oven) and shredded. 

Other traditional Hawaiian foods include lomi lomi salmon, which is a type of salmon salad, and haupia, which is a coconut milk-based dessert.

What Is Hawaii’s Favorite Snack?

One of Hawaii’s favorite snacks is spam musubi, which is made with Spam, rice, and nori seaweed. 

Spam musubi is a popular snack that is often sold at convenience stores and local markets in Hawaii. Another popular snack is shave ice, which is a refreshing dessert made with finely shaved ice and flavored syrup.

What Time Do People Eat Dinner in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, people tend to eat dinner a bit earlier than in other parts of the United States, typically between 5-7pm. This is partly due to the fact that the state is located further west and is two to three hours behind the mainland United States in terms of time zones. 

Additionally, many Hawaiians have busy schedules that revolve around outdoor activities like surfing and hiking, so they prefer to eat dinner earlier to have time to enjoy these activities in the evening.

What Is the National Dessert of Hawaii?

Hawaii’s national dessert is the haupia, which is a coconut milk-based dessert similar to a pudding [1]. Haupia is often served at luaus and other festive occasions in Hawaii, and it is a popular dessert at local restaurants and bakeries.

What Seafood Is Hawaii Famous For?

Hawaii is famous for its fresh seafood, which includes a variety of fish like mahi-mahi, ono, and ahi (tuna). 

Poke, which is made with cubed raw fish, is a popular seafood dish in Hawaii that is enjoyed as a snack or a light meal. 

Another popular seafood dish is the seafood platter, which includes a selection of fish and shellfish like shrimp, crab, and lobster.


Hawaii’s unique blend of cultures and traditions has given rise to a vibrant and delicious cuisine that is beloved by locals and visitors alike. From fresh seafood to hearty comfort food, there is no shortage of delicious dishes to try in Hawaii. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full meal, Hawaii’s cuisine has something for everyone. So, the next time you visit Hawaii, be sure to indulge in the state’s many culinary delights!


Lauren Beck
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