Don’t you love trying new dishes in new places? It’s definitely my favorite part of traveling. I have a soft spot in my heart for Hawaii because I spent some time living there as a kid (former military brat over here). So, when I go back, it’s usually a holiday filled with all my favorite things — foods, hikes, and memories.
Here’s a little snapshot of some of my favorite local treats. Enjoy!
Poke (pronounced (Poe-key)
This marinated fish salad is what dreams are made of. As soon as I left the airport, I made a beeline to my favorite poke place on the island (Tamura’s in Kailua). A basic poke is made up of chunks of raw ahi tuna with chopped green onions, Maui onions, and soy sauce, but there are endless sauces and combinations you’ll find at most grocery stores on the island. California roll poke, spicy avocado poke, sriracha poke, oyster sauce poke, you name it, somewhere or other, you’ll find it in Hawaii. In the bowl above I had a mayo sriracha poke on the left with oyster sauce poke on the right. Warm sticky rice sits below the fish, topped with a generous shake of furikake.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
This popular shrimp truck has certainly earned its bragging rights. Go in high season, and you might see a line wrapping all around the picnic tables. You have your pick of a few different plates: the classic scampi, the “no refunds” spicy shrimp, lemon butter shrimp, or a garlic hot dog. I so desperately wanted to try them all, but when there is so much food to sample while traveling, I try very hard not to stuff myself to the brim! Pictured here is the scampi with two healthy servings of warm sticky rice.
Pictured here are the kalua pork cheese fries from Breakers in Haleiwa. Kalua pork is a staple in Hawaii, especially during celebrations. Traditionally kalua pork is made by roasting a pig in a pit underground. This is what makes it perfect for celebrations — lots of meaty, shredded pork to go around whilst the smell of smoky, roasting pig fills the air. These days I suspect most restaurants make their kalua pork in slow cookers or ovens, but at a large Hawaiian celebration or even a family gathering, you can definitely expect a real “kalua” or underground cooked pig.