Hawaiian Cuisine is perhaps the most unusual in its origins compared to the other ethnic groups within American cuisine. This is because Hawaii became a State of the USA not long ago, so Hawaiian cuisine did not develop in similar ways as did other “ethnic” foods on the mainland. Hawaiian cuisine incorporates several diverse and distinct styles of food. These differing styles are a direct reflection of the diverse culinary history of immigration and settlement in the Hawaiian Islands.
Native, indigenous Hawaiians, for hundreds of years, had fished, cultivated the growing of taro roots for poi, sugarcane, sweet potatoes, coconuts and yams. They cooked their seafood and meats in earth ovens.
From about 300 AD through to the mid to late 18th century (historians point to this era as “Ancient Hawaii” or the “Pre-Contact Period), Polynesian voyagers brought with them animals and plants that were new to the Islands.
European and American cuisine arrived along with missionaries and whalers in 1778. They introduced their own favorite foods and ingredients, and they established huge sugarcane and pineapple plantations. New England cuisine was introduced by the Christian missionaries. Whalers introduced their beloved and necessary salted fish which Hawaiians became fond of. Eventually, Hawaiian versions of salted fish transformed into the now famous side dish called “Lomilomi Salmon”.
Pineapple and sugarcane plantations grew rapidly and so, along with that growth, the demand for labor grew in equal proportions. This brought a whole new bevy of immigrant groups to the Islands. From about 1850 to 1930, immigrant workers from the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Portugal, China, Korea and Japan all arrived in Hawaii. Naturally, they brought with them their favorite foods, and added all that much more diversity to what was developing into modern day Hawaiian cuisine.
The popularity of Hawaiian cuisine grew rapidly in the 21st century as one of the reasons the Islands became a favorite tourist destination. This influx of visitors eager to eat Hawaiian foods helped to produce Hawaiian cuisine restaurants in the mainland United States, most notably the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Ono Hawaiian BBQ. The British also became quickly enamored with Hawaiian eats. In England, opening in 2014, the restaurant Dalston gained tremendous success immediately.
The Zippy’s chain is a popular eatery locally, and a notorious Hawaiian grocery chain is called Foodland Hawaii.
Some of the more historic and distinctive business operations are Common Ground Kauai, Anna Miller’s, Nisshodo Candy Store, Kanemitsu Bakery, Helena’s Hawaiian Food, and Maui Tacos. Hawaiian cuisine and Hawaiian fusion cuisine have been helped with international popularity by various cookbooks, perhaps most notably the one authored by Roy Yamaguchi.
Hawaiian Cuisine boasts several well known internationally brands, also. Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, and the Dole Food products company, both based in Hawaii, come immediately to mind. Also of significant note are the Volcano Winery and the beer producer, Kona Brewing Company.
Now, let’s get into the main reason you came to this page – the recipes!
Below is a list of Hawaiian dishes. Click on the one you want, and you will be taken to a print-friendly page with just that recipe on it.
So, off you go now, to the tropical paradise and the marvelous culinary experience of …
Coconut Corned Beef and Cabbage
Maui Ahi Poke (Raw Salmon Salad)
Poi (Traditional Hawaiian starch staple)
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