Dining is one of the many pleasures to be had on a Hawaii vacation, and whether you're enjoying roast pig at a luau or treating yourself to shaved ice on a hot and sunny day, it's bound to be tasty. Good food in Hawaii isn't hard to find, and you don't have to go to a five-star restaurant to find it. The restaurants in Hawaii come in all shapes and sizes, and most are known for serving up some savory fare, even the ones that aren't upscale and ritzy. Hawaiian cuisine is very much a fusion of cuisines, thanks to the state's cultural diversity, and exploring the many different dining options during your visit is encouraged.
As one might imagine, the restaurants in Hawaii are all about fresh ingredients, and good, fresh ingredients are easy to come by in the Aloha State. If you like seafood, the Pacific Ocean waters offer up a verifiable bounty all year round. As for vegetables, seaweed, fern shoots, and taro are among the many varieties. Taro is especially interesting, as it serves as the base for Poi, which is a Hawaiian food staple. Poi is a popular starch food in Hawaii, and it is essentially a purple colored paste that is made from pounding taro roots. You might not become a Poi fan during your trip to Hawaii, but you must try it at least once if you are serious about learning more about Hawaiian food.
As much as Poi is a main food in Hawaii, so too is Spam, which has reached a sort of legendary status across the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaiians eat more Spam per capita than anyone else, and they are know to get quite crafty with it, even introducing it into soups, stews, and other dishes that might not come to mind when you think of Spam. As is true with Poi, those who choose to try some Spam when dining in Hawaii might not take an immediate liking to it, though this canned meat product is bound to grow on you if you spend some considerable time on the islands.
All of the Hawaiian islands boast some interesting dining options, and if you're lucky, you will be invited to a home cooked meal or a Hawaiian family luau. Luaus, which are themed food parties that often feature plenty of entertainment, can be thrown to celebrate any number of things, from birthday parties to weddings. In addition to roast pig, some of the food that you are bound to come across at luaus includes Poi, banana bread, and chicken adobo. Chicken adobo, which is actually the national dish in the Philippines, is a sort of stew that can feature chicken, pork, beef, and/or shellfish. The chicken adobo sauce generally consists of soy sauce, white vinegar, peppercorns, and garlic.
Whether you are exploring the Maui dining scene or looking for good things to eat on some of the other Hawaiian Islands, another chicken dish that you might try is Huli-Huli Chicken, which is a Hawaiian take on barbecued chicken. The Huli-Huli sauce also features soy sauce as a base, as well as Hawaiian brown sugar cane and fresh ginger. Hawaiian food is extremely diverse, and when you're exploring the dining scene, you will notice influences from Japan, China, Vietnam, Portugal, and even Puerto Rico, among other nations, so you are not bound to get bored. For those who are enjoying the Oahu dining scene, dropping by Honolulu's Chinatown neighborhood is bound to give you an idea of how diverse the dining options can be in the Aloha State.
Many of the top restaurants in Hawaii can be found at a hotel or a resort, and it's not rare for some of the bigger resorts to feature a handful of restaurants to choose from. In Waikiki, which is Oahu's top destination, you can dine around the clock when it comes to the abundant hotel and resort restaurant choices. Many Hawaiian chefs, including those at the hotel and resort restaurants, are always looking to put a new spin on things when it comes to Hawaiian food, and you never know what you might come across on the menu or the buffet table. Take the Kauai dining scene, for example. At resorts like the Sheraton Kauai Resort and the Hilton Kauai Beach Resort, the chefs offer different takes on Hawaiian cuisine, not to mention American fare and international cuisine. Some of the best places to find some good restaurants on the island of Kauai include Lihue, Hanalei, Princeville, and Poipu.
When it comes to the Big Island dining scene, you will once again find yourself with a healthy array of options when it comes to restaurants and world cuisines. In addition to offering up good food, the Big Island also offers up some good coffee, which is known the world wide. While Kona coffee gets the most international respect, some of the other areas on the Big Island are starting to make waves on the international coffee front themselves, so finding a good cup won't be hard whether you're in Kona, Hilo, or anywhere else on the Big Island for that matter.
Food related events are ideal for those who want to enjoy some good food in Hawaii. On the Big Island, two such events that you'll do well to partake in include the Kona Coffee Festival and the Aloha Festival's Poke Recipe Contest. Poke, which is a raw fish salad that features ahi (yellowfin tuna), is a staple food in Hawaii that you are bound to come across. While soy sauce, seaweed, sesame oil, and kukui nuts are most often used to flavor it, there are lots of different recipes out there, thanks largely in part to the Aloha Festival's Poke Recipe Contest.
Hawaiian food is exciting, and while the Molokai dining scene and the Lanai dining scene might both be lacking when compared to the dining scenes that the other islands have to offer, finding something good to eat still won't be hard. Keeping an open mind is key when it comes to food in Hawaii, and you're bound to come away from your Hawaiian dining experience with some new appreciation for culinary creativity.