A Flavor Trip Through Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on earth and thanks to its rich heritage influenced by native Hawaiian, east Asian, and North American culture, the food there is one-of-a-kind. If you’re in Hawaii, be sure to try everything on this list:

Loco moco

Most likely created at Cafe 100 in Hilo on the Big Island, the loco moco is a dream for breakfast lovers. It consists of white (or brown rice), a hamburger patty, an egg, and brown gravy.


Made from taro, a purple sweet potato, poi has an acquired taste. It is first baked or steamed until soft and mashed into a sticky paste. It’s served chilled either by itself or with salted fish. Thanks to the slight fermentation that occurs during the prep process, it has a slightly sour, very starchy flavor.


If you love the raw fish in sushi, you’ll love poke. Poke is usually made from fresh tuna, which is chopped into cubes and mixed with some kind of condiment, like spicy mayo or a teriyaki sauce. In Hawaii, you’ll probably find a version known as “shoyu poke,” which incorporates local ingredients like Maui onion and macadamia nuts. Poke is also becoming very popular on the mainland in the form of “poke bowls,” which include fresh veggies and other ingredients. 

Shave ice

On a hot day, nothing is as satisfying as sweet shave ice. Unlike snow cones, shave ice is extremely fine, almost like dust, and often served with ice cream inside. You can find basically any flavor, but fruit ones like passionfruit and pineapple are always popular.

Li hing mui powder

Originally from China, this powder is made from grinding pickled plum skin to a fine, flavorful powder. It’s a unique combination of sweet, sour, and salty. In Hawaii, it’s sprinkled on a variety of candy like sour gummy bears, watermelon candy, sour patch kids, rock candy, and more. It’s also popular on fresh fruit like pineapple.