Aloha! Hawaiian Cuisine

The Pacific island’s ethnic diversity has resulted in the evolution of a unique food scene. Typical dishes are an amalgam of the cuisine from the immigrants who became an integral part of Hawaiian culture. One thing that they all have in common, though, is fresh, locally grown ingredients.

Hawaiian poke bowls with a Japanese twist

Poke bowl is the most famous fusion dish of Hawaiian origin. It is rooted in the days when native Hawaiian fishermen would slice up smaller reef fish and serve them raw, seasoned with nuts. The immigrants who arrived on the island from various countries later adopted this simple local dish and added their own spin to it. Today, poke bowl is symbolic of Hawaiian cuisine.

Poke bowls with raw fish – or prawns – are being prepared by amateur cooks and professional chefs the whole world over. Asian influences are clearly evident in the poke bowls that use sushi rice as a filling ingredient in the base of the bowl. Garnishes are also becoming more creative, and we're seeing tofu and lots of fresh vegetables, in addition to nuts, in contemporary poke bowls. Native Hawaiian poke bowls often include the sweet tropical fruits that are grown on the island, such as pineapple, banana, guava, mango or papaya, as ingredients. Japanese-style poke bowls contain bean sprouts and edamame beans, which taste delicious with fresh raw fish and a big trend right now.

A high quality sauce, such as Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce, the less salt and gluten-free versions, and the new Kikkoman Poke Sauce which was specially developed as a poke bowl seasoning, completes the flavour of the Hawaiian dish.

Poi, lomi lomi and kāluapig

There are many other traditional dishes linked to Hawaii, in addition to the versatile poke bowl, that haven’t yet found their way across the ocean. One of them is poi, a paste made from the roots of the taro plant. Poi is the staple food in native cuisine of Hawaii, and it is still an important part of the islanders’ diet. 

Poi is traditionally served as a side dish to kāluapig at the famous “luau” feasts. Kāluapig is a whole hog cooked for half a day in an underground pit with hot lava rocks for very tender and succulent results. Lomi lomi, a fresh salad made of salmon, tomatoes and onions that originated on Maui, is another typical luau offering and also a popular dish at regular mealtimes.