Exploring Hawaii's Rich Food Culture and Its Significance

A cultural group that has an inviting array of diverse foods are Polynesians. From traditional poke bowls and laulau to comfort food such as luau stew and haupia pie, Hawaiians have dishes for every occasion and family-gathering. Sometimes these traditions are altered because of tourists and celebrities that visit the islands, but locals adhere to their roots and customs. The food culture of Hawaii fluctuates from tourists, locals, and celebrities and each appreciate it in a different way.

Every year, Hawaii has nearly 10 million tourists that want to experience what the islands have to offer. There are an abundance of restaurants, luaus, food trucks, and farmers markets that have a variety of different food items to choose from. Luaus are feasts that celebrate different occasions and events, this is a cultural tradition. Friends and family get together to celebrate graduations, weddings and most commonly – a birthday. Tourists can look up where to find the nearest luau, there are many distinct ones to choose from that offer different dishes. Luaus are either a private event or in a more public setting that is inviting for everyone to enjoy. Some popular luau dishes include poi, kalua, chicken long rice, laulau, lomilomi salmon, and haupia.

Along with the millions of tourists that visit each year, sometimes well-known celebrities stop by the islands. The have delectable eateries to choose from such as fine dining in beach houses, grills, bars, and steakhouses. Nobu Waikiki has had visitors from George Clooney, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard, and the cast of “Hawaii Five-O”. This Japanese-Peruvian fare with upscale prices serves dishes such as shrimp and lobster with spicy lemon dressing to jidori chicken breast yakimono. Another classic is the Seaside Grill located in Oahu, Janet Jackson and Will Smith have reportedly dined here as well. This restaurant offers drinks such as the Hula Moon, Kahala Mai Tai, and Lilikoi Swizzle. It also serves dishes such as Grilled Prawns and Hawaiian Tzatziki, Grilled Scottish Salmon and Soba Salad, and Blackened Ahi and Waimanalo Valley Greens.

The Hawaiian islands are a fertile place that sustains plenty of different types of agriculture for the locals. This includes papaya, mango, jackfruit, vanilla, ginger root, honey, goat cheese, starfruit, figs, lychee, dragonfruit, and more exotic fruits that Hawaii has to offer. Coffee culture is also massive on the islands, there are coffee plantations that offer tours and sites to visit. Additionally, there are Cattle ranches and paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys), ancient aquaculture developments, and working farms that locals are familiar with. Farmers markets are often known as “Sunshine markets” to the locals, they offer a rainbow of fresh fruits, flowers and vegetables, Hawaiian-grown coffee, local jams and baked goods, and even pop-up stands of trendy restaurants. Some tips the locals give for farmers markets is to get there early, bring bags, talk to the vendors, try new foods, and seize the day. Tourists and celebrities that come visit the islands might be caught up with unimportant activities, the locals are focused on being in the moment and appreciating what their homeland. 

09 March 2021
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