Hawaiian Cuisine. Local Foods and Dishes in Hawaii

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hawaiian-food avaThe cuisine of Hawaiian islands is very different to US mainland. It has its own peculiarities: locals cook and eat fresh vegetables and fruit, freshly caught seafood, and fresh meat of farmed and wild animals. Very often Hawaiians eat raw food, because it's cheap and easy to get. Main dishes in Hawaii usually include garnish, meat or fish and pickles or fresh vegetables. A lot of dishes were brought to Hawaii from different other cuisines and cultures, like Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and so on. If you're visiting Hawaiian islands, you're ought to try local food.

The cuisine of Hawaii is made of best dishes of different countries – American, Polynesian, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese. These recipes were brought to Hawaii by immigrants and became national.

The best thing in Hawaiian cuisine is that all of the products are really fresh. On islands people cook fresh fruit salads; seafood dishes made of freshly caught shrimps, oysters, fish; fresh fruit cocktails; dishes of locally grown vegetables.

Hawaiian national foods are lamb, beef, shrimps and many different seafood, tuna, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet maui onions, berries, tropical fruits (passionfruits, papayas, mangoes, coconut, lychee, banana etc.).

Top-10 best Hawaiian dishes

Shave-ice 11. Shave Ice. It is maybe the most popular and loved dessert in Hawaii. Shave ice is similar to ice cream or frozen juice. It's ice with colorful fruit syrups. There's nothing better than shave ice in Hawaiian heat. The most famous is Rainbow shave ice – as beautiful, as delicious.

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2. Saimin. It's a local favourite in Hawaii. This dish is cooked and served in restaurants, at home and even in McDonald's. Saimin is a delicious complete meal, it contains of wheat-flour noodles, homemade dashi or chicken broth, omelet, bright pink fish cake, green onions and char siu (Chinese roast pork) or spam.

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3. Spam. This is one of the most popular snack in Hawaii. This food is Japanese by its origin. Nowadays spam is made and sold in cans. But what is spam? There are different varieties of spam, but classic one is canned chopped pork shoulder meat, with ham meat and spices added.

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4. Manapua. It's a kind of buns – another Hawaiian snack. It came from Chinese cuisine. Manapua is a fist-sized dough ball filled with meat (like pork or curry chicken). It's a street food, a lot of small bakeries and local stores sell it.

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5. Raw 'Ahi or Tako. Actually, 'ahi – ahi tuna, and tako – octopus. Fresh raw seafood, cut into bite-sized chunks, is very popular dish in Hawaii. It is mixed with greens, vegetables, kukui nuts etc. Some people consider that this dish is a first step to sashimi, like sashimi for newcomers.

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6. Malasadas. This Portuguese dessert and traditional American donuts are pretty much alike, but malasadas are always rolled in sugar. You can buy them either with chocolate or vanilla cream or without any filling.

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7. Plate Lunch. It is a complete meal, as it consists of meat dish, garnish and salad. There are dozens of different varieties of Plate Lunch. It can include white steamed rice, macaroni, macaroni-potato salad, kim chee or koko (salted cabbage), chicken katsu, fried mahimahi, beef tomato, laulau (pork, beef, fish or chicken with taro, or lu'au, leaves wrapped and steamed in ti leaves), kalua pig, poi, lomilomi salmon, chicken long rice etc. But there are always several dishes on the plate.

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8. Bento Box. It's a lunch box that contains garnish, meat/fish and pickles. History of bento box goes back to the plantation days, when workers in the sugarcane fields brought for lunch not sandwiches, but complete meals. Today bento boxes are still very popular. You can buy prepared one in a store, create it in another store using favourite foods or make it at home by yourself.

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9. Crack Seed. Hawaiians adore these Chinese snacks. There are lots of stores that provide different crack seed. Actually, crack seed are basically preserved fruits, cracked or split with the seed or kernel. Crack seed stores also provide candies.

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10. Fresh tropical fruits. In Hawaiian islands there are a lot of different tropical fruits. Locals always eat fruits for breakfast, they like to make exotic and extraordinary dishes and cocktails with tropical fruits. In Hawaii such tropical fruits grow: banana, pineapple, papaya, mango, rambutan, coconut, dragon fruit, jackfruit, surinam cherry, longan, star fruit, lychee and others.

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