The 5 Best Foods to Eat in Hawaii

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When it comes to travel, I will admit that I can be very cliché. I enjoy “immersing myself in the culture” and “living like the locals”. (I actually laughed at myself while writing that). I find that the best way to do this is to try local food and delicacies. When I was in New Orleans, I tried gator! When I was in California, I ate sushi and Mexican food. And when I was in the Bahamas, I ate conch!

 

So when my husband and I decided to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon, I made a list of foods I wanted to try while I was there. Hawaii is a culinary melting pot of unique flavors and Asian influence. After eating my way through the islands, I have selected the top five foods you should try when you visit.   

 

Poke - Sushi is my favorite food so I am very comfortable with eating raw fish. While I have already indulged in my fair share of poke bowls here in Florida, I was especially excited to try some in Hawaii because that is where poke originated! Poke is a common appetizer or snack so I found it almost everywhere (even in the local convenience stores - ABC). The deliciously marinated fish is often served with onions or scallions. It is refreshing and full of flavor.

 

Teddy's Bigger Burgers - Teddy’s is a burger franchise only found in Hawaii (I just found out they also have Teddy’s in Washington, Iowa, Texas, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia). Teddy’s was the first restaurant we visited when we landed in Maui last year. It was so delicious that we had to visit again while we were in Honolulu.

Similar to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Teddy’s allows you to customize your burger with tons of different toppings like craisins, avocado, walnuts, bacon, and anything else you could think of. They also have amazing Umami fries (fries topped with furikake and sriracha aioli)!

 

Musubi - Spam musubi is easily the most popular snack in Hawaii! It is a slice of marinated grilled spam, placed on a block of sushi rice, and wrapped in nori seaweed. The marinade is made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar giving the spam a sweet, maple-y taste. I have a general disdain for canned means so I was a bit skeptical of Spam musubi but I still tried it. The marinade was too sweet for my liking (almost like sausage in breakfast syrup) but I love seaweed and sushi rice so I ate it all up.

If you are like me and do not enjoy canned meats, don’t be afraid. Musubi comes in all shapes and sizes. While visiting Musubi Cafe in Honolulu, I realized musubi can be made with tons of different ingredients like avocado, egg, bacon, salmon, shrimp, or tuna.  

 

Garlic Shrimp - No matter where we went, I saw crispy garlic shrimp on every restaurant menu in Hawaii. Finally, when we visited Ala Moana park during the annual Independence Day fireworks show, I had the chance to try the delicious dish! The buttery shrimp is coated in so much garlic, it barely needs any breading. And it is packed with flavor! Served warm over a bed of rice, this was easily my favorite dish I tried in Honolulu!

 

Loco Moco - Loco moco was another dish that I saw on every menu no matter where we went. Traditional loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. My husband and I decided to try the Loco Moco burger at Mahaloha Burger. I think I would’ve enjoyed the dish more if I ate it the traditional way. The Moco Loco burger was a bit too heavy and soggy considering the use of gravy.

What was the best food you ever ate while traveling?

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