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Essay on Food Culture of Hawaii

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A cultural group that has an inviting array of diverse foods is the 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 typically 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 has to offer. There is 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. Food trucks are also a huge hit on the islands, it is an easy way to serve an abundant amount of hungry people at a time. Some food trucks that become so well-known have permanent spots at different locations. They typically can serve many shrimp dishes, burgers, juices, BBQ, and shaved ice. Tourists from all over the world visit the islands to try unique dishes they can appreciate and savor to tell their friends and family about.

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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-0’. 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 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 famous actress herself Elizabeth Taylor has also been spotted to eat at The Royal Hawaiian, Luxury Collection Resort Mai Tai Bar. Additionally, Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Long, and Heather Graham have dined there as well, even a cocktail is named after Ellen herself. The bar offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as the Royal Mai Tai, White Wash, Alii Mai Tai, and Virgin Pina Rocks. Along with drinks they have appetizers, salads, and deserts to have customers stay awhile. The Mai Tai Bar has Tavern Parmesan Truffle Fries, Citrus Garlic Edamame, ‘HuiHui’ Cobb Salad, Paniolo Pizza, and the Royal Signature Pink Haupia Cake. With both tourists and celebrities visiting the Islands constantly, many locals get to share their traditions and customs with them.

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, dragon fruit, and more exotic fruits that Hawaii has to offer. Since the islands offer many exotic fruits and vegetables, many locals are considered to be vegan. The vegan community in Hawaii do meetups with other vegans to share what they have in common and recipes. 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. They have insight to their history and customs that make them truly cherish and treasure their food culture.

The Hawaiian Islands has a unique food culture that tourists, celebrities, and locals can share and appreciate. From food trucks and stands, luaus, fancy restaurants and bars, and farmers markets, everyone can dine in individual ways that fits their needs. The way people of Hawaii express delicious food they just ate is saying, “Ono grinds”. Since Hawaii consists of mostly nature related activities, food culture here is significant. After a long and exhausting day at the beaches and forests, people truly value the delicious foods and drinks all over the islands. Overall, Hawaii is a place of entertainment if activists paired with an astounding food culture everyone can savor.

Works Cited

  2. Fischer, John. “Catch a Bite at These Great Food Trucks and Roadside Stands in Hawaii”. TripSavvy, TripSavvy, 15 Apr. 2019,
  3. “Hawaii Culinary Experiences”. Go Hawaii, 8 Mar. 2019,

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Essay on Food Culture of Hawaii. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 30, 2023, from
“Essay on Food Culture of Hawaii.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
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