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Seven Hawaiian Dishes You Have to Try When You Move Here | PCS To Hawaii

Posted by admin on September 6, 2022

When you think about your upcoming PCS to Hawaii, you’re probably planning your HHG shipment or debating whether you’ll rent or buy (see our blog about that). Maybe you’re daydreaming about the beaches you’ll visit or coordinating your weekend hikes. But there’s something else to add to your plans – and that’s munching on loads of Hawaiian treats. So put down the PCS checklist and start writing that bucket list – here are seven must-try Hawaiian foods and where to find them!

1. Malasadas

Photo by: @pennyswaikikimalasadas

Who doesn’t love deep-fried dough covered in sugar? That’s just what you get in a malasada. These Portuguese doughnuts are a favorite here in Hawaii. Some spots – ahem, Leonard’s Bakery or Penny's Waikiki Malasadas – offer a stuffed variety with fillings like custard, chocolate, and haupia (coconut). Or head to Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery for their Malamode, a malasadas filled with ice cream.

2. Kalua Pork

Photo by:@KonosHawaii

You will certainly want to try some Kalua pork. You can put it in a burrito, on as a sandwich, over rice, over salad, and so much more! You’re probably familiar with the roasted pig. Well, that cooking process has a name, and it’s called kālua; this translates as “to cook in an underground oven.” You can find kalua pork at a number of spots on the island – not just at luaus. And although the meat might not be cooked underground, it is slow roasted for hours giving it loads of flavor. We recommend Konos for a quick bite, or Highway Inn if you want to try some other Hawaiian dishes at the same time.

3. Poke

Photo by: @Offthehookpokemarket

Arguably one of Hawaii’s most popular meals, poke is raw fish that’s generally served over rice. A popular option here in Hawaii is ahi poke. Get it spicy or with shoyu (soy sauce) – either way it won’t disappoint. Whether as an appetizer at a high-end restaurant or a grab-and-go meal at your local Foodland grocery store, you’ll find great poke all over the island

Check out this Poke Bucket List

4. Shave Ice

Photo by: @matsumotoshaveice

Shave ice is just what you’d imagine it to be – shaved ice. It’s topped with your choice of flavors; most local shops have dozens to choose from. Locals love to get their shave ice (yes it’s shave not shaved) with condensed milk. You can also order it topped with ice cream, mochi, or azuki beans, which are red beans cooked with sugar and water. One of the most well-known and beloved spots or shave ice is Matsumoto’s on the North Shore. Also check out Kula Shave Ice North Shore for Gluten free and organic options!

5. Plate Lunch

Photo by: @diamondheadmarketandgrill

When you’re here in Hawaii you’ll probably hear people talk about a plate lunch. This meal generally consists of meat or fish (or sometimes both), rice, macaroni salad, and sometimes greens. It’s a hearty and tasty meal – these plates usually cost between $15-20. If you’re looking for a local spot that’s off the beaten path try Ono Steak and Shrimp in Waimanalo. They’re fittingly known for their steak and shrimp plate, but the eatery’s garlic ahi is also worth a try!

While everyone might say they have the best plate lunch, why not try them all! Check out Yelp reviews of others also!

6. Shrimp Trucks

Photo by: @bigwaveshrimp

Hawaii is known for its shrimp trucks that serve up large pieces of shrimp smothered in garlic and butter. Now you see why it’s so popular! Many trucks have other varieties of the crustacean, like spicy or coconut, but the garlic shrimp tops the list. This meal comes with rice, macaroni salad, and at some places a small green salad. We recommend Big Wave in Haleiwa or Romy’s in Kahuku, but here is a list of a few others!

7. Poi

Image by: @hawaiaholepoifactory

Made from mashed taro root, poi is an authentic and traditional Hawaiian food. The taro plant, also known as kalo in Hawaii, has a strong significance in the state – Hawaiians believed that kalo was the original ancestor of the Hawaiian people. If you see poi, be sure to give it a try. Waiāhole Poi Factory is a favorite spot for this special food. Also check out Taro Brand for recipes and ideas!

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