One of the best ways to experience the Hawaiian Islands is through the universal language of food. From sweet treats to savory indulgences, Hawaii is a food lover’s paradise with locally popular snacks satisfying just about every craving imaginable.
Here are a few favorite Hawaii snack-time eats you’ll want to try during your time in the Aloha State:
Poke – Though the gustatory joys of poke have now spread worldwide, you haven’t really tasted poke until you’ve tasted it in Hawaii. The traditional recipe – calling for cubed, fresh raw ahi (tuna) mixed with sea salt, limu (seaweed) and chopped inamona (candlenut) as ingredients – is a go-to snack for residents and visitors alike. Multiple varieties of poke can be found just about everywhere in the Islands, from grocery stores and food trucks to favorite poke shops like Eskimo Candy on Maui and Suisan Fish Market on the island of Hawaii.
Spam Musubi – Portable and popular, Spam musubi is one of Hawaii’s most convenient grab-and-go snacks. The classic hand-held nosh – comprised of a slice of grilled Spam on a block of rice, wrapped with a crisp sleeve of nori (dried seaweed) – can be purchased at gas stations and convenience stores across the Islands. Visitors seeking more variations of the iconic comfort-food snack should head to Musubi Café Iyasume on Oahu or Kawamoto Store on the island of Hawaii.
Shave Ice – No trip to the Islands is complete without a stop for some refreshing shave ice, the perfect cool-down treat for Hawaii’s year-round tropical weather. The tasty dome of flavored ice is a longtime local snack staple, with many shops – such as Wailua Shave Ice on Kauai and Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. on the island of Hawaii – pouring only homemade syrups crafted with real fruit over their powdery ice flakes. Remind clients to take their shave ice next level and request it with “snow cap” – a generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk over the ice.
Malasadas – Deep-fried crisp on the outside, fluffy and doughy on the inside, and rolled in sugar, these Portuguese donuts are a longtime sweet-tooth favorite throughout the Islands. Try a traditional malasada or opt for one with delicious fillings, including haupia (coconut pudding) and lilikoi (passion fruit) creams. Or try the dessert’s most recent innovation, poi malasadas (with their deep purple slightly chewier dough), at Kamehameha Bakery on Oahu or Punaluu Bake Shop on the island of Hawaii. A few (or a dozen) make for an indulgent treat.
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