Breaking open da lilikoi: Understanding Hawaiian Food

Quick Etiquette - If it’s on the street, not hanging from a tree, and obviously not in someones yard. Then the general rule is the fruit is up for grabs. But use discretion, and have a look-out.  


  • Poke, Poke, Poke!! I live for this stuff. A hawaiian style sashimi. Go to the fish counter at any grocery store and get Shoyu or Hawaiian style poke. Load cooler with poki, beer, spam musubi and chopsticks. Go beach.


  • The foundation of a good Hawaiian plate, and a taste into Hawaiian history. This purple paste is boiled and mashed taro root. Eat it with your fingers.

Spam Musubi

  • Yeah, that’s right SPAM! Nori, sticky rice, and spam. What else do you need. If you’re sticking your nose up at spam, fine more for me.  

Lau Lau

  • Salty fish and pork wrapped in tender taro leaves and steamed. This is traditional Hawaiian food you shouldn’t miss.

Kalua Pork

  • Tender pork, cooked underground in a pit. Salty, shredded, meaty. Think Hawaiian carnitas.


  • The official beer of Hawaii, which is strange because it’s from New Zealand. If you really want to fit in with the locals, carry a 12er of this to the beach.

Plate Lunch

  • The modern Hawaiian diet consists of three types of carbs and salty meat. Looking for vegetables? No bahdah.

Loco Moco

  • This is the king of Hawaiian plate lunch. Two scoops of rice (at least), two hamburger patty’s, two fried eggs, covered in gravy. Seriously.

Li /hing Mui

  • Sweet, deliciously sour, strangely addictive (is that MSG?) All your candy, and all your dried fruit will be covered in it, and you will love it.

Street fruit

  • Lilikoi - Passionfruit. Easily found on the side of the road. Keep you eye out for yellow easter eggs.

  • Mango - During mango season the entire island smells sickly sweet. During the winter, your best bet is at a fruit stand or at the store.

  • Avocado - We get choke! T’ree times as big as the mainland kine. If you see em on the road, feel free to scoop em up.

  • Star fruit - They look like a star, but their fruit. Duh.  

  • Street chicken - you catch ‘um you eat um. Just kidding, try Huli Huli.  

  • Coconut - Skip the can, go right to the source. You can pick low hanging fruit and smash em open on rocks. May the best coconut win.

  • Dragon Fruit - Red, spiney on the outside, custardy and white on the inside. Looks like it came from another planet.

  • Banana - Banana’s of all shapes and varieties on Hawaii. Scour the markets for tiny yet flavorful ice-cream or apple variety.

  • Papaya - Mmmmmmmmm. Eat every morning. Best with a squeeze of lime, or filled with lilkoi.