Regional Spotlight: Hawaiian Islands

Let’s face it. People don’t usually take culinary vacations to Hawaii. Visitors venture to the beautiful Pacific Islands to marvel at the breathtaking landscapes and to seek a little adventure. The Hawaiian Islands are home to three active volcanoes, white sandy beaches and lush vegetation. There is plenty to keep visitors occupied, from surfing lessons and snorkeling to golfing and hiking one of the national parks. Travelers can chose to visit multiple islands or remain on one island their entire trip.

If you are lucky enough to visit the warm and welcoming Hawaiian Islands, try not to get too far lost in the majestic sites and dive into the culture and food of the islands as well. It may be often overlooked, but Hawaiian cuisine is an attraction in its own right. The fresh island flavors have inspired many chefs to make the Hawaiian Islands their homes. The farm to table movement has embraced Hawaii’s local cheeses, tropical fruits and vegetables from rich volcanic soils, and fresh fish.

If you want to immerse yourself into the Hawaiian culture, eat like the locals do. Locals enjoy what they refer to as “plate lunches” which consist of two scoops of rice, macaroni salad, and additions like kalua pork, chicken katsu, or Korean barbecue. Another popular item is the “loco moco” which is white rice over a hamburger and egg, covered in gravy. This hearty comfort food will surely give you enough energy to get back out on your board and hit the waves. If you need to cool off after a long day of adventuring, grab a shave ice. This snow cone-like treat has either ice cream or azuki beans on the bottom of the cone for a sweet surprise. Or if you just need a sugary treat after dinner try a malasada, a Portuguese donut.

Whatever island you are lucky enough to visit, take some time to taste, see and experience the true culture of the beautiful islands. Even though you don’t need a passport, you will find it hard to believe you are still in the United States. Just be careful, most visitors find it hard to board the return flight home.

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