Hawaii Food Bucket List: Part 2­­ – Local Foods to Try in Hawaii

Local Foods to Try in Hawaii Acai Bowl

Because you all seemed to love A Hawaii Food Bucket List (From a Local), I decided to make a part 2!  So here are a few more local foods to try in Hawaii.

Locally-Grown Acai Bowl from Kahuku Farms 

For some reason, many people hold the misconception that acai bowls originated in Hawaii.  While this is not the case, Hawaii is the prime climate for growing acai berries.  So while you’re here, why not have an acai bowl made from locally grown acai berries?

At Kahuku Farms, they do just that, topping the acai mixture off with some tasty granola and tart lilikoi butter. It’s absolutely delicious, so it’s no wonder that Kahuku Farms is one of the best restaurants on Oahu.

Apple Bananas

These miniature bananas are so much sweeter and smoother than normal bananas. They are a must-try while you are on the islands.

*Tip: if there are small brown spots on the peel of apple bananas, the inside should still be unaffected.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts

Not only do Mauna Loa macadamia nuts make a fantastic souvenir, they make a tasty (and filling) snack to try while you’re on island.  They have tons of fun flavors, from Kona coffee to mango chipotle to honey sriracha to Maui onion and garlic.  My personal favorite is the honey roasted macadamia nuts.

Local Foods to Try in Hawaii 100% Kona Coffee

100% Kona Coffee

In all honesty, 100% Kona Coffee should’ve made it onto the first list.  But since I’m not a coffee drinker, I didn’t think to add it.  Grab some from a local grocery store to take home or stop by a local coffee shop, like Island Vintage Coffee, for a taste.

Lomi Lomi Salmon

Lomi lomi salmon is a dish typically found at luaus. It’s basically a mixture of diced, raw salmon with diced tomatoes and onions.

Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn

Instead of putting extra butter or cheese powder on popcorn, many locals choose to put the Hawaiian Hurricane topping on it instead. This mixture combines Japanese arare (small rice crackers) and nori (seaweed) flakes with the usual buttery topic for a completely different popcorn experience.

Local Foods to Try in Hawaii Hawaiian Honey Big Island Bees

Hawaiian Honey

I’m a bit of a honey fanatic.  Whenever I see a new type of honey, I buy it (assuming it’s not some absurd price).  And despite the dozens of different types of honey I’ve tried – from avocado to Australian to sunflower to Swiss to ginger – the ohia lehua blossom honey from Big Island Bees is my absolute favorite. 

If you come at the right time of year, you may be able to find a 47-ounce counter from Costco at a decent price.  If not, many tourist shops that also sell food may sell very small containers of this honey for you to try.

Fresh Lilikoi

Lilikoi is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit. When you’re searching the island for some fresh lilikoi (trust me, it’ll be quite the struggle), you have to call it “lilikoi,” not “passion fruit” (most people have no idea that both terms refer to the same fruit – here are more local words you need to know before visiting Hawaii). 

If its passion fruit season, your best option for trying to find lilikoi is at a farmers market – KCC (Kapiolani Community College) has quite the large selection. However, if you don’t find any there, go hiking on the Maunawili Falls trail and pick some!

Mochiko Chicken

Mochiko chicken is kind of like an Asian spin on fried chicken.  The chicken is typically coated in mochiko (rice flour), soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and green onion before it is fried.

Here’s a recipe from Foodland, a local grocery store, if you want to make it at home.

But What If I’m Not Coming to Hawaii Any Time Soon? How Can I Try These Hawaii Food Bucket List at Home?

Want to have some of these local foods to try in Hawaii while you’re at home? I HIGHLY recommend purchasing  Maui local, Alana Kysar’s cookbook, Aloha Kitchen. In it, Kysar documents all of the recipes that Hawaii locals love! Written by one Hawaii local, and recommended by another – how much better could this Hawaii cookbook get?

Any more local foods to try in Hawaii that I missed in both part 1 and part 2? Write about them below in the comments!

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  1. I haven’t been to Hawaii yet, but it seems like a travel destination which will please all my senses. I’d love to try all of these local foods because most of them are my favorite ones. Mochiko chicken is making my mouth-water!

    1. You definitely should come one day! And lol, well, there are a lot of posts to live through at least :).

  2. I LOVE apple bananas!!! Especially in my acai bowl! You’ve seriously made me miss Hawaii so bad even though I’m still slowly going through many of the snacks (namely mac nuts, chocolate, and coffee) we brought back a couple of months ago. I totally need to go back soon!

    1. RIGHT?! Apple bananas are so much better than regular bananas! And yeah, you should definitely come back soon!

  3. I had not heard of most of these before this. It’s insane how little we hear from locals in Hawaii about what they recommend. I’m dreaming of visiting, but it’s so far 🙁

    1. Yeah, as a Hawaii local, there’s a hard line to balance between telling too much and too little (I actually wrote a post about it lol). Sometimes you just want to keep those local secrets to yourself, ya know? I decided food was an okay thing to write about, because, not only do people LOVE food, but it also helps out local businesses :).

  4. Oh my goodness, Hawaii keeps surprising me! It was never on my bucketlist until recently and now I really need to try those apple bananas. They look so good!

  5. I bloody love macadamia nuts! As if I needed another reason to want to visit Hawaii?! They have something similar to apple bananas in India, but my Indian boyfriend tells me they’re “just called mini bananas”. Either way they’re delicious!

    1. Hmm I’ve never heard them called “mini bananas” before! That’s so interesting. Lol even our signs at Costco say “apple bananas”.

      1. I think they have a different name in the local language but he just doesn’t know the English equivalent ?

  6. Argh, this all makes me so hungry! It all sounds amazing, but especially the apple bananas – I love the small bananas found in Asia and these sound similar? Hopefully one day I’ll make it there to try them!

    1. I’ve been hearing from other commenters that they seem to be similar. I’m not sure though, as I’ve never tried any bananas in Asia lol.

  7. Oh that title image looks delicious 😀 And the coffee blew my mind! Still having some rests of macadamia infused Kona coffee at home 🙂

  8. I love love love 7-11 musubi! Also, every visit to Hawaii I eat macadamia chocolate chip shortbread cookies EVERY day lol. North Shore Huli Huli chicken is a must as is Haleiwa Joe’s Prime Rib (its a roast!) or their white fish with macadamia sauce yummmm! In Waikiki there is a Ramen Noodle house that is to die for, can’t remember the name, but it’s always packed and they have every topping you’d ever dream of. The North Shore Sugar Mill has amazing flavored peanut butter, and the mango smoothies from the food trucks are delish! Try the different Japanese deli items at Foodland and don’t miss a trip to Teds Bakery! If you hit it right, the owner makes super yum French pastry balls that sell out immediately! We’ve been to the islands many times and the food there is amazing. Thank God for all the hikes available to work up an appetite and keep burning the fat! Lol, Aloha and Mahalo!

    1. Hi Lori and Don!

      Wow you’ve really made sure to hit up all of the best food spots on the island :). And the food and hike combos are my go to as well! Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful insight :).

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