12 Strange Food Combinations Only People In Hawaii Will Love

As the most isolated population center on earth — located more than 2,000 miles from the closest continent — the Hawaiian Islands are unique. Everything from our culture to the food we eat is a bit different than the mainland. From traditional Hawaiian meals to those inspired by other cultures, there are certain dishes abundant throughout the islands that might inspire someone to say, “Man, that’s some weird Hawaiian food.” However, these food combinations are as delicious as they are unique.

Want to know where to get the best food Hawaiian is famous for? Check out our previous article, “11 Hawaiian Foods Everyone Loves… And Where To Find The Best.” Happy eating!

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Weird Hawaiian Food

August 05, 2022

What is the history behind some unusual Hawaiian food?

It might be good to clarify how “unusual” is meant in the context of the article. When it comes to food, people seem more comfortable eating and seeing what they are used to. For example, many Americans enjoy hot dogs. Yet lots are surprised when they see a regional variation. Some think a Sonoran hot dog is strange, while they happily chomp on a Chicago Dog filled with all sorts of pickled things. Thankfully, something being new or “unusual” doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. Labeling food as weird is not a negative thing at all. In fact, we encourage eating as many strange things as possible. 

As the article suggests, Hawaii has a unique menu. According to historians, when Polynesian settlers first arrived on the Islands there were few eatable plants. So, new settlers introduced stuff they wanted to eat. Among the earliest and most important was taro, called kalo in Hawaiian. This is a starchy root vegetable served in a variety of ways. It’s also an important component of a luau. The sweet nutty flavor of kalo may seem strange if you’ve never tried it before, but most people like it. Have you tried a taro pancake? Yum. 

Many cultures have come together in Hawaii, and this always leads to a fusion of flavors. You will find variations of Vietnamese, Cantonese, Japanese, Samoan, Korean, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, Filipino, as well as American foods all coexisting and mingling. It’s inspiring to see everything mix so well.

You have probably heard that Spam is very popular in Hawaii, while it’s much less so in the rest of the States. The article 9 Reasons Why Spam Became Hawaii’s Most Beloved Food does a nice job of sharing this. 

Is there Hawaiian food that is also popular Stateside? 

A dish that is clearly becoming more popular on the mainland is Poke. Poke means “to cut crossways into pieces” and is a raw fish dish. It’s most often marinated tuna. You probably have a place not far from where you live that specializes in Poke with a line out the door. It’s still going to be better in Hawaii. These 15 Restaurants Serve The Best Poke In Hawaii will get your trek started!