The Essential Hawaii

Our comprehensive guide to everything Hawaii, from the best places to eat to travel tips to Hawaiian recipes and more

Hawaiian food is more than the pit-roasted pig and coconut pudding of the traditional luau. It's also more than the diet of the early Hawaiians, which was largely based on fish, poi, sweet potatoes, and tropical fruit. Local food is a multicultural style of cooking—one of the original fusion cuisines—much of it derived from the cooking of immigrant laborers from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Portuguese islands of Madeira and the Azores who came here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work the sugar cane and pineapple plantations that stretched across the islands. It is modest, down-home food—but full of exotic flavors.

—Kaui Philpotts, from "Real Hawaiian"

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