The Kauai ocean breezes cool not only the skin but carry some of the most delectable aromas on earth. On your Kauai vacation sample our local Hawaii food. It is richer than the “Hawaiian Steak” known as SPAM. Hawaiian foods are the oldest of island dishes and carry unique names. To help you select which ones to try on your Kauai vacation rental stay, we have prepared the following list for you. Try them all in our Kauai grocery stores, while eating out in Kauai restaurants and shopping at our Kauai Farmer’s Markets.
Haupia – Popular dessert custard made from coconut.
Limu – Generic term for edible seaweed. Can be eaten as a salad, or mixed with ground kukui nuts and salt for use a relish.
Lomi Lomi Salmon – This is a salad of salmon, tomatoes and onions with garnish and seasonings. Often featured at buffets and luau.
Poi – The Hawaiians were the best farmers of Polynesia and the first thing they planted was taro. This main staple of the Hawaiians was pounded into poi, a glutinous purple paste. Poi is loaded with nutritious carbs and is meant to be eaten with something.
Ahi – Yellowfin tuna with the distinctive pinkish meat is a great favorite cooked, or uncooked in sushi bars.
A`u/Shutome -This blue marlin or broadbill swordfish is a true island delicacy. Not easy to catch! The meat is moist and white and truly superb.
Mahi Mahi – Called dolphin fish but not to be confused with the mammal. Weighs between 10 and 65 pounds. The flesh is light and moist.
Manini – These five-inch fish are some of the most abundant. They live in about 10 feet of water. These fish school and won’t bite a hook, but are easily taken with spear or net. Not often on a menu, but favorites with local people.
Moi – Hawaiian word for “king.” It has large eyes and a shark-like head. Best during the fall and one of the finest eating fishes in Hawaii.
Ono – The word “ono” means delicious in Hawaii and this Wahoo doesn’t disappoint. Ono is regarded as one of the finest eating fishes in the ocean, and its while flaky meat lives up to its name.
Ulua – This member of the jack crevalle family ranges between 15 and 100 pounds. Its flesh is white and has a steak-like texture.
Avocado – Countess of varieties in all shapes and colors are available year round. Some weigh 5 pounds each! After olives, they have the highest fat content of any fruit.
Banana – There are over 100 species in Hawaii with many variations and tastes. Try them all!
Breadfruit – This island staple provides a great deal of carbs. It grows all over the island and is really thousands of little fruits growing together to form a ball. Many people find the baked, broiled or fried fruit bland by itself, but excellent in combination with other flavors.
Coconut – Truly tropical, they know no season. You get up to a quart of fluid from each. These were some of the first plants brought by the Polynesians.
Guava – Small, mostly yellow fruit are abundant in the wild. They are ripe from early summer to late fall. Considered a pest – so pick all you want. Great for juice, jellies and desserts.
Lychee – Called nuts but really a small fruit with a thin red shell, they have a sweet and juicy white flesh when fresh, and appear like nuts when dried.
Mangos – Simply delicious. Their season is April to August but varies seasonally. They are found in the wild on trees up to 60 feet tall!
Papayas – Available year round but their season is mostly summer to early fall. They are ready to pick as soon as the yellow appears on them. Split them in half, scrape out the seeds and have at them with a spoon.
Passionfruit – Also known as lilikoi, they make excellent juice and pies. They are a small yellow fruit and available summer and fall. Many wild ones grow on vines. Slice off at the stem end, scoop the seedy pulp out with your tongue and you’ll know why they’re called “passion-fruit.”
Pineapple – Always popular. Buy Kauai grown for a special treat. Hawaii pineapple can also be taken to the US Mainland.
Crack Seed – A sweet of Chinese origin, these are preserved and seasoned fruits and seeds. They take some getting used to, but make great “trail snacks.” Available in all island markets.
Malasadas – Holeless donuts from the Portuguese. They are sold in bakeries and make for a great treat.
Shave Ice – This real island institution makes the Mainland snow cone melt into insignificance. Special machines shave ice to a fluffy consistency. It’s mounded into a paper cone and you choose from dozens of exotic island syrups to pour over.
If we missed any Hawaiian foods please leave a comment below. Which ones are your favorites?