8 Hawaiian Treats to Try When Visiting the Islands
Visiting Hawaii is a dream come true for many due to the glorious beaches, weather, diverse beautiful nature, and Hawaiian food. Speaking of Hawaiian food, it is to die for. If you’re planning on dieting in Hawaii, just don’t. With a variety of food choices as well as delicacies, you will certainly enjoy the taste of Hawaiian treats.
Malasada is a Hawaiian staple and is considered one of favorite fried Hawaiian treats. Malasada was originally from Portuguese in the 1400s then a specialty of the island Sao Miguel in Portugal.
The wonderful sweet treat was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese laborers who went to work at the sugar plantations. Malasada is a fried doughnut made of flattened round yeast dough. The dough is flavored with lemon zest and then covered with sugar and cinnamon.
On the Hawaiian Islands, Malasada is found to have all kinds of fillings such as plain custard to coconut-flavored pudding. If you’re looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, Malasada will definitely attract your appetite.
Another popular treat in Hawaii is the Manapua. The Manapua is a hot, sweet-meat, steamed pork bun that will fill you up. Don’t let the look of the Manapua bun fool you. These buns are filled with delicious fillings such as chicken, Kalua pork, sweet potato, curry, or vegetables.
They are perfect for taking out food or if you are looking for something to satisfy you between meals. Manapua buns are available all over Hawaii and served by street vendors to fine dining restaurants.
If you’re a coffee lover your trip to Hawaii will certainly be special. Kona Coffee is 100% pure and grown by coffee farmers for generations. Kona coffee is processed with unique attention to getting that delicious coffee flavor. 100% Kona Coffee is not roasted until purchased so you get a fresh cup of coffee immediately. It comes in a variety of flavors such as Kona Peaberry, Kona Moon, and Kona Bloom.
With the hot weather, Hawaii has to offer you will be looking for something to cool you down. Shave Ice is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day with tropical-inspired juices such as Guava, Lilikoi, Coconut, and Mango or if you’re feeling more adventurous, try all the combinations in one.
If you want to sound like a local, say “shave ice” without the “D”. While “shaveD” is grammatically correct, in Hawaiian Pidgin this cooling treat is called “shave ice”.
Now if you’re wondering how Hawaiian shave ice is different from snow cones, the syrup in the shave ice is absorbed into the ice and suspends the flavor compared to the syrup running straight to the bottom of a traditional snow cone. Grab a cone of shave ice to cool off after your trip to the beach, running errands, or hanging at the dessert.
Chocolate Macadamia Nuts
Chocolate Macadamia Nuts is another Hawaiian treat you surely can’t miss. Hawaiian climate is ideal for growing macadamia trees, that thrive in temperatures between 75 and 95 degrees. Chocolate macadamia nuts have a rich, sweet flavor and are popular with farmers who came to the island to start in the sugar industry.
First macadamia nuts were brought to Hawaii and planted around 1881. Macadamia nut trees started to be grown commercially in 1921. Don’t feel guilty when eating these delicious chocolate macadamia nuts as they contain healthy omega-7 fatty acid, palmitoleic acid, and a good source of B vitamins helping to boost brainpower.
Spam Musubi was invented by a Japanese-American woman living in Hawaii, and so is unique to Hawaii. Spam Musubi is sold just about everywhere in Hawaii from convenience stores, delis, restaurants to gas stations. It is a sandwich consisting of grilled spamon top of rice, wrapped in nori. This wonderful Hawaiian treat can be served hot or cold and can be eaten as a meal, treat, or snack.
Boiled peanuts are a favorite Hawaiian treat that can be bought on many roadside stands or markets. Boiled peanuts have a higher level of antioxidants in their shell compared to raw or roasted peanuts. This delectable snack food can help prevent chronic conditions, heart disease, and even prevent cancer. Boiled peanuts can be eaten hot or cold and are perfect during the summertime.
Though a popular snack in other countries, Hawaiian boiled peanuts differ in the way the boiling water is seasoned – with Hawaiian sea salt, star anise, ginger and black peppercorns.
Panadillas or Empanadas
Panadillas are a Puerto Rican dish that made its way to Hawaii with sugar cane plantation laborers starting to arrive to Hawaii in 1900. Traditionally, Panadilla is made with cilantro, beef, garlic, and onions and wrapped in a crusty dough that is deep-fried. Nowadays in Hawaii you will most ofen find its Argentinian variation called Empanada. Empanadas became popular Hawaiian food staples. They are sold in restaurants, on roadside stands, small mom and pop stores, deli stands, food trucks and farmer’s markets.
Visiting Hawaii is a glorious experience and usually a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. Make sure you bring your appetite to Hawaii as there are many unique foods you can try in Hawaii that are unlike other areas of the world.
Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.