Hawaiian cuisine is a blend of ingredients and cultures. The Hawaiian islands were first home to indigenous Polynesians. When they settled on the islands, they ate what was available to them, which consisted mainly of sweet potatoes, pork, and seafood. As time went on, immigrants from Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Portugal, and other countries came to the islands, bringing their gastronomic sensibilities. In fact, Spam is one of Hawaii’s most beloved foods because American service members introduced it to locals during WWII. When you combine all of these influences, you get something unique and incredibly delicious.
These three recipes are signature dishes of Hawaii, and you can easily prepare them in the comfort of your kitchen:
- Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
- Spam Musubi
- Kalua Pork
Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl
Poke is Hawaii’s version of Japanese sashimi — or raw fish. Depending on the portion size, you can serve it as a side dish or an entree. There are many types of fish you can use for poke, but ahi tuna is the classic Hawaiian choice. Once it’s ready, take a plate out on your outdoor patio and enjoy a Hawaiian-style dinner!
- 1 pound fresh ahi tuna
- 2 tablespoons Japanese mayo
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Aloha™ soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 pinch Hawaiian salt
- ½ cup green onion
- ¼ cup sweet onion
- 1 avocado
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 cups cooked brown or white rice (optional)
- Cut the ahi into half-inch cubes. Dice the sweet and green onions. Cut the avocado into slices. Throw everything into a large bowl.
- Add sesame oil, soy sauce, mayo, sriracha, lime juice, and salt into the bowl. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon
- Once the ingredients are combined, you can eat it immediately or refrigerate it for about an hour to let all the flavors soak up.
- Serve over a bed of rice for a bowl or enjoy it by itself!
Spam musubi is a tasty Hawaiian treat found in restaurants and even convenience stores throughout the islands. Best of all, it’s easy to make! The main ingredients are rice, seaweed, soy sauce, and — you guessed it — Spam.
- 3 cups cooked short-grain rice
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 can (12 oz) Spam
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup sugar
- 10 sheets of nori seaweed
- Put soy sauce and sugar into a small bowl. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- Take Spam out of the can and cut into 10 slices. Don’t discard the can.
- Heat canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Put the Spam slices into the pan and cook each side for 1-2 minutes or until slightly crisp.
- Pour the soy sauce/sugar mixture over the Spam slices. Cook until the liquid is absorbed. Then, remove the slices from the pan.
- Get a sheet of nori. Ensure its width is similar to the Spam can’s length.
- Carefully cut the bottom off of the Spam can to use as a mold for the rice. Place the can in the center of the nori sheet.
- Scoop about ⅔ cup of cooked rice into the can. Pack the rice down tightly to create a rice block. Pull the can away and set it aside.
- Place a cooked Spam slice on top of the rice block.
- Fold one end of the nori sheet over the Spam slice and then fold the other side over to create a wrap. Moisten the edge of the sheet with water to seal.
- Repeat steps 5–9 until you run out of Spam slices.
When you think of a luau, the image of a whole pig roasting over a smoky pit might come to mind. This is the traditional way of cooking kalua pork, one of Hawaii’s signature dishes. If you have a slow cooker, you can easily mimic the taste of authentic kalua pork using only three ingredients!
- 4–5 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt
- 1 tablespoon alaea sea salt
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- Rub the salt all over the pork and place it into the slow cooker.
- Take a fork and pierce the pork multiple times so it can soak up all the flavors.
- Pour liquid smoke over the pork.
- Cover the slow cooker. Set on low heat and cook for about 7–8 hours.
- Once done, use two forks to shred the pork.
- Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!
This is the second post in the series called USA Kitchen Tour, where you can get a taste of America’s best recipes without leaving your home! Stay tuned for our other posts for more recipes:
Which recipe are you going to try? We want to hear from you in the comments!