Hawaiian food, like all of the best American regional foods, is heavily influenced by the places around it, the cuisines that traveled through it, and the settlers that put down roots and made a home there. Hawaii just happens to be surrounded by and influenced by significantly different cuisines than most of the rest of America. Drawing inspiration and traditions from Japan, Korea, Portugal, the Philippines, America, China and other Polynesian islands, Hawaiian recipes never really fit into one ethnic category. Which is why we are so enamored of them.
Hawaiian cuisine, of course, boasts of the islands' unparalleled access to fresh seafood, and includes a ton of recipes where fresh, usually raw fish is prepared minimally. Then there are the Asian influences of rice, curry, sushi and steamed buns. The Portuguese brought malasadas (sweet, eggy doughnuts). The islands themselves offered up traditional means of roasting whole hogs in huge pits, steaming things in banana leaves and the ever-present taro root. And just in case we forgot that Hawaii is as American as all the other states in the union, the also make some of the best burgers, giant hangover breakfasts and Spam creations on earth. Feel like taking a quick trip to Hawaii, but can't swing the airfare? Bring Hawaii into your kitchen with some of our favorite Hawaiian recipes of all time.
(Note: this is just a tiny sampler platter of awesome dishes from Hawaii. If you live there, come from there, or visit enough to know best, let us know your favorite Hawaiian recipe in the comments!)