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Feb 29, 2012 05:48 PM

Must try Hawaiian specialty foods

Greetings everyone from Vancouver Canada,

We are thrilled to be going to Maui next week. We are foodies and interested in trying (and/or buying to take home) food items that are unique to the local market. It could be just a local ingredient, a unique hawaiian producer...anything special to the area that you think we absolutely need to "try before we die" ...things we can't eat or buy at home.

So far, I am aware of shaved ice, macadamia nuts, poke, lehua honey, kona coffee and crackseeds. I'm sure there is lots more.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts...and any suggestion or where to get the best would be awesome too!

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  1. If you are on maui you have to try Manju. Not made on any of the other islands. It is an adaptation of a japanese 'pastry' with red bean or other filling. Komoda Store and Home Maid Bakery used to be the best, but I haven't been on Maui in a very long time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I second the manju. While I can't say that you absolutely need to "try before you die", another thing unique to Hawaii (well actually specific to Maui) is the dry mein at Sam Sato's. They also make their own manju as well.

    2. Hi, abondance:

      Pua'a kalua (pig baked in the imu-earth oven), poi, 100 fish and fruit you've never heard of, taro hashbrowns and chips, squid lu'au. Opihi (limpets), pa'akai (native salt), limu (seaweed), apple ma'i (banannas), boiled peanuts, loud Maui onion, blue sweetpotatoes, pineapple. Loco Moco. SPAM wasubi, chicken long rice, Huli-huli chicken, Lomilomi salmon, ika mata (fish cold-cooked in coconut milk and lime).


      PS Try Hali'imaile General Store for good grinds.

      1. Poke-raw ahi tuna with seasonings and spices including sesame, soy, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, etc.

        It's a variation of tuna tartare, so probably not technically, Hawaiian specialty, but I had never tried it until I was in Hawaii and it is everywhere there. There are tons of different varieties and it makes for a perfect light lunch or dinner. The fish is so fresh and it is very refreshing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: fldhkybnva

          Poke is indeed an indigenous food. just as many cultures prepare meat in similar manners, many cultures have preparations for raw fish. Poke, tartare, sashimi, ceviche, etc.

        2. Dry Saimin at Sam Sato's is one of our annual trip pleasures

          Sam Sato's
          1750 Wili PA Loop, Wailuku, HI 96793

          1. Lots of ideas here:

            Definitely get some Golden Glow mangoes from Yee's Orchard. They rival the mangoes I've had from India and Taiwan.