When you visit Hawaii, you'll be immersed in a rich culinary landscape that will make your mouth water. The islands’ unique flavors are born from a combination of native and immigrant cultures, among which Asian influences have a strong presence. Because of this history, Japanese foods feature prominently on the list of local dishes to try in Hawaii.
5 Local & Japanese Foods You Can’t Miss in Hawaii
1. Long Rice
Long rice isn't rice at all, but a dish made with glass noodles. They are usually simmered in chicken broth, giving them a rich golden color and savory flavor, and served with pieces of chicken and vegetables.
Because Hawaii has such excellent fishing opportunities, the sushi is among the freshest available. Enjoy traditional nigiri and sashimi preparations in addition to modern fusions with seared fish, tempura chips, and dollops of sauce.
3. Spam Musubi
For a more casual lunch or snack, try musubi, Japanese rice balls wrapped up in nori that come with a range of toppings and fillings. Locals adore the type topped with a slice of fried spam, which is why you’ll find it in convenience stores and bento places across the islands.
If you're feeling like fried food, tempura is the way to go. Almost anything can be battered and fried, but some of the most common choices are shrimp, eggplants, carrots, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms.
If you're looking for traditional Japanese food, try nishime. This traditional stew starts with a base of simmered vegetables and often includes chunks of chicken or pork. It's widely considered comfort food.
For a blend of Japanese, Hawaiian, and Chinese food unique to Hawaii, visit the Kawamoto Store in Hilo. Serving the Big Island for over 70 years, their selection includes traditional Japanese foods like sushi alongside distinctly local dishes like spam musubi. To ask about daily specials, call (808) 935-8209. You can also preview their menu online or on Facebook.