Which Hawaiian Food Trend Should We Be Following Next

Because we'd quite like to know what we'll be eating post-poke bowl

Hawaiian Food Trend

by Lizzy Dening |
Published on

Poke bowls are still having a moment in the UK, but they’ve been a staple of the Hawaiian diet for hundreds of years. If you’re not all that familiar with this particular food trend though, a poke bowl is basically the super healthy raw fish dish that has been popping up on your Instagram feed of late.

In a bid to find out what other treats the islands might have up their sleeves, I (selflessly) journeyed over to Hawaii in search of the next great foodie trends that we can learn from/obsess over in the months to come. Say aloha to Hula Pie, shave ice and guava juice…

For the nutritiously smug:

Macadamia nuts


The Hawaiians are nuts about their native macadamias, and use them for pretty much everything. From acai bowl toppings and handbag snacks (garlic flavour FTW) to pesto ingredients and as a crusty topping for baked fish. As macadamias are packed with Vitamin A, iron, protein and traces of minerals including zinc and magnesium, and taste just as nice in savoury dishes as coated in chocolate or crushed into ice cream, it seems they could be in the running to steal almond’s crown as ‘nut of the moment.’ You heard it here first.

Guava juice

It’s pink, it’s sweet and it’s the perfect breakfast time hang-over cure if you ask me. Fresh guava is packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants that promise to make your skin glow. Plus its gorgeous colour makes it perfect for Instagram.

Li hing powder

This vibrant red powder, made from ground pickled plum skin, adds a slightly strange sweet/sour/salty tang to sweets and fresh fruits. It’s particularly yummy on chopped pineapple, or used around the rim of a margarita glass – it’s definitely one for fans of Haribo Tangfastics. A little goes a long way, so it’s quite low in calories and actually boasts quite a lot of Vitamin C and small doses of iron and calcium. Sadly my attempts to track it down now we’re back at home have failed… We might have to book another trip purely to stock up.


Ok, so it didn’t originate in Hawaii, but this lightly fizzy and gut-boosting fermented drink is super popular among the islands’ hippy communities. Kombucha bars are a great alternative to boozy nights out, and we sampled all sorts of colourful flavours – from ginger and turmeric to beetroot and apple. Cheaper than a pint, and you can drive home afterwards. Plus your gut bacteria will thank you. There are various London venues which stock it, including Nama in Notting Hill but if you’re not based in the capital you can order bottles online from Equinox Kombucha.

Not so healthy but tastes so damn good:

Hula pie

Imagine a cross between a cheesecake and an ice cream, slathered in chocolate sauce. Sounds good, right? I defy anyone who finds a more joyous (or calorific) dessert than hula pie – a cookie crumb base, topped with an ice cream centre, covered in whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Two of us struggled (bravely I might add) to finish one piece between us. Flavours include vanilla, cookie dough or mint and they are all winners… until you need to stand up. Make your own with this recipe (maybe change into looser trousers first).

Rainbow shaved ice

Hawaiians love shave ice, which is, as it sounds, a heap of shaved ice covered in various fruit-flavoured syrups. Basically, a giant ice lolly that you eat with a spoon. King of all the ices – and social media – is the rainbow shave ice, featuring stripes of different colours and flavours. It’s essentially a Mr Frosty for grown-ups. ‘Ice-cap’ it with condensed milk for an added treat, and prepare for a) brain-freeze and b) an intense sugar rush. Living in the North West? Check out the Shaka Shack.

Not in a rush to try...


So it turns out that Spam is a thing in Hawaii. Yup, your grandma’s favourite war-time luxury is insanely popular on the islands, for reasons I can’t entirely fathom. You can pick it up anywhere, even in McDonald’s. Want it scrambled up with eggs for breakfast or slid into a cheese sandwich? I didn’t think so, although either might be preferable to the weird Hawaiian-Asian mash-up of Spam sushi. Yeah, really. That's a thing too.

Loco moco

A comfort food favourite for many locals, the literal translation of loco moco is ‘crazy bogeys’. It’s a plate of rice, topped with a hamburger patty and a fried egg, and coated in gravy. You’re meant to mush the whole lot around the plate until it looks like snot which doesn’t take long to achieve. My fiancé assured me it’s delicious, but funnily enough I decided to pass…


Don’t be fooled by the name. You're probably thinking ‘oh yes, cava, how lovely – nice sparkly wine…’ but Kava could not be more different. And okay, I know it has ceremonial significance to Samoans, but… let's just say it really didn't tickle my taste buds. Grey, pond-watery and intensely bitter, watching my partner drink a coconut shell full of the stuff brought to mind the scene in Harry Potter where Dumbledore has to consume the ‘drink of despair’ to find a horcrux. “Kill…me…”

Like this? You might also be interested in…

What Is A Poke Bowl And How Do I Make One?

From Bliss ToBuddah, These Are The Best Food Bowls On Pinterest

How To Make A Banging Breakfast Banquet For Your Mates This Weekend

Follow Lizzy on Twitter @LizzyDening

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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