Besides the tropical weather, beaches, and other island sceneries, Hawaii is loved for its delicious food, consisting of fresh treats and tangy flavors. Indeed, you will be filled with new tastes and experiences when you dig into Hawaiian cuisine.
But if you don’t have a ticket to Hawaii, that doesn’t mean you can’t taste it. Arrange your luau party and prepare these 13 incredible Hawaiian side dishes! It’s got all the crucial and delicious flavors on point, and rest assured, your guests will be back for more!
Did you know macaroni salad is a popular side dish in Hawaii? This creamy, tangy, and refreshing treat is shortly known as mac salad and is a regular part of the island’s “plate lunch”, which also consists of rice and a meat dish. It is even used to soak up meat juices or gravy! To make this salad, you’ll need macaroni, mayo, onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper.
This Hawaiian potato salad recipe is much similar to the mac salad one; it even has macaroni! It’s also creamy and tangy. However, this one stands out because it packs more carbs and has both potatoes and pasta in one bowl! The boiled potatoes’ flavors and textures go well with the pasta, hard-boiled eggs, celery, garlic, sweet relish, vinegar, mayo, onions, peas, and carrots.
Coleslaw is a popular side dish worldwide, so it’s no surprise that many cultures and places have their own variant. Hawaii is no exception, and its coleslaw is wonderfully unique. Besides the usual cabbage strips, you also get pineapples, carrots, and sesame seeds. What’s more, everything is tossed in a ginger-soy lime vinaigrette instead of a creamy mayo dressing for a novel complex of savory and tangy flavors.
One of the unique Hawaiian side dishes is lomi lomi salmon. It may look bizarre to some, mainly because the salted salmon is made from fresh or raw fish and isn’t cooked at any point in the recipe. However, you’ll appreciate the fantastic combination of fresh fish flavors, sweet tomatoes, and onions once you get past that fact. It’s a must-try, so ensure your luau has this!
5. Ahi Poke
Ahi poke is a versatile dish – you can have it as an appetizer, main course, side dish, or with rice! Like lomi lomi salmon, it’s made from fresh or raw fish, specifically Ahi tuna steaks. However, some poke recipes use octopus, crab, and other seafood. Besides the fish, you’ll need sweet Maui onions, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile-garlic sauce, and sesame seeds.
6. Lau Lau
Like the Greeks, Mexicans, and Asians, Hawaiians also love to stuff leaves and make unique dishes through that. They use two kinds of leaves in particular: luau and ti. These cleaned leaves are packed with cubes of pork butt, butterfish or black cod, carrots, and purple Okinawan sweet potatoes. The leaf bundles are then steamed; once cooked, you can serve this with rice or poi!
Fried rice recipes upgrade plain rice or recycle day-old ones. It incorporates a lot of flavors, and this recipe, in particular, imbibes the grains with savory, sweet, meaty, and refreshing tastes. That’s because you’ll combine the rice with many condiments, spices, seasonings, spam, and eggs. For a fun and aesthetic experience, the final dish is served in a hollowed-out pineapple!
Hawaiian luau rice shares a lot of similarities with pineapple fried rice. However, there are differences in the ingredients used that lead to significantly different flavor profiles. For instance, this recipe incorporates a coconut taste by including coconut oil and desiccated coconut. There’s ginger, which provides a subtle, sweet flavor. There are also fewer condiments, like oyster sauce or soy sauce, so this luau rice is less savory.
Ironically, chicken long rice isn’t a rice dish. Instead, it’s made with thin and transparent long noodles, and many say that trying to keep them from slipping off their utensils is part of the experience. But even so, many love this dish for its incredible flavors and satisfying warmth. It has chicken broth, shoyu, ginger, garlic, sugar, and green onions. There’s also actual chicken meat!
Many American households have dinner rolls as an essential part of their dinner table, and Hawaiians don’t skip that trend. Like most of their dishes, their bread rolls are distinctly yet lightly sweetened, making them complementary to many things. They’re also soft and fluffy, great for sopping up savory juices and gravy or filling with meaty treats like kalua pork.
Baked beans are a fantastic side dish because you can have them for breakfast, dinner, or lunch! But maybe you haven’t tried this Hawaiian-style rendition. Like other baked beans, it’s creamy, tender, and saucy, but it stands out because it has pineapples and smoked ham! These two unique additions, along with the butter, onions, barbecue sauce, mustard, and black pepper, provide great flavor to the beans.
A platter of these juicy, delicious Hawaiian chicken kabobs will excite kids and adults alike. It often serves as an entree, but you can use it as a side dish to other more flavorful dishes. It’s made by skewering marinated chicken with pineapple, bell peppers, and onions, then grilling for a smoky taste. This recipe is excellent if you’re having a BBQ party!
Did you know that meatballs drenched in a sweet and sour sauce make a great appetizer or side dish? They do, and you can test that out by following this recipe and serving the meatballs for your luau! It’s effortless, as you only need three ingredients: meatballs, barbecue sauce, and pineapples. If you’re out of time, get all three ready-made or canned at the store.