Authentic Hawaiian Appetizers

Bringing the Hawaiian vibe to your party begins with serving authentic Hawaiian appetizers. Make sure you’ve got the stuff to treat your guests to that sweet and tangy flavor combo that everyone loves about Hawaiian food!

Authentic Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce

Go-To Authentic Hawaiian Appetizers

When it is all as obsession-worthy as these apps, it’s hard to pick your favorite. Here’s a handful of our top picks for authentic Hawaiian appetizers.

Ahi Poke

It doesn’t get more authentic than ahi poke, which is the Hawaiian version of Tuna Tartar. Poke (pronounced poe-kay) means to slice or cut. You need fresh cuts of yellowfin tuna, so don’t even think about using canned. This dish is cubed and raw ahi tuna gets marinated and served in a sauce. The sauce is usually a combination of soy sauce and sesame oil with onions, sugar, chili pepper, alaea (Hawaiian sea salt), garlic, and fresh ginger. Serve on seaweed or lettuce cups with fried wontons. If you don’t think your guests are adventurous raw seafood lovers, then try the Grilled ahi & avocado poke.  

Grilled Curried Pineapple

Grill up some native fruit from the islands… pineapple! Slice the pineapple into rings and place on a grill or coals of medium heat. Brush on a butter/margarine mixture including curry powder and brown sugar. These are best served warm with plain yogurt and toasted coconut. You can also, of course, slather or dip these into any number of sweet and tangy sauces.

Coconut Shrimp

There are various ways of preparing coconut shrimp- a real crowd pleaser! The most authentic option is homemade. It’s an easy three-step process: Dunk the small shrimp into flour, then in a beaten egg, and then a hefty coating of a coconut and breadcrumb mixture (more coconut than breadcrumb). For a crispier taste, try Panko instead of regular breadcrumbs. Once battered, these can be fried or baked. Serve with a sweet chili dipping sauce made with a fruity base like orange, mango, or apricot.

Craving something meatier and more familiar? Look into other recipe ideas using our Hawaiian BBQ sauce and Teriyaki sauce. These ideas blend American favorites like chicken wings, kabobs, and sliders with authentic Hawaiian sauces. For even more ideas, check out these Hawaiian Luau Tiki hors d’oeuvres.

Where to Serve Authentic Hawaiian Appetizers

Serving authentic Hawaiian appetizers will surely liven up any party scene. To be more authentically Hawaiian, these appetizers are should be served in a casual setting where guests can hang loose. You’ll be using your fingers and dipping in sauces a lot, so don’t wear anything too fancy and leave the expensive dishware for another time.

Don’t have an event in mind, but you are dying to throw an authentic Hawaiian party? Here are some ideas on where to serve authentic Hawaiian appetizers:

Outdoor Birthday Party

Summer Kick-Off Party

Graduation Party

Promotion Party

Retirement Party

Welcome Home Party

Bon Voyage Party

Beach Wedding

Destination Wedding

Family Reunion

Class Reunion

Backyard Luau BBQ

Plan your Party in Hawaiian-Style

Creating a Hawaiian-style party isn’t all about serving authentic Hawaiian appetizers (although it does help). Hosts and party planners approach decorating for such a party in one of two ways: What mainland Americans like to think is Hawaiian or What is actually authentic Hawaiian style.

Authentic Hawaiian appetizers

Mainland Americanized Hawaiian party

The kitschy Americanized-Hawaiian stuff is best for lighthearted themed events with a young crowd (or young at heart). Because mainland Americans love Hawaiian themed parties, these items are usually cheap, disposable, and easily found at dollar stores. At these parties, the entertainment is usually hula hooping and limbo contests by the guests. While that is fun and cheap to organize, this is not authentic Hawaiian.

Authentic Hawaiian themed party

The more traditional Hawaiian decorations are a better choice for a wedding or retirement party. Because these items are more authentic and often handmade and natural, they might be harder to find and more expensive. For starters, you could collect items like shells and sand from the beach and buy fresh tropical fruits and flowers. You’ll want to put up some bucks for the authentic Hawaiian live entertainment though. Search the Internet to find wood carvers and amateur hula dancers in your area.

Both styles are fun, crowd pleasers, and work well with your authentic Hawaiian appetizers. However, make sure your food, decorations, and entertainment are consistent with the approach you choose.

Here’s some must have decorations for your Hawaiian-style party:

Americanized-Hawaiian VS. Authentic Hawaiian

Plastic and silk flowered leis

Plastic shell necklaces and fake shells

Plastic/Paper coconut and pineapple dishes

Cardboard Cutouts of Hula dancers

Plastic Toy Ukuleles

Citronella candle torches

Tiki Bars

Hay colored plastic grass skirts

Fire Pits

Real flowered leis (or lifelike silk ones)

Real shell necklaces and real shells

Bowls/Cups made of actual coconut & pineapple

Actual hula dancers

Acoustic Ukuleles

Tiki Torches on bamboo posts

Wood carved Tiki/ Totem Poles

Grass skirts made of natural fibers

Pig Roast

Get it Right with Authentic Hawaiian Appetizers

Whether you choose kitschy or authentic party decor, make sure your apps are authentically Hawaiian. The Hula Restaurant and Sauce Company guarantees that authentic Hawaiian flavor. If you’re in the Cape May, NJ area, The Hula Restaurant offers catering bringing those authentic Hawaiian appetizers to your party. Spare yourself the trouble so you can focus on the fun part!

If you’re set on making your own authentic Hawaiian appetizers and food, make sure you get the right ingredients. Order Hula Sauces to get that authentic Hawaiian flavor going. It all starts with using the right sauce (and lots of it), so you can party like a happy islander on a summer night!