Authentic Hawaiian Food Ideas for Your Home and Family

To introduce your family to authentic Hawaiian food, you don’t have to fly all the way to the Island. Here’s some easy to make authentic Hawaiian food ideas to bring the flavors of Hawaii into your very own kitchen!

authentic hawaiian food ideas

Make a Salad: Authentic Hawaiian Food Ideas 

What makes Hawaiian starter dishes and sides truly authentic is the raw seafood. Two popular dishes featuring these authentic ingredients are Lomilomi and Poke (pronounced Poh Kah).

Salmon Lomilomi is a massaged piece of raw salmon that is cut into chunks and made into salsa with diced tomatoes and onions.

Poke comes in a variety of forms using different types of chunked raw fish. The most common is ahi (tuna) with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Another leading ingredient in authentic Hawaiian salads is mayonnaise. Perhaps the idea of raw seafood and gobs of mayonnaise doesn’t sound so appealing to your little ones. Don’t give up on authentic Hawaiian food ideas yet. Keep reading for a Hawaiian salad idea that is more likely to satisfy your home.

Mainland Twist to Authentic Hawaiian Food Ideas

Getting your kids to eat salad might normally be a challenge in your household, but a hint of Hawaiian sweetness could work wonders! Here’s a Hawaiian-style salad that has enough kid friendly ingredients to win over the younger half of your household.

To make a Hawaiian-style salad for a family of six, you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup of pineapple chunks drained with a side of 1 tablespoon of the juice
  • 6 to 8 cups of salad greens
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • A bottle of Hula Sauces House Dressing

What to do: Combine the greens, pineapple and cheese in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sugar and pineapple juice. Pour over salad and drizzle the Hula Sauces House Dressing over the plate to tie in all of the Hawaiian flavors.

Possible extras to add: grilled chicken (shredded or cubed), crushed macadamia nuts, papaya or mango.

authentic hawaiian food ideas with fruit

Make an Entrée: Authentic Hawaiian Food Ideas      

You will need quality cut meats and flavorful sauces for all of these authentic Hawaiian food ideas. Meats are most commonly slow roasted and smoked then slathered in sweet and tangy sauces. Kalua Pig is one of the most famous pork dishes among Hawaiian cuisine.

Kalua Pig is cooked in an underground oven (known as an imu). The word ‘kalua’ literally means “cooked in an underground oven.” The pork cooks slowly becoming very tender while gaining a smoky flavor.

For mainland American families, cooking on an imu could be tricky, but there’s a good alternative to get the taste of Kalua pig at your home…with a crockpot!

Mainland Twist for this Authentic Hawaiian Food Idea

Perhaps the only meats your kids will eat are the likes of chicken fingers, burgers, and hot dogs. Have them try this Slow Cooker Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork. It’s a good intro dish to pork with lots of tenderness and sweet sauces.

To make this Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork for a family of six, you’ll need:

  • 1 (3 lb) pork shoulder or butt roast
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the rub
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple rings, juice reserved
  • 1 cup of Hula Sauces Hawaiian Style Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional, but this is what will give more of a smoky flavor)

What to do: Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Rub your roast with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and set it in the crockpot. Mix brown sugar, the pineapple juice from the can, BBQ sauce, and optional liquid smoke in a bowl. Then pour over the roast inside the crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Once it’s cooked, flavored, and tender, shred the meat using two forks, pulling the pieces apart. This should be easy due to the tenderness. Top with a pineapple ring and serve with a roll.

Possible extras to add: Serve with King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (or any roll)

authentic hawaiian food ideas for your family

Authentic Hawaiian Desserts

For Hawaiians, dessert isn’t chocolate lava cakes or gooey chocolate peanut butter cookies that so many of us love and crave. Desserts in Hawaii have subtle sweetness and lots of fresh fruit like an Ambrosia salad. Despite being called a salad, this is a dessert. Because fresh fruit is plentiful and delicious in Hawaii, this amped up fruit salad is especially popular.

Mainland Twist to Authentic Hawaiian Dessert         

With all the gooey goodness of this Ambrosia salad, I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting your kids to eat it. You can alter this recipe to better suit the favorites in your household. For example, substitute one fruit for another or just do without one if you don’t like it. Also, sour cream can be substituted with plain or flavored yogurt.

Here’s a great authentic Hawaiian Ambrosia Salad Recipe.


  • 2-3 bananas
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 1 can (15 ounce) or 2½ cups pineapple chunks, drained if using can
  • 8-10 fresh lychee without seeds
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub of cool whip
  • 1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
  • 4 cups mini-­marshmallows
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

What to Do: Peel and cube bananas and oranges, then add pineapple chunks and lychee. Fold in cool whip, sour cream, and marshmallows. Sprinkle coconut and powdered sugar on top. Put in refrigerator for a few hours to chill before serving.

authentic hawaiian food ideas for kids

Put Your Own Spin on our Authentic Hawaiian Food Ideas

Enjoying the flavors of Hawaii might be easier when you can do it from home. Give your family a fun island experience! Let the kids decorate the table with tropical flowers, play some Hawaiian music, and finish the evening off with a limbo contest. There is no better way to build fun memories with your family!