Local Foods You Have To Try On the Big Island of Hawaii

Chocolate and Coffee

I’m combining these two due to the delectable combination of flavors they create together. Chocolate is one of Hawaii’s best exports, thanks to the tropical climate that creates perfect growing conditions. Hawaiian chocolate is produced with 100% locally sourced ingredients and thrives in the rich volcanic soil. Featured in many farms on South Kona, you can even do a tour on the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Farm in South Kona. The high cacao flavor paired with a cup of coffee in the morning gives a jumpstart to your day.

Kona Coffee is frequently applauded for its full-bodied and earthy flavor. You’ll find a wide variety of coffee on the Big Island but one thing to look out for is “Kona Blends.” For true Kona Coffee, keep an eye out for “100% Kona Coffee.” Kona Coffee can be sold in blends carrying as little as 10% Kona beans so you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal. It comes with a premium price but it is well worth it. Since Kona coffee is selectively hand-picked most of the farms are family-owned. You’ll taste the time and effort put into the selection.

kona drip coffee

Tours and tastings are available all over the Big Island. Most of these tours will be organized around the orchard to showcase the growing coffee. All the farms are located along the Kona Coffee “belt,” a small region with roughly 800 farms on the Kona coast.

map of kona coffee belt

Lomi-Lomi Salmon

Another Hawaiian food staple with a long history. This dish was being served as early as the 1700s. Today it is almost always served with true Hawaiian lunches and dinners. Typically served by combining salted salmon, tomatoes, onions, and green onions. It is very similar to the Mexican dish of Ceviche – a type of seafood salad. The name comes from the Hawaiian word for massage. This is due to the act of gently kneading or mixing the salmon together with the various ingredients.

lomi lomi salmon on big island hawaii

Lau Lau

This dish, when prepared properly, gives an incredible flavor and texture due to the cooking technique. Lau Lau is made by wrapping pork and butterfish in lu’au and ti leaves and steaming it with rice. Served in a convenient little packet, unwrap the leaves to find the freshly steamed ingredients inside. The meat retains its flavors and draws on the herbal influences of the leaves. The leaves soak in much of the flavor from the meat as well, making them a great finishing accent to the dish.

lau lau on big island hawaii



Consider this a type of coconut pudding. Often served in an intriguing little white square, this dessert caps off any traditional Hawaiian meal. It isn’t a pudding; however, it’s more like a cute, white, coconut jello cube. The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai goes so far as to put it on top of pancakes! I highly recommend mixing it with fresh fruit to create something like a coconut fruit salad. It’s so refreshing on the beach. You’ll find it served at most bakeries and traditional Hawaiian restaurants.

haupia coconut fruit salad

Let’s Chat

Give me a call at 808.938.3910 or email me if you are interested in learning more about local foods in Hawaii or anything in general about life on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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July 21, 2022

Awesome blog Lovette, thank you for the yummy information😋


July 25, 2022

Glad you liked it Satori !

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