Deutsch: Hawaii / Español: Hawái / Português: Havaí / Français: Hawaï / Italiano: Hawaii

Hawaii is a culinary term that often refers to dishes influenced by the flavours and ingredients of Hawaiian cuisine, as well as specific preparations that combine tropical elements, particularly pineapple and ham. These dishes are popular for their sweet and savoury profiles and are found in various global cuisines.


Hawaiian cuisine is a blend of native Hawaiian, Asian, and Western influences, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the islands. Traditional Hawaiian food includes dishes such as poke, a raw fish salad, and kalua pig, a slow-cooked pork dish. The term "Hawaii" in the food context, however, is frequently associated with dishes that incorporate pineapple and ham, inspired by the flavours of Hawaii. This association is particularly evident in popular dishes such as Hawaiian pizza, which features a topping of pineapple and ham, and "Hawaii Toast," an open-faced sandwich with ham, pineapple, and melted cheese.

Hawaiian cuisine emphasizes fresh, local ingredients like seafood, tropical fruits, and vegetables. Staples include taro, used to make poi, a traditional starchy dish, and seafood such as ahi tuna. The cuisine also reflects the influence of the many cultures that have migrated to Hawaii over the centuries, including Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and Portuguese, resulting in a rich and diverse culinary tradition.

Application Areas

  1. Restaurants and Fast Food: Many restaurants, especially those serving pizzas and sandwiches, offer "Hawaiian" versions of their dishes that include pineapple and ham.
  2. Home Cooking: Recipes for dishes like Hawaiian pizza and Hawaii Toast are popular for home cooks seeking to recreate the tropical flavours of the islands.
  3. Catering and Events: Hawaiian-themed parties often feature dishes such as luau-style pork, poke bowls, and tropical fruit salads.
  4. Supermarkets: Pre-made Hawaiian-style products, such as pizza and ready-to-eat salads, are common in grocery stores.

Well-Known Examples

  • Hawaiian Pizza: A pizza topped with pineapple, ham, and often additional ingredients like bacon and cheese.
  • Hawaii Toast: An open-faced sandwich with a base of bread, topped with ham, a ring of pineapple, and melted cheese.
  • Poke Bowls: A traditional Hawaiian dish that has gained international popularity, consisting of diced raw fish, usually ahi tuna, mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, and various other seasonings, served over rice and garnished with vegetables.
  • Loco Moco: A Hawaiian comfort food dish featuring white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy.

Treatment and Risks

While Hawaiian dishes are generally nutritious, they can also be high in calories, sodium, and sugar, depending on the ingredients and preparation methods. For example, Hawaiian pizza and Hawaii Toast often contain processed meats and cheeses, which can contribute to high levels of saturated fat and sodium. It's important to balance these indulgent dishes with healthier options and to be mindful of portion sizes.

For those with dietary restrictions or allergies, especially to pineapple or seafood, careful consideration must be taken when consuming Hawaiian-inspired dishes.

Similar Terms

  • Polynesian Cuisine: Similar to Hawaiian cuisine, it encompasses the traditional foods and culinary practices of Polynesian islands, including Samoa, Tahiti, and Fiji.
  • Tiki Cuisine: A style of cooking and cocktail making that evokes the flavours and aesthetic of Polynesian culture, popularized by tiki bars in the mid-20th century.
  • Tropical Cuisine: Broadly refers to dishes that utilize tropical fruits and flavours, not limited to Hawaiian food.


Hawaiian cuisine is a diverse and flavorful culinary tradition that blends native Hawaiian ingredients with influences from various cultures. The term "Hawaii" in the food context often denotes dishes that feature pineapple and ham, such as Hawaiian pizza and Hawaii Toast, but it also includes a wide array of traditional and modern dishes like poke bowls and loco moco. While these dishes are popular and delicious, it's important to enjoy them in moderation due to potential health concerns related to their ingredients.


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