Hawaii is known for its fun, delicious, and vibrant food.
A lot of it has influences from other cultures and this is because Hawaii itself is a place that is home to a variety of different cultures, such as Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, and Polynesia.
This is why many of their dishes have this multicultural feel to them. Experience the wonderful islands of Hawaii in your home, by creating some of their best appetizers yourself!
This article will be providing you with 14 delicious Hawaiian appetizers that you can try out yourself at home.
These bacon-wrapped pineapple bites are a party favorite that your guests won’t be able to get enough of.
Juicy chunks of pineapple are wrapped in bacon and basted with a sweet and spicy oriental sauce, before being baked to crispy perfection.
They are super easy to whip up, and incredibly delicious.
This Hawaiian salsa is refreshing, tangy, and crunchy, and looks even better when served in a pineapple bowl!
Simply scoop out the insides of the pineapple, and chop it up along with orange and red pepper, red onion, and cilantro. Mix together with lime juice, lime zest, and some salt, and lay it out on your empty pineapples!
This salsa is bursting with flavor and tastes delicious with some tortilla chips, or as a side to steak or seafood.
Hawaiian fried rice is the perfect appetizer or side dish for a variety of meals. Rice is fried with any chopped-up veggies of your choice, making it a very nutritious dish.
This recipe also adds in some chunks of ham and pineapple (duh, it’s Hawaii). Altogether it is cooked in some soy sauce which elevates the flavor.
This chicken dish is Japanese -inspired and is a favorite island recipe. The chicken is marinated in a delicious sauce that contains onion, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, pepper, and brown sugar.
For this recipe, a whole chicken is used, but it can also be made with individual chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Poke is a very popular fish dish in Hawaii, and this one can be made as an appetizer for you and your guests to share.
You must ensure that you purchase sushi-style tuna, in order to make this as authentic as possible. The chunks of fish are marinated in a similar sauce to the recipe above and left to sit for around an hour.
This dish is served with some steamed rice.
This flavorsome appetizer is made with tomatoes, onions, scallions, and fresh salmon. It is served cold, making it a wonderful dish for the warm, summer months.
The ingredients are all mixed together and then left in the fridge for around an hour to 12 hours before serving.
It is served ice-cold, along with a variety of other small Hawaiian dishes.
This wonderful appetizer consists of spicy little tuna bites. They are made with fried sushi rice and some spicy mayonnaise is added to them.
The avocado slices are added as a garnish, but they balance out the spicy, flavor and crispy texture perfectly!
These Hawaiian meatball skewers are perfect for grilling and make a great appetizer, side dish, or even main meal!
The ground beef used is seasoned with garlic, ginger, onion, and soy sauce, and each one is placed on a skewer along with some chunks of fresh pineapple, red onion, and peppers.
Once the skewers are cooked, brush each one with the delicious Hawaiian sauce from this recipe, and enjoy!!
9. Kamaboko Dip
This is a delicious Hawaiian dip that pairs perfectly with any crackers or tortilla chips you have on hand.
It’s made with Kamaboko, which is a Japanese fish cake, mixed with mayonnaise, cream cheese, water chestnuts, green onions, dashi powder, and salt.
The result is a salty, savory, creamy dip that has some crunch to it! This is a perfect addition to the dinner table when you’re having guests over.
10. Spam Musubi
Rice and spam are stable ingredients in every Hawaiian pantry. Spam is a form of canned ham, and ‘musubi’ means rice balls in Japanese.
Therefore, this appetizer consists of slices of spam on top of sushi rice along with some Nori seaweed.
This is a classic example of the mixing of a few cultures in one Hawaiian meal.
11. Pohole Salad
This salad is the perfect appetizer for any occasion. Polehole is a plant that is grown in Maui, Hawaii, most common in the rainforests in the East.
The salad is made by combining this fern plant, along with sweet onion, Roma tomatoes, dried cuttlefish, dried shrimp, and Shoyu.
All ingredients are chopped and added together, and a dressing made with sesame oil, cougar, rice wine vinegar, and shoyu is added to complete the dish.
This is a very light and flavorful dish that will add color and vibrancy to your dinner table.
This is a very popular appetizer that is sold in food trucks all over Hawaii. The shrimp are cooked in a delicious garlic butter sauce that is made with fresh garlic, paprika, flour, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The result is a very rich flavor from the shrimp, and before you know it, you’ll have finished the entire plate.
This is a perfect Hawaiian appetizer, that is very easy to make and pairs well with a variety of other dishes.
13. Coconut Shrimp
Instead of having shrimp cooked in a butter sauce, this recipe gives your shrimp a coconut flavor.
The shrimp is coated in Panko breadcrumbs and shreds of coconut before being fried until they are crispy and golden brown in color.
They are then served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce that compliments the coconut and crunchiness very well.
14. Pork Hash
Pork Hash is the Hawaiian version of the Chinese dumplings, Siumai. They are made from ground pork and shrimp, along with seasonings, and wrapped in a dumpling wrapper.
This a very delicious and popular appetizer in Hawaii, and you can create them in your own kitchen by following the recipe above!
In summary, Hawaii is known for its delicious and vibrant food and consists of a blend of several different cultures, such as Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Polynesian.
This is evident in the different kinds of foods they offer, as is seen in this list.
This article has consisted of 14 different kinds of appetizers that are commonly served in Hawaii.
From cold, refreshing dishes, to warm and savory appetizers, there’s something on this list for everyone to enjoy.
We hope this article has given you some inspiration to create some of these exotic appetizers, so you don’t need to travel to the island of Hawaii to try their delicious food.
All of these recipes are easy to follow, and all appetizers are very simple to recreate!
Frequently Asked Questions
Hawaiian appetizers are normally referred to as ‘Pupu’. They refer to bite-sized appetizers that are served on holidays as well as at restaurants and bars.
Many of them tap into a range of different flavors with inspiration from different cultures, such as American, Japanese, Filipino, and Polynesian.
Hawaii is best known for its Poke, which is a raw seafood dish that normally contains fish, rice, spices, and a certain sauce.
This dish is now available in all parts of the world and has become very popular. However, no place does it quite as Hawaii does.
The national dish in Hawaii is Saimin. This dish is a soup that contains thin noodles and a dashi broth and also contains shrimp, pork, and eggs.
It is known as a mix of Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese influences, and it is regularly eaten with chopsticks.
The food in Hawaii is generally known as being relatively healthy. A lot of it consists of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and different sources of protein.
This, coupled with the slowed-down, low-stress lifestyle that many in Hawaii experience, make Hawaiians some of the healthiest people in the world.
They also have access to very fresh food, especially when it comes to their fruits!