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16 Jul 2019
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Hawaiian Culture

Residents of the Garden Island love to indulge in and share their favorite foods whenever they can. While visiting Kauai, be sure to try out a few local favorites including poke, sashimi and shave ice. These delicious offerings display the best of Hawaii's natural bounty as well as giving you a taste of Kauai's multi-cultural history.


This amazing dish put Hawaiian cuisine in the spotlight! Poke is considered a light food that is usually eaten as an appetizer. The fish of choice used in authentic poke is yellowfin tuna, known locally as ahi. However, it is common to find poke made with tako (octopus) or other species of tuna, as well as other locally caught, firm-fleshed fish. Poke is typically made with chopped onion, soy sauce, sea salt, seaweed and garlic. These seasonings add flavor to the dish while keeping it light, making poke a perfect before-meal snack!

While in Kauai, be sure to try an interesting variation of poke at The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant. The Dolphin's famous Tahitian Poke features a creamy coconut-lemongrass sauce and is finished with a spiced grape seed oil. Served over organic greens, this dish is sure to set your taste buds on vacation mode. After tasting this poke, it's easy to see why it's one of Kauai's favorite foods!


Sashimi, another of Kauai's favorite foods, is a very simple yet flavorful Hawaiian favorite of Japanese origin. Made from raw fish that is sliced and served with minimal seasoning, sashimi allows the incredible flavor of Hawaii's bountiful seafood to shine through.

While many types of fish are served this way, salmon and tuna are the most popular. Sashimi is typically served with simple accompaniments such as daikon and shiso. Daikon, a mild member of the radish family, has a tangy taste and crisp, juicy texture that contrasts nicely with the sliced fish. Shiso, also known as Japanese basil, has a spicier and sweeter taste than its European counterpart. In Kauai cuisine, this vibrant member of the mint family is often used to accompany fish, meat and vegetables.

Shave Ice

Many first-time visitors to Kauai confuse shave ice with its close cousin, the snow cone. However, as any shave ice aficionado can tell you, their textures are very different. Shave ice has a fluffy texture, like real snow, contrasting to snow cones that have a crunchy, coarser texture.
Once the shave ice is piled high, customers choose from a huge variety of syrups in tropical flavors which are drizzled over the top. Many combinations of flavors are finished with a splash of sweetened condensed milk as well. This sweet, creamy and frosty mix creates a frozen treat that is perfect for Enjoying on a warm, sunny day at the beach on Kauai.

Come Taste Kauai's Favorite Foods!

Enjoying Kauai's unique and flavorful foods is a major component of immersing yourself in Hawaiian culture! Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals today to book your next vacation. We can direct you to the best poke, sashimi and shave ice on the Garden Island!