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Where to Find Authentic Hawaiian Food on the Big Island

If you really want to experience Hawaiian culture, then one of the best ways is to fill up on some delicious and authentic Hawaiian food.

And where best than Hawaii’s biggest island, the Big Island itself? The Big Island is full of rich, tasty food, and you can find traditional fare to suit every taste.

After centuries of invasions and additions to the food on the island, today’s Hawaiian cuisine is a huge ensemble of different influences, from the local Polynesian staples such as poi, a piece of pork wrapped in a taro leave, to the haute cuisine of some of the island’s best chefs, whose dishes can include Hukilau pie and sumptuous seafood.

Most people living on the island eat fish, rice and tofu, while occasionally treating themselves to guava-smoked lamb and Pahua corn cakes. Locals often snack on local chocolate, macadamia nuts, the healthiest nuts in the world, and consume locally produced beer and coffee. But if you want to sample an authentic Hawaiian meal cooked for you, then here are the best places:


For simple and authentic Hawaiian food head to Umeke’s.

The menu may be a little small, but the restaurant offers all of the “best bits” of authentic Hawaiian food. Try the poke (a raw fish salad) or the fresh grilled Mahi Mahi and sit on the outside patio tables for a real “hole in the wall” Hawaiian experience.

Da Poke Shack

The clue is in the name…this is da place to go for the ultimate poke.

Everything in this small restaurant is straight from the sea and onto your plate, which means everything tastes deliciously fresh. But be warned, the restaurant can run out of fresh fish, so make sure you head there early in the day.

Cafe 100

For a slice of Hawaiian comfort food head to the staple Cafe 100.

The well-established cafe offers large portions at reasonable prices. One of their specialities is Big Island dish Loco Moco – a ton of rice topped with a hamburger and fried egg! You can also sample Kalua pork and teriyaki beef here, in case you don’t feel like a Loco Moco.

Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill

If you prefer something with a touch more quality then step into Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill.

The family-run restaurant serves up thoughtful and inventive cuisine that focuses on Hawaiian authenticity, from Ohana Cobb salads to Szechuan pepper pork loin. And you can enjoy this haute cuisine alongside an impressive wine list.


For a taste of authentic, high-quality fusion Hawaiian food then head to Peter Merriman’s establishment, Merriman’s. Famous for taking Hawaii’s special cuisine around the world, Peter’s award-winning restaurant is impressively imaginative. This is a unique Hawaiian dining experience that is great for your last night on the island or a special event, expect great things.


For more information about authentic Hawaiian food and places to eat on the Big Island, visit Hawaii Discount’s travel blog.

Hawaii Discount offers cheap and affordable Big Island tours, Big Island activities, and Big Island vacation packages.

To explore some of these tours and book your Big Island activity today, visit HawaiiDiscount.com.