Tasty Kauai Native Foods to Try on a Vacation

Popularly known for its beautiful flowers, long white sand beaches and lush foliage, Kauai is one of the oldest Islands in Hawaii. It is not only a great Island for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon, but also the perfect place for indulging in Hawaiian dishes.

Dining is one of the best Kauai things to do, as you will find a multitude of restaurants covering almost all types of tastes. Trying out the variety of specialty delicacies will leave you dreaming of the island long after you are gone.

Just like other Hawaiian Islands, Kauai’s delicacies are defined by globally inspired flavors, as well as fresh ingredients. Whether it is local plate lunches or fine dining, fresh is always on the table in Kauai restaurants. Any visit to the Island will not be complete without a taste of these 5 Kauai dishes:


Kauai is the capital of poke consumers. You will find the chunky, raw fish salad almost everywhere, from casual picnics to birthday parties. And with a dizzying array of varieties and amazingly fresh seafood selections, you won’t find it better prepared anywhere else other than Kauai.

Tuna poke Hawaiian food

The food resembles a ceviche, but instead of an acidic flavor, it has a savory and bolder taste, unique only to Kauai. It is usually prepared with different types of seafood with the most common being tako (octopus) or ahi (yellowfin), blended with various seasonings.

The Mixed Plate

Also referred to as “the meal that will not leave you hungry,” the Mixed Plate includes macaroni, a scoop of white rice, and potato salad mixed with fish, beef, or chicken. Almost every town on the Island has a food truck or a takeout spot where mixed plates are the predominant menu dish. Some local favorites include barbeque chicken and Kalbi rib mixed plates.

Loco Moco

Loco moco is a Kauai classic. It is found on almost all menus in Kauai restaurants, from 5-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall cafes. A typical loco moco dish includes hamburger patties topped with white rice and fried eggs, and blanketed in brown gravy. Loco moco is mainly taken for breakfast, but you can eat it at any time of the day.

Spam Musubi
There is nowhere else in the world that you will find more spam consumers than Kauai. Spam is mainly used as an alternative to other breakfast foods like sausage and bacon. A satisfying and quick spam dish is spam musubi, which can easily be found in snack shops, bakeries and convenience stores. This dish is like a spam sushi, except it is fried with a teriyaki sauce and then laid gently on a bed of Japanese nori with rice.


Manaupa was adopted from Chinese cuisine and given a twist to give it a savory Hawaiian taste. It is almost identical to the Chinese bao, and it mainly includes a bun mixed with char siu pork. You will also find other varieties filled with Portuguese sausage, BBQ kalua pork, or pasteles.

Bottom Line

The large portions, and satisfying flavors, make eating these foods one of the best Kauai things to do. Indulge in these delicacies while on a holiday in Kauai, and soon you will be dining like a real local!

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