The Most Popular Meat in Hawaii, Ranked

Choose the meat you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 9, 2024 06:44
Choosing a favorite meat in Hawaii can be a delightful challenge given the blend of culinary traditions present on the islands. By listing the most cherished types, it becomes easier for newcomers and locals alike to decide what to try next in their culinary exploration. This guide serves as a handy reference to what meats are currently capturing the taste buds of those in Hawaii. Each vote cast on this site helps update the rankings, reflecting real-time changes in preferences and trends. As more people participate, the accuracy of the list improves, offering an authentic snapshot of local flavors and favorites. Your input is vital in creating a comprehensive guide that benefits all users, encouraging a dynamic engagement with Hawaii's rich culinary scene.

What Is the Most Popular Meat in Hawaii?

  1. 1
    Spam is considered the most popular meat in Hawaii because it was introduced during World War II and has become a staple in Hawaiian cuisine, with many local dishes featuring Spam as an ingredient.
    Spam is a popular canned meat product that originated in the United States. It is made from pork shoulder, ham, sugar, water, salt, potato starch, sodium nitrite, and various other preservatives. The meat mixture is finely ground, blended with the ingredients, and then sealed in a can for processing and storage. Spam has a distinctive taste and texture, with a savory and slightly salty flavor.
    • Ingredients: Pork shoulder, ham, sugar, water, salt, potato starch, sodium nitrite
    • Type: Canned meat
    • Taste: Savory, slightly salty
    • Texture: Soft and moist
    • Origin: United States
  2. 2
    Kalua pork is a traditional Hawaiian dish made by slow-cooking a whole pig in an underground oven called an imu. It is often served at luaus and other festive occasions.
    Kalua pork is a traditional Hawaiian dish that is highly popular in Kauai. It is made by slow-cooking a whole pig in an underground oven called an imu. The pork is typically marinated with sea salt and wrapped in layers of banana leaves before being placed in the imu. The long hours of cooking over hot lava rocks and smoldering wood impart a unique smoky flavor to the tender and juicy meat. Kalua pork is often served shredded or sliced, and it is a staple at traditional Hawaiian luaus and celebrations.
    • Preparation: Slow-cooked in an underground oven (imu)
    • Marination: Sea salt and wrapped in banana leaves
    • Cooking Method: Long hours over lava rocks and smoldering wood
    • Texture: Tender and juicy
    • Flavor: Smoky
    Kalua pork in other rankings
  3. 3
    Although not technically a meat, poke is a popular Hawaiian dish made with raw fish, typically ahi tuna, marinated in a soy sauce-based dressing. It is often served as an appetizer or as a main course.
    Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish that typically consists of fresh, raw fish marinated in a flavorful sauce. The fish is usually cubed and can be accompanied by a variety of ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions, seaweed, and chili peppers. The word 'poke' means 'to slice' or 'cut' in Hawaiian, reflecting the way the fish is prepared for this dish.
    • Raw Fish: Usually made with tuna or salmon, but can also include other types of fish.
    • Marination: Fish is marinated in a sauce made of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings.
    • Cubed: The fish is typically sliced into cubes before being marinated.
    • Variety of Ingredients: Poke can include ingredients such as green onions, seaweed, chili peppers, and sesame seeds.
    • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is a common ingredient that adds a salty and savory flavor to the dish.
  4. 4
    Lomi salmon is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with salted salmon, diced tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. It is often served as a side dish or as a topping for poke bowls.
    Lomi salmon is a traditional Hawaiian dish made with cured and diced salmon, mixed with various ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. It is typically served as a side dish or topping and pairs well with poi or other Hawaiian staples.
    • Main Ingredient: Salmon
    • Curing Process: Cured salmon is used
    • Preparation: Salmon is diced and mixed with ingredients
    • Ingredients: Tomatoes, onions, chili peppers
    • Texture: Chunky and slightly acidic
  5. 5
    Teriyaki chicken is a popular dish in Hawaiian cuisine, featuring chicken marinated in a sweet and savory sauce made with soy sauce, sugar, and ginger. It is often served as a main course.
    Teriyaki chicken is a popular dish in Hawaii that features tender and juicy chicken marinated in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce. It is typically grilled or pan-fried to perfection, resulting in a flavorful and caramelized exterior while maintaining its moist and succulent interior. The dish is known for its mouthwatering aroma and vibrant, glossy appearance.
    • Main Ingredient: Chicken
    • Teriyaki Sauce: Sweet and savory marinade made from a combination of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar
    • Cooking Method: Grilling or pan-frying
    • Flavor Profile: Sweet, savory, and slightly tangy
    • Texture: Tender and juicy chicken with a caramelized exterior
  6. 6
    Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphin fish, is a popular fish in Hawaiian cuisine due to its firm texture and mild flavor. It is often grilled or pan-seared and served as a main course.
    Mahi-mahi, also known as Dorado or Dolphin fish, is a species of fish found in the Philippines. It has a firm and lean flesh with a mildly sweet flavor and a delicate, flaky texture. The skin of the Mahi-mahi is vibrant and colorful, ranging from olive-green on the back to golden-yellow on the sides. It is a popular choice among seafood lovers due to its versatility in cooking and its ability to hold up well in different recipes.
    • Species: Mahi-mahi
    • Common Names: Dorado, Dolphin fish
    • Flavor: Mildly sweet
    • Texture: Delicate and flaky
    • Flesh: Firm and lean
  7. 7
    Shrimp is a popular seafood in Hawaii and is often used in dishes like shrimp scampi, shrimp stir-fry, and shrimp cocktail.
    Shrimp is a popular seafood in the Philippines known for its delicate and succulent meat. It is a crustacean that belongs to the family of prawns and is widely enjoyed for its sweet and briny flavor.
    • Scientific Name: Penaeus monodon
    • Average Size: 5-7 centimeters
    • Color: Varies between species but commonly ranges from grayish-brown to greenish-blue
    • Habitat: Shrimps are found in both freshwater and marine environments, including coastal areas and rivers.
    • Diet: Shrimps are omnivorous, feeding on algae, plants, small organisms, and detritus.
  8. 8
    Beef is a popular meat in Hawaiian cuisine and is often used in dishes like loco moco (a dish consisting of rice, hamburger patty, egg, and gravy) and Hawaiian-style beef stew.
    Beef is a popular meat that comes from cattle. It is highly appreciated for its taste, versatility, and nutritional value. The meat is taken from various cuts of beef, such as ribs, tenderloin, sirloin, and brisket. It can be cooked in various ways, such as grilling, roasting, or braising, making it a favorite choice for many dishes and cuisines around the world.
    • Texture: Tender and succulent
    • Flavor: Rich and savory
    • Color: Ranging from deep red to pink
    • Fat content: Varies depending on the cut
    • Protein content: High
  9. 9

    Chicken katsu

    Japanese immigrants in Hawaii
    Chicken katsu is a Japanese-inspired dish that has become popular in Hawaii. It consists of breaded and fried chicken cutlets served with a sweet and tangy sauce.
    Chicken katsu is a popular meat dish from Hawaii that consists of breaded and deep-fried boneless chicken cutlets. The chicken is typically marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic before being coated in breadcrumbs and fried until crispy. The dish is commonly served with a side of white rice, macaroni salad, and a tangy katsu sauce for dipping.
    • Type: Meat dish
    • Main ingredient: Chicken
    • Preparation: Breaded and deep-fried
    • Marinade: Soy sauce, ginger, garlic
    • Coating: Breadcrumbs
  10. 10

    Portuguese sausage

    Portuguese immigrants
    Portuguese sausage, also known as linguica, is a popular sausage in Hawaiian cuisine. It is often served at breakfast with eggs and rice or in dishes like fried rice and stir-fry.
    Portuguese sausage, also known as linguiƧa, is a popular type of sausage in Hawaii. It is a spicy, flavorful sausage that is made from a mix of pork, garlic, and spices. The sausage has a distinct smoky and tangy taste, making it a unique and delicious addition to various dishes.
    • Origin: Hawaii
    • Main Ingredients: Pork, garlic, spices
    • Flavor: Spicy, smoky, tangy
    • Preparation: Cured and smoked
    • Texture: Firm and slightly crumbly

Missing your favorite meat?


Ranking factors for popular meat

  1. Consumption patterns
    Analyze the consumption data for different types of meat in Hawaii. This would include the volume and frequency of meat purchased and consumed by the residents.
  2. Traditional and cultural preferences
    Take into account the local dishes and culinary practices that influence the popularity of certain meat types in Hawaii. This could include the use of traditionally popular meats in dishes such as kalua pig, Spam musubi, or loco moco.
  3. Availability and accessibility
    Consider the availability and accessibility of different meats in local markets, butcher shops, and supermarkets across Hawaii. Some meats might be more popular due to easier access and widespread availability.
  4. Affordability
    Price could play a significant role in determining the popularity of a meat type. More affordable meats might be more popular among the local population.
  5. Taste preferences
    Local tastes and preferences for specific meats could influence their popularity. Surveying local residents or analyzing data from restaurants or food festivals could provide insight on preferred meat types.
  6. Health concerns
    Health trends and concerns among the population may also drive the popularity of certain types of meat, such as leaner meats perceived as healthier options.
  7. Environmental concerns
    Sustainable sourcing and environmental impact can play a crucial role in the popularity of different types of meat. Locally-produced meats with lower carbon footprints may be gaining popularity among environmentally-conscious consumers.
  8. Tourism and international influence
    The popularity of certain types of meat among tourists and the influence of international cuisines could also potentially impact the popularity of meats in Hawaii.
  9. Industry trends and promotions
    Marketing tactics, industry trends, and promotional campaigns could influence consumer choices and the popularity of different meats in the region.
  10. Demographics
    Different demographic groups may have specific preferences for particular types of meat, depending on factors such as age, ethnicity, and dietary restrictions. Accounting for these differences will provide a more comprehensive understanding of meat popularity in Hawaii.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular meat in Hawaii. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or meat is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 197 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each meat once every 24 hours. The rank of each meat is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular meat in hawaii

When it comes to meat, Hawaii has a unique blend of cultural influences that have shaped its cuisine. Traditional Hawaiian dishes include kalua pig, which is slow-roasted in an underground oven called an imu, and poke, a raw fish salad. However, the islands have also been influenced by Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino cuisine, which have brought dishes like teriyaki chicken, char siu pork, and adobo to the table. With such a diverse range of options, it can be difficult to determine which meat is the most popular in Hawaii. Let's take a closer look at the options and see what comes out on top.

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