Hawaiian cuisine takes a lot of cues from Asia, and yet manages to own its unique combinations of flavors. There’s the local take on tuna tartare, called poke, as well as haupia (a coconut pudding), macadamia nut-crusted everything (from fish to pancakes) and pork cooked whole in a traditional underground oven at the luaus held around the islands. Look out for the spam musubi: a combination of spam and maki roll that’s beloved by many locals, and confounding to visitors.
Where to Go: Maui is a foodie’s paradise, as well as being a fabulous mix of natural beauty and sophisticated modern indulgences like world-class resorts and high-end shopping. From the upcountry of the Haleakala (the island’s dormant volcano peak), where you can tour lavender farms, to the shoreline that’s lined with fabulous restaurants, Maui offers both barefoot experiences and chic stays.
Where to Explore: O’o is an all-natural 8.5-acre mountaintop farm that provides produce to the I’o and Pacific’o restaurants, some of the better beach-terrace eateries. Take their tour and luncheon, and you’ll wander through the crops, marveling at the view as well as wonders like the Buddha Hand lemon (a citrus fruit that appears to have multiple hands). As you explore, your guide will pick treats for you, so that you can taste fresh from-the ground veggies and bright mint as you go. After lunch under a vine-covered trellis, savor a cup of coffee made from island-grown beans that are roasted on site.
Where to Stay: The Inn at Mama’s Fish House has a food-lovers’ dream: rooms with private terraces that come stocked with their own grills. There, the hardest question you’ll have to answer is whether to dine at the hotel’s fabulous seafood restaurant or whip up your own spectacular feast together (room rates start at $175 a night; mamasfishhouse.com).
Photo Credit: Sean Hower