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A SNEAK PEEK AT HAWAIIAN CULTURE

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

What makes Hawaii a breathtaking place and a dream destination? A whole lot. Discover traditional food, drinks, and crafts gracing the Hawaii Culture!



Did you know that Hawaii's islands resulted from volcanic activities dating back 70 million years ago? Insanely amazing, right? That fact alone already makes Hawaii such a unique place in the world. Hawaii is an archipelago surrounded by blue waters. As the world's most isolated and inhabited place, this tropical island chain also bears a fascinating history that has shaped its people, culture, and traditions. And as a home to ethnic diversity, Hawaii's food, drinks, and arts and crafts are a fusion of cultures influenced by its immigrants. Take a look at some of them in this quick journey to experience Hawaii culture!



United Flavors of Cultures

Hawaii’s food culture is rooted in the influences of the voyagers who came and saw the rich resources of Hawaii. The beautiful food made from local ingredients and traditional techniques came from the interaction between heritages. From Asian countries like Japan, the Philippines, Korea, and China to European countries, Hawaii’s food culture has become one-of-a-kind in the culinary world.


1. Pā Mea ʻAi (Hawaiian Plate)

Hawaiian Plate may sound simple, but it is Hawaii’s pride and identity. Hawaiian Plate is a traditional meal with many elements, flavors, and textures– a mix and match of a true taste of Hawaii. The plate usually has your kalua pig on top or your choice of meat, pork or chicken laulau (wrapped in taro leaves), pipikaula (a dried beef), and lomi salmon. It also has poi (taro), haupia, or kulolo (a pudding).



2. Poke

Poke is a native Hawaiian dish that has a deep history to it. The first Hawaiians enjoyed it as they had free-flowing access to water. As the word Poke means to cut into chunks, the dish is a cubed fresh raw fish marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, onions, and sometimes mixed with fresh seaweeds. When you’re in Hawaii, you must never skip this local food!



3. Kakigōri (Shaved Ice)

Yes, as the name suggests, Kakigōri is a Hawaiian food inspired by Japanese immigrants during the earlier days. It’s an iconic dessert that is simply delicious and refreshing with finely shaved ice generously drizzled with local Hawaiian-flavored syrups and sometimes added with the freshest local fruits, beans, and ice cream. Name it. This precious Hawaiian good stuff is versatile!



Beyond Tiki Cocktails

A tropical place always calls for tropical drinks that bring you to a new level of aloha. The idea of Tiki dates back to the ancient Polynesian era. Tiki is believed to be a mythical character that created humans and was worshipped but feared by the Polynesians. However, in the 1930s, the concept of Tiki cocktails was introduced in California, featuring rum-based concoctions with homemade syrups and fresh juices. Tiki cocktails have paved their way to popularity and have become an all-time preference for bar hoppers!


1. Flaming Volcano

Flaming Volcano is a popular Tiki drink that is believed to be first created in the 1960s in Hawaii. This cocktail combines brandy, rum, fruit juices, and almond syrups. All ingredients are blended with ice and poured into an amazing bowl depicting a volcano. Flaming Volcano is typically served to a group with long straws provided to avoid contact with the flame.



2. Lava Flow

A traditional Hawaiian cocktail with many variations, the Lava Flow is a blended cocktail with coconut rum, light rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice, and fresh fruits like strawberries. The spirit and the strawberry are blended and later combined with the other ingredients in a glass to create an illusion of the strawberries swirling in the glass like a lava flow.



3. Blue Hawaii

As blue as the waters of Hawaii, this world-famous cocktail invented in the 1950s in Waikiki is a true pride of Hawaii. Fun fact: It is said that authentic Blue Hawaii is not shaken but rather built. Its concoction includes rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and sweet and sour mix. To finish the build, this popular drink is garnished with a slice of pineapple and the iconic tropical cocktail umbrella!


The Hawaiian Art

Throughout the years, Hawaii has remained a very distinct country with its rich history, value for culture and traditions, and heritage that stays true to its roots. The Hawaiian culture is characterized by its Oceanic art concept and Polynesian and Tahitian influences. Their identity as a heritage comes from their exotic art forms in arts and crafts.


1. Lei (Hawaiian Wreath/Garland)

Leis in Hawaii culture symbolizes values that embody love, friendship, and celebration. It symbolizes honor, greetings, and the Hawaiian aloha spirit. A lie is a beautiful craft made from flowers, seashells, leaves, feathers, and even animal bones connected in a string to be worn.


2. Kapa (Textile Work)

Sometimes also called tapa, this traditional Hawaiian craft is a mulberry tree inner bark fabric cloth created with various plant fibers. This craftwork is believed to be introduced by missionaries who came to Hawaii, and the people quickly learned and incorporated their techniques to alter the method according to their needs. Kapas is used as clothing, banners of God, and now in the modern world as a decorative home idea.


3. Nā Hulu Ali‘i (Featherwork)

Regarded as Hawaii’s most important craft, this feather work symbolizes social and spiritual significance in the Hawaiian culture. Nā Hulu Ali‘i is used to honor the Hawaiian royalties and novelties, the only persons allowed to wear the craft. Making them is not easy too. Over the years, the Hawaiian people created them for some time, as collecting, trimming, and designing the feathers was laborious. However, in the modern day, only a few people carry on with the tradition.



Aloha Hawaii!

The clear and blue Pacific Ocean water, the fine white sand, the greener high mountains, and the welcoming people are what you can imagine of Hawaii. But the experience is a bit fragmented without a glass of the playful Tiki cocktail with a tiny wooden umbrella and a slice of fresh fruit hanging around the rim, teasing your senses and your tropical excitement.


You can be far from Hawaii, but you can never be too far from the real thing. We’re diving into the waves of flavors of Tiki-inspired Cocktails and Mocktails in virtual or in-person activity for the new quarter. Each recipe is colorful, exciting, fruity, and lavish, just like the real aloha spirit! The experience never stops there as we introduce you to an exclusive event of Shaved Ice-making that the youngsters of the family won’t miss out on. All these with our team at Kits by Food Craft!


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