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Vacation Favorite Hawaiian Recipes

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In honor of our Maui vacation, I’m sharing a few local favorites that we’ve enjoyed dining on. We always enjoy Hawaiian foods, especially the pork and fish meals. And, of course the variety of fresh fish here in Hawaii is amazing! Two of our favorite fish are Monchong and Opah, which are caught locally. So, read on to get some great dinner and dessert recipes and eat like you are on a tropical vacation this week!

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Photo of hawaiian water and volcanic rocks

Hawaiian Meals – Lanai Style

Food prices are higher in Hawaii than other part of the United States. And, eating out is even more expensive.

As a Californian, I am used to paying premium for dining out, but Hawaii takes it to a whole new level. It is on par with the cost of dining out in San Francisco.

So, we usually stay in a condominium (with an outdoor kitchen on the lanai) while on vacation in Hawaii. It allows us to prepare some of our own meals and save money. And, it also gives us some extra room since we usually stay for at least 10 days.

Our most amazing dinners there are spent on the lanai, eating dinner while gazing out at the sunset on the Pacific Ocean and feeling the warm tropical breeze.

Read about our Maui trip here. And, part 1 of my vacation planning series here.

Hawaiian Fish and Recipes

One of the perks of being in Hawaii that is the abundance of fresh, local fish and seafood. Many nights we get our dinner ingredients from a local market and grill on our lanai. You just can’t beat freshly caught Hawaiian fish.

There are several different types of fish living off the waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Opah (moonfish), Kumu (goatfish), Monchong, Opakapaka (pink snapper), Ahi Tuna, Uhu, and Hawaiian Butterfish can be found in local restaurants.

This article explores how to prepare these different types of fish: HERE.

Grilled Monchong

We purchased fresh Monchong for dinner from a local fresh fish market. The resort we stayed at had a grill chef that grills food for the guests in the evenings.

So, we decided to have our Monchong grilled by the grill chef. There were several other guests having their dinners grilled, too.But, it was worth the experience.

The grill chef had at least 5 grills going at the same time! It was interesting watching him going from grill to grill, checking temperatures and sprinkling on seasonings.

Our grilled Monchong was perfect. It was lightly broiled on the outside and flakey inside, which is exactly how I like my fish grilled.

a plate with a grilled Monchong fillet, a traditional hawaiian recipe
Grilled Monchong

Grilled Monchong Recipe


  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. Brush the Monchong with melted butter and rub with seasonings.
  2. Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the Monchong from sticking. Grill the Monchong for 3-5 minutes on each side over direct heat, then move to indirect heat until the center is opaque.
  3. Remove from grill immediately when done. Serve Monchong with steamed rice and a salad.

Grilled Shrimp with Fresh Herbs

To keep the Hawaiian meals theme going, we bought fresh shrimp from the local fish market. The shrimp were straight from the ocean and still had their heads attached!

Readying them for cooking was an experience. I’m used to buying shrimp that have been deveined and shell-split, but it was well worth the effort.

Along with the fish, we had the grill chef prepare the shrimp. He used butter and fresh herbs from the resort’s herb garden to season them.

a platter of grilled Shrimp with herbs, a hawaiian dinner recipe

Grilled Shrimp Recipe


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.  
  2. Heat the grill and brush well with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1-2 minutes on each side ,over direct heat, until pink.
  3. Remove from grill immediately when done.

Our Favorite Hawaiian Restaurant Meals and Recipes

During our stay in Maui, we have eaten at a number of local restaurants in Ka’anapali and Lahaina.

Here are some of the most popular Hawaiian restaurant meals and recipes.

Duke’s Macadamia Nut Herb-Crusted Fish

This recipe is a copycat recipe from Duke’s restaurant.

a dinner plate with a Macadamia Nut Opah Monchong fillet with a creamy sauce over rice
Duke’s Macadamia Nut Fish

Macadamia Nut Fish Recipe


  • 4 (6 oz. size) Opah (Moonfish) or Monchong fillets
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese flour meal)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients except olive oil; coat fillets with mixture.
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown, about 4 minutes on both sides. Serve with Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers. 
  3. To make in an Air Fryer: After step 1, cook fillets at 350º in air fryer for 8 minutes. Check to see if fish fillets are opaque in the middle and the fish separates easily.

Lemon-Butter Wine Sauce with Capers:
In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup dry wine, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped chives, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Cook until liquid reduces to half. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter, a little at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup capers, and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Makes about 1 cup sauce. 

Kimo’s Teriyaki Ribs with Mango BBQ Sauce

At Kimo’s restaurant in Lahaina, I had some delicious ribs for dinner. The glazed sauce was soooo good. So, I just had to get the recipe for this yummy Hawaiian dinner.

teriyaki ribs with a bowl of green salad in the background

Serves 4

Teriyaki Ribs with Mango BBQ Sauce Recipe


  • 4 to 5 lbs. pork back ribs (20 ribs)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cracked peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 2  tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup catsup
  • 2 cups mango puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp. sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin


Place ribs in a roasting pan. Combine bay leaves, peppercorns, 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke, salt, and water; pour over ribs. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in electric oven at 375°F for 45 minutes. Combine the remaining ingredients to make the mango barbecue sauce. Remove ribs from roasting pan; place on rack of broiler pan. Basting frequently with the sauce, broil ribs in oven 6 inches from broiler unit until browned on both sides.

Hula Pie – a Hawaiian Specialty

A Hawaiian dinner would not be complete without dessert!

For desert, pies are really popular here. It seems like each restaurant has a special pie they are known for. One of them is Hula Pie served at Duke’s and Kimo’s restaurants.

a plate of hula pie, is a traditional hawaiian dessert recipe
From www.tsrestaurants.com

I found this recipe for Hula Pie on Hawaiì Magazine’s website. Make it and you’ll know why people love Hawaiian food!

Hula Pie recipe

Bring a little taste of Hawaii into your life this week by making one of these Hawaiian recipes!

a photo of a Hawaiian meal of teriyaki ribs with mango bbq sauce

You’ll love these meal recipe roundups:

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