When the weather outside is frightful, we find ourselves yearning for tropical locales. Unfortunately, hopping on the next plane to paradise isn’t usually in the cards. While you plan your next getaway, enjoy this collection of 12 classic Hawaiian dishes that’ll give you a taste of the sweet life. A glimpse at island living without having to leave the mainland? That’ll hold us over (for now)!
1. Original Mai Tai: Don’t be surprised if you’re handed a lei along with one of these sweet sips as soon as you touch down on the island. Mahalo (thank you), indeed. (via The Drink Blog)
2. Loco Moco: Mango salsa brightens up this classic dish of hamburger, gravy, rice and a fried egg. Does this sound like perfect hangover food to anyone else? (via The Spiced Life)
3. Macadamia Nut Pancakes: Between the macadamia nuts and homemade coconut syrup, these pancakes will have you greeting the day with an enthusiastic aloha. (via Making Thyme for Health)
4. Manapua: Manapua is simply another name for steamed buns. Give your local dim sum parlor a run for its money with a batch of these outstanding, red-dye-optional bad boys. (via The Egg Farm)
5. Health-ified Crock Pot Kalua Pork: There’s no need to dig a fire pit in your backyard to enjoy the flavor of succulent, slow-roasted pork. Your slow cooker, liquid smoke and an assortment of spices do the trick quite nicely. (via The Skinny Fork)
6. Passionfruit Jellies: You won’t find such fab tropical fruit flavors in a powdered gelatin mix at the store. Finally, a booze-free jellie that both kids and adults will enjoy. (via Donna Hay)
7. Seared Ahi Tuna Poke Salad: This salad is a fabulous way to enjoy (almost) raw tuna outside of the usual sashimi or sushi roll. (via Half Baked Harvest)
8. Butter Mochi With Coconut: A cross between sweet custard and chewy mochi, coconut fans will go wild for these nutty bites. (via Food Jimoto)
9. Bite-Size Spam Musubi: Celebrate a fusion of Asian and American ingredients with these savory bites. They offer a great snapshot of what Hawaiian food culture is all about. (via Thirsty for Tea)
10. The Blue Hawaii: Shake up this ocean-blue cocktail for your next happy hour. The combo of rum, pineapple and citrus is a surefire way to transport yourself to the beach with just one single sip. (via A Sage Amalgam)
11. Malasadas: We’re dying to fry up a batch of these donuts, ASAP. With a longer proofing time than most, they develop an incomparable rich flavor. (via Hummingbird High)
12. Hawaiian Sweet Rolls: It’s too easy to polish off a whole tray of these rolls with nary a slick of butter in sight. But for the ultimate in island-inspired sliders, simply add a few shreds of kalua pork and a slice of pineapple for some seriously good eats. (via Jo Cooks)
What tropical destinations are on your bucket list? Any food you’re excited to try? Share with us below!