To Appreciate Hawaii’s Soul, Savor Its Cuisine

The Popularity of Food From the Islands Shows the State's Appeal, but Also Points to Global Perils

Not so long ago, the best-known image of Hawaii’s food was Dole canned pineapple. Today, restaurants serving poke and katsu chicken are popping up everywhere from Utah to Europe, and Hawaii-nurtured dishes like Filipino pork and loco moco have become part of global culinary culture.

How can we explain this growing fascination with Hawaii’s food, and its embrace by diners and heavy promotion by high-profile chefs? Four panelists took a stab at that question at a Zócalo/Daniel K. Inouye Institute “Pau Hana” discussion at Artistry Honolulu. The wide-ranging conversation took up …