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Aloha State Eats: Where to Eat on the Hawaiian Islands

When some people think of eating in Hawaii, they think of a luau, with hula girls and kalua pig with poi. But there’s so much more to the 50th state. Here are 25 favorite local dishes and drinks around Hawaii, and the best places to get them.

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Welcome to the Aloha State

Hawaii has long been beloved for its beaches and mild climate. Those same attributes make for fantastic food, including line-caught fish, tropical fruit and tiki cocktails ideal for enjoying at sunset by the beach. Here are a few of the islands' most-iconic dishes, and the best places to try them.

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Kona Coffee: Daylight Mind Coffee Company

Kona coffee is one of Hawaii’s prized exports, and practically mandatory for visitors to Kona. Daylight Mind Coffee Company is right on the water on Ali’i Drive, with a huge covered lanai so every customer can get an ocean view while sipping a cup o’ joe. Kona coffee tastes very clean, rich and complex, and each farm has its own distinctive flavor profile, much as a wine-producing vineyard does. Those with extra interest should take Shawn Steiman’s classes and tastings in the space, where visitors get hands-on experience in cupping, roasting and brewing the best coffee in the world.
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Shave Ice: Ululani’s

Shaved ice — or shave ice, as locals call it — is so much more than a snow cone. In Hawaii, the most-popular shave ice stands sell fluffy mountains of ice, shaved to a nearly fluffy consistency with very sharp blades. Ululani’s arguably has the fluffiest and finest on Maui, if not the state, taking it up a notch by offering a wide variety of popular and exotic flavors like lychee, tiger’s blood, wedding cake, pickled mango and wet lemon peel. Its shave ice is so popular that Ululani’s now has six locations around Maui, but the main one is in Lahaina, on Front Street, right by the ocean.
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Hula Pie: Duke’s Waikiki

It’s not like anyone needs an excuse to go to the iconic Duke’s Waikiki, which overlooks the famous beach, but its Hula Pie has become a favorite with locals and visitors. It’s made with macadamia nut ice cream piled high on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with chocolate fudge, whipped cream and chopped macadamia nuts. Duke’s (and its sister restaurant upstairs, Hula Grill) features a different ice cream flavor each month in addition to its classic, to change it up. 
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