10 Modern Hawaiian Cookbooks We Love

From shave ice to musubi, these Hawaiian cookbooks will help you master cuisine from across the islands. The cookbooks in this list remind me of meals lovingly prepared by my grandmother, often using recipes from her Hawai'i Buddhist Church community cookbooks.

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Cook Real Hawai’i

by Sheldon Simeon

This recently published book on Hawaiian cuisine was written by two-time Top Chef finalist Sheldon Simeon. Sheldon grew up on the Big Island and now has restaurants on Maui. If you purchase Cook Real Hawai’i at his restaurant Tin Roof on Maui (which I highly recommend!) all proceeds go to the Maui Food Bank.

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The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook

by Adrienne Robillard

No classic Hawaiian gathering is complete without meats cooked on a grill! The ‘Ohana Grill Cookbook screams summer, whether you make it to the islands or bring the flavors to your own backyard. Check out our full list of regional cookbooks from across the US.

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The Poké Cookbook

by Martha Cheng

Poké is one of several traditional Hawaiian foods and has become insanely trendy and popular in the last 10 years. The Poke Cookbook, created by food writer and surfer Martha Cheng, highlights 45 different poké recipes.

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Roy’s Fish and Seafood: Recipes from the Pacific Rim

by Roy Yamaguchi

This ode to cooking with seafood by celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi includes in-depth explanations of the flavors and cooking techniques for 25 types of seafood. (Yamaguchi is a co-founder of the Hawai’ian Regional Cuisine movement.)

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Hawaii’s Best Mochi Recipes

by Jean Watanabe Hee

For the dessert lover, this mochi recipe cookbook by retired elementary school teacher Jean Watanabe Hee is a treasure trove! Known for her “best of” books, this book includes recipes that can be found at many special occasion parties in Japanese households in Hawaii.

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Passion of the Ice

by Happy Shave Ice

This book is authored by a family of four in Florida who fell in love with shave ice in Hawaii. It’s a self-proclaimed “love letter to ice enthusiasts” that includes the history of shave ice in Hawaii, as well as recipes for ice-based desserts around the world—including kakigori, halo-halo and bao bing.

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The Musubi Book

by Manabu Asaoka and Maria Asaoka

From the owners of the renowned musubi shop Mana-bu’s in Honolulu comes this beautiful cookbook about a simple Japanese snack: rice balls. Manabu Asaoka shares the culinary history and cultural importance of the dish as well as techniques and recipes, while the colorful and whimsical illustrations are drawn by his niece Maria Asaoka.

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Hawai’i, A Vegan Paradise

by Lillian Cumic

From one of Honolulu’s leading plant-based chefs, this cookbook offers beautiful vegan alternatives to common Hawaiian dishes like poké made with tofu or loco moco with sunny-side-up vegan eggs.

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Coconut Information Cookbook

by Coconut Information Farm & Cooking School

On my last visit to Maui, we bought this fascinating book all about coconuts. I only wish we had been able to visit the farm this Coconut Information Cookbook is about! This book highlights the entire life cycle of a coconut, methods for opening one and unexpected recipes using coconut water, milk and flesh.

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Aloha Kitchen

by Alana Kysar

When I first flipped through Aloha Kitchen, I felt a pang of nostalgia and familiarity. Finally, a modern Hawaiian cookbook that featured all the recipes I grew up eating—down to li hing mui gummy bears and a delicious take on Zippy’s chili! This book also does a great job of outlining Hawaiian culinary history as well as kitchen tools and essentials.

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Poke Bowls With Ponzu Dressing
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This list highlights only a fraction of the cookbooks written on Hawaiian cuisine—and many more recipes that have been passed down verbally through the generations. If you find yourself appreciating Hawaiian cuisine and culture or vacationing in the islands, I recommend making a donation to the protectors currently atop the sacred Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii and seeking out native Hawaiian-owned businesses when visiting the islands. (Native Intelligence on Maui is a favorite.)

Kristin Eriko Posner
Kristin Eriko Posner is the founder of Nourish Co., a lifestyle website that inspires multiethnic people and families to create nourishing new rituals drawn from time-honored wisdom. She does this through her writing, recipe development, and a limited-edition collection of modern heirlooms, all of which explore and celebrate her intersecting identities. Nourish Co. has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, The Forward, Real Simple, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications.