Hawaiian
Plate Lunch

Learn the history of the true island comfort food of the Hawaiian plate lunch. 

Hawaiian
Plate Lunch

Learn the history of the true island comfort food of the Hawaiian plate lunch. 

Mixed plate lunch combo with macaroni salad, seasoned vegetables and white rice

Mixed Plate

Seasoned vegetable plate lunch with macaroni salad, white rice, pineapple bbq sauce and a drink

Seasoned Vegetables

Honolulu Chicken plate lunch with macaroni salad, white rice, pineapple bbq sauce and a drink

Honolulu Chicken

While many iconic foods have their place in the Hawaiian culinary identity, it’s the humble Hawaiian plate lunch that really embodies the aloha spirit. It’s the beloved comfort food you share with your ohana – the family you were born into and the family you’ve chosen. Young and old, rich and poor all come together over the plate lunch.

The tradition of the plate lunch dates back to the 1880s when Hawaiian pineapple and sugar plantations grew to meet world-wide demand. Plantation owners recruited heavily from Asian nations including Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Korea and Thailand.

For most of these workers, lunch consisted of leftovers from the previous evening – usually fish or meat supplemented with rice to make the meals more filling. As the workers from such different backgrounds came together, so too did their cuisine, bringing together a fusion of their traditional flavors with new ones from the island, particularly pineapple.

In the 50’s, food trucks and road-side stands started to pop up offering the Hawaiian plate lunch. The meal evolved with Western influences to include macaroni salad, rounding out the meal with rice and sweet and savory proteins.

The rest is history as the plate lunch quickly became a staple for native Hawaiians and visitors alike – and continues to be today.