If it has pineapple in it…

I have a slight rant and vent to get off my chest.

I have noticed recently, and understandably it is summer, that many food bloggers and cooks are titling their recipes “Hawaiian ______” because it has pineapple in it.

I have seen Hawaiian hot dogs, Hawaiian dip, Hawaiian kabobs and of course, Hawaiian pizza.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about trying different cultures and experiencing new foods, but…

I have some news for you. Putting a pineapple in it does NOT make it Hawaiian!

And, having grown up on the beautiful islands of Hawaii, I am taking this a little personally.

Pineapples have roots in South America where the Brazilians introduced pineapples throughout South America. It then reached to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. When Columbus was introduced to the pineapple, he brought it back with him to Europe and then it was the Spanish that introduced it to the Philippines and Hawaii. Finally in 1900, James Dole started a pineapple plantation on Oahu that grew substantially, however, Hawaii is not the largest grower of pineapples. (Source: Wikipedia). The Philippines has the most pineapple production in the world, and America isn’t even in the top 5!

So why do we keep putting pineapple in our food and calling it Hawaiian?

Well…I just don’t know! Do you put an avocado in it and call it “Californian”?

Hawaii is a melting pot of many different cultures such as  Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean and American.

But trust me, I don’t remember putting pineapple in my cheese dip and calling it Hawaiian.

Hawaiian food is about celebrating the numerous cultures that traveled through Hawaii. It’s about sustainable eating and using whats on your land and sea.

Here are some ono recipes you will find in Hawaii.

Kalua Pork

Lau lau



So the next time you want to make something Hawaiian, what will you make?



  1. says

    A while ago I got super upset about this too, not Hawaiian foods but Latin foods in my case. Because throwing corn and beans on something automatically makes it Mexican (i’m not even mexican)… Even wrote a blog post all about it (www.foodologie.com/2012/05/08/homemade-sushi-and-an-ethnic-food-rant/‎). So I get where you’re coming from. The thing that makes it most bothersome to be is people rely on blogs more and more for recipes and so it makes me think that it’ll change the way people view certain ethnic foods. But ultimately blogs and such are really just reflections of what people make and home, and at home people can make whatever the hell they want.
    Karla @ Foodologie recently posted..Chocolate Chip Zucchini BreadMy Profile

  2. Vicky says

    I complain about this all the time!! I hate when foods are called that, especially when it doesn’t taste “Hawaiian” at all. Thanks for doing the research, because now I can actually back up my complaints. Mmm, now I want lau lau!

  3. Marysue says

    I wholeheartedly agree with you (both). It isn’t correct and it just makes the poster/pinner sound ignorant. I have been guilty of repinning recipes that say that, but only because I didn’t want to change someone else’s original post.

  4. says

    Sam, THANK YOU – I have shared this irritation. As you know, I live in Hilo, Hawaii . . . we really don’t eat everything with pineapples in it! I make an upside-down cake about once a year, when one ours matures, or someone gives me one. The salsa you recently made is more my speed – we eat that sort of thing more often than your aforementioned examples.

    There are some stereotypes of which we definitely are guilty (yes, we eat tons of spam, and love it) but pineapple madness just isn’t one of them!


  5. says

    I do understand your point and I have thought of this with other recipes from other cuisines. As someone who does have a Hawaiian Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich on her blog, it’s not that I literally think pineapple makes something Hawaiian. It’s a fun name (and in my case, based off of the popular pizza with pineapple and ham). I also have a pineapple and macadamia nut rice on my blog and could have easily have called it “Hawaiian” because I think that title would appeal to my readers….but went with something else. So, I do get what you are saying, but I guess I don’t ever take it that the person calling it that literally thinks the dish is authentic to Hawaii (or wherever). There’s those sites and blogs that educate on regional foods and share more authentic recipes, but generally leave that to them….for me it’s about fun foods – and titles – that appeal to my readers.
    Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) recently posted..Grilled Banana Dessert Bar #SundaySupperMy Profile

  6. says

    I hear ya, Sam. Rant away, lady! In Canada, a “Hawaiian pizza” is ham and pineapple so I can see why a lot of people, up here at least, would automatically associate pineapple = Hawaii. I will definitely be more cognizant of that and hopefully won’t be ignorant enough to toss a pineapple on something and mis-label it. The avocado = California is a perfect example – every time I see anything that’s labelled “Californian” automatically has avocado in it!
    Nancy @ gottagetbaked recently posted..Brown Butter Date and Pecan Loaf from Vintage Kitchen NotesMy Profile

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