Buy Hawaiian Pineapple ― Hawaiian pineapples are the Smooth Cayenne variety, which are sweeter than the Red Spanish type from Central and South America because they’re picked when ripe. Spot Hawaiian pineapples by their large size, smooth-edged leaves, and deep yellow color.
2 of 6Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Tangy and sweet, this drink pairs well with our luau, but is also good sipped solo. You’ll need 6 cocktail skewers.
Buy Hawaiian Papaya ― Small and pear-shaped, with finely grained yellow-orange flesh, the Hawaiian papaya is delicious and fragrant, and can be used to tenderize meat. Ripen the fruit at room temperature until skin is mostly yellow and flesh “gives” a little when squeezed.
Vanilla Bean ― Hawaii’s tropical weather transforms its vanilla blossoms into the most aromatic beans in the world. The high price stems from the fact that every vanilla orchid must be pollinated by hand on the one day each year when the flower opens.
4 of 6Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Caramelized Maui Onion Dip
Make this addictive dip at least an hour ahead of time to let the flavors develop ― and serve with enough potato chips to scoop up every last bit.
Buy Hawaiian Maui Onion ― Grown in rich volcanic soil on the island for which it’s named, the juicy, golden yellow Maui onion is sweeter and less pungent than a regular onion because of its lower sulfur content. However, Maui onions must be used quickly; they don’t keep as well as regular onions. Stores typically label Maui onions by name.
5 of 6Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers
A squeeze of lime adds zing and toasted coconut contributes crunch to this easy make-ahead crowd-pleaser. You’ll need at least 24 wooden skewers (6 in.).
Buy Hawaiian Passion Fruit ― (Hawaiian name: liliko‘i) Brought to Hawaii from Australia in 1880, this egg-shaped, purple or yellow pod (wrinkled when ripe) yields an intensely flavorful tart-sweet yellow pulp filled with tiny edible seeds. The pulp can be eaten fresh or used to make sauces, preserves, and ice cream.