Kevin J. Miyazaki Courtesy of Clarkson Potter/Publishers

Sheldon Simeon in Hana, Hawaii.

These inspired, flavor-packed recipes from Sheldon Simeon will forever expand your notion of what Hawaiian food can be.

Hugh Garvey  – February 16, 2021 | Updated February 24, 2021

Reprinted with permission from Cook Real Hawai’i by Sheldon Simeon and Garrett Snyder, copyright© 2021. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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When Sheldon Simeon was a kid growing up in Hilo, he’d help put together massive spreads of pupus for guests his dad had invited over at the last minute. Improvisation was key and delicious was a given.

Simeon, if you don’t know, is a two-time Top Chef veteran (and fan favorite), the chef behind Maui’s Tin Roof restaurant, and the author of the new Cook Real Hawai’i, a book that expands the popular definition of Hawaiian food beyond the clichés like kalua pig. (If you’re looking for amazing pork dishes, rest assured the book includes a killer recipe for Pork Belly Dinakdakdan, a tangy and rich chile-spiked dish that expresses Simeon’s Filipino-Hawaiian heritage).

As Simeon puts it: “Tom Colicchio said to me: ‘If you combine delicious and delicious, you’re going to get more delicious.’” Which is exactly what these dishes are. Whether it’s the nostalgic flavors of ranch-dressing-draped blistered shishito peppers or classic huli huli chicken enriched with koji paste, these are simple but smart combinations of a few good ingredients that will nourish you at home—until you can get to Maui and try Simeon’s food firsthand in the land where it came from. 

Favorites from Sheldon Simeon’s Kitchen