As you explore Reno’s vibrant and ever-changing culinary scene, you’ll notice an exciting trend heating up the city’s food culture. Hawaiian cuisine is making its delicious mark on menus across town. From fresh-caught seafood to tropical fruits and spices, the flavors of the islands are enticing locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re craving an authentic plate lunch, craving a sweet shave ice treat, or looking to sample innovative fusions, Reno now offers an array of options to satisfy your taste for Hawaii’s unique fare. So get ready to experience a taste of the tropics and aloha spirit in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. The Hawaiian food scene is bringing the heat to spice up your next dining adventure in Reno.
The Rise of Hawaiian Restaurants in Reno
The Hawaiian food scene in Reno has exploded in recent years with the opening of several restaurants featuring cuisine from the islands.
Hawaiian fare, with its fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and fusion of Polynesian and Asian influences, has become increasingly popular on the mainland. Reno is no exception.
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, a popular chain from Hawaii, opened its first Northern Nevada location in Reno in 2018. They are known for their plate lunches featuring Hawaiian staples like kalua pork, loco moco, and chicken katsu. Their casual, counter-service style and affordable prices have been a hit.
Another recent addition is Pineapple Express, a food truck specializing in Hawaiian pizza, tacos, and poke bowls. They frequently park at local breweries where customers can enjoy their Hawaiian-inspired fare along with craft beer. The owners were born and raised in Hawaii and are passionate about sharing the flavors of their childhood with Renoites.
The success of these first Hawaiian eateries points to an appetite for this cuisine that’s only growing. We can likely expect more Hawaiian restaurants to open in the coming years. Aloha, Reno, and mahalo for embracing the spirit of the islands! The Hawaiian food scene is bringing a warm breeze to this mountain town.
Must-Try Hawaiian Dishes in Reno
If you want an authentic taste of the islands in Reno, be sure to try some traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Two dishes you must experience are:
This hearty dish consists of steamed rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and brown gravy. Originating in Hilo, Hawaii in the late 1940s, the loco moco has become popular throughout the Hawaiian islands and beyond. Several Reno restaurants like Big Island BBQ and Hawaiian Style Grill offer their own version of this savory staple.
Pronounced “poh-kay,” this dish of cubed raw fish seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt, chili peppers, and limu seaweed is Hawaii’s version of sushi. Tuna, salmon, and octopus are common varieties of poke, and it is usually served as an appetizer with rice or chips. You can find fresh, high-quality poke at establishments like Pokeworks Reno, Aloha Poke Shop, and Island Grindz Hawaiian Kitchen.
In addition to loco moco and poke, other traditional Hawaiian specialties worth trying in Reno include huli huli chicken, laulau, haupia, and shave ice for dessert. With so many options to choose from, your taste buds will be transported straight to the tropics. So next time you’re craving an island escape, head to one of Reno’s Hawaiian eateries and experience a luau in your own backyard.
Hawaiian Food Reno: Frequently Asked Questions
As Hawaiian cuisine grows in popularity, Reno residents likely have some questions about this island-inspired fare. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Hawaiian food in Reno.
What are the staples of Hawaiian cuisine?
Some quintessential Hawaiian foods include:
Fresh seafood like mahi mahi, ono, and opakapaka Pineapple, mango, and guava are examples of tropical fruits.
Starchy vegetables such as taro, breadfruit, and sweet potato Rice, especially sticky rice Spam musubi, a popular snack of spam and rice wrapped in nori seaweed
What are some popular Hawaiian dishes?
Popular entrees include:
Loco moco: Rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy
Kalua pork: Shredded pork that’s been slow-cooked in an underground oven
Poke: Raw tuna salad, often served as an appetizer
Lau lau: Pork and fish wrapped in taro leaves and steamed
Haupia: A creamy coconut-based dessert
Where can I find Hawaiian food in Reno?
Some recommended spots for Hawaiian fare in Reno include:
Poke Bowl: Casual counter-serve featuring build-your-own poke bowls with fresh fish and lots of toppings.
Big Island BBQ: Food truck is known for kalua pork, loco moco, and other Hawaiian specialties. They often park at The Depot Craft Brewery.
Sabrina’s Ocean Gourmet: Upscale yet casual restaurant featuring fresh seafood, tropical cocktails, and a Hawaiian-inspired menu.
Aloha Kitchen: Family-owned cafe serving homestyle Hawaiian favorites for breakfast and lunch like pancakes, omelets, loco moco, and plate lunches.
Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchen: Food truck offering classic Hawaiian dishes along with shaved ice, a popular Hawaiian icy treat. They frequent local breweries and events.
As you’ve seen, Reno’s Hawaiian food scene is blossoming. From traditional dishes with fresh ingredients to innovative fusion flavors, there are many options to experience the tastes of Hawaii without leaving northern Nevada. Support these local businesses bringing the spirit of the islands to the Biggest Little City. Try a spam musubi or loco moco, sip a Mai Tai or Lava Flow, and transport yourself to the beaches of Maui or Kauai, if only for a meal. Who knows, with the increasing popularity of Hawaiian cuisine, Reno may become known for more than just its casinos. The aloha spirit is spreading in this city amid the Sierra, one delicious bite at a time.