6 best Hawaiian films paired with Polynesian food

Oh how I love Hawaii, any island, actually. I love the pace, the fresh wind in my hair, the food eaten straight from a tree or a plant, the seafood, the laughter… love it all! And the funny thing is that I actually live on an island (a BIG one) but I tell you, there’s no island pace here in sunny Oz. Oh no.

To re-live those perfect island experiences we are generally limited to tv shows, hula-type songs and, you guessed it, movies. Hawaiian films are great to watch in the dead of winter or when you’re feeling busy and stressed. So kick off your socks, pop on some sandals and get lost in the world of glamorous Hawaii with these amazing films with matching food. Dig in!

Here are the 6 best Hawaiian films I can think of… or google.

1. The Descendants (2011) – George Clooney + Hawaii = awesome / unbelievable / really cool! Loved this film!! It is such a sad, moving drama set in such a dramatic environment. I loved seeing a different part of Hawaii, more of a local’s look at Hawaii; how people live there day-to-day. I came home from the cinema and announced to my husband that we should move there pronto! He was not moved. But he’s yet to see the film so my fingers are crossed!

2. 50 First Dates (2004) -The hero of this film is Hawaii. Sorry Adam Sandler and co but it’s true. This is a funny, quirky film but the feel and the culture of Hawaii dominates and makes a so-so storyline, soulful and fun.


Pop on a beautiful Hawaiian lei, say a friendly “Aloha” to yourself (or your friend/family/co-movie-food-lover-person), pick your favourite Hawaiian flick and get eating! You may actually feel like you’re on holidays! Start with this super-famous Blue Hawaii Cocktail from Hilton Top Chef.

And because you should never drink on an empty stomach, add this meaty dish to your entree course why don’t you. It looks delish! It’s Grilled Hawaiian Beef Kebabs recipe from Canadian House and Home.

3. Blue Crush (2002) – I’m SUCH a girl but I really loved this film. It’s your typical love story with a bit of girl surfing thrown in and a heap of Hawaii… ah Hawaii! It’s kinda girl-power meets cinderella meets Gidget! Love it.

4. Lilo and Stitch (2002) – “Ohana means family, family means family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.” Sweet little flick. It has something for everyone: the Elvis freaks, the kids, the action fanatics, the animation fans, the alien invasion conspiracy nuts and surfers. It’s Hawaii with soul, soul with Hawaii…

Main meal:

One of the yummiest dishes on the Hawaiian islands is this one. It’s kinda like a hamburger but with slow cooked pork on a super-sweet bun. Here’s the recipe for Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Grilled Pineapple Relish from Food Network.

5. Blue Hawaii (1961) – You cannot mention Hawaii and film and not include Elvis! This man loved Hawaii or it loved him. Blue Hawaii was the first of three Presley films to be made on the idyllic shores of Hawaii, the other two were: Girls, Girls, Girls (1962) and Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1965). Hands up who thinks Elvis wanted a really long vacation in Hawaii?!

6. Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) – Let’s throw in a Gidget film for good measure; after all Gidget personified the surf-beach culture that Hawaii was (and still is) also famous for so they go together like a horse and a cart or pineapples and coconuts – if you get my drift. It’s about life, love, families, luaus and the beach with a 60s bent and some boppy little musical numbers. So much fun!


If you’re lucky enough to find yourselves walking the fine streets of Hawaii on a hot day, you’ll notice most people sipping and crunching on one of the unofficial state dishes of the place, shave ice. This recipe must be one of the best around – Hibiscus Lime Shave Ice from Eat Boutique.

What are your fave Hawaiian films? Do you live in Hawaii? If so, what film accurately depicts real Hawaiian life?

More amazing film and food matches:

Wings movie matched with authentic WWI recipes
The Broadway Melody movie paired with best Broadway bites
The Life of Emile Zola film paired with fabbo French food