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Which fish are the best to dine on?

Ask the Big Kahuna

“Answering the most common visitor questions”


We’re big fish-eatin folks from Montana. We’re coming to Hawaii and bringin our stomachs. Can you tell us the best tasting eatin’ fish in Hawaii?

Big Boy
Big Sky, Montana


Aloha, Mr. Big Boy,
Like many things, the best tasting fish is in the mouth of the diner. Here’s a list of fish in Hawaii you may wish to savor:

Ahi – Tuna; raw in sashimi or poke, also seared, blackened, baked or grilled; good in fish sandwiches. Try painting ahi steaks with mayonnaise, which completely burns off when BBQ ‘d but seals in the moisture. Generally most plentiful April through September.

Hapu’upu’u – A grouper not usually available during the summer; best served baked or steamed.

Kona Crab – An elusive sand burrowing crab that can reach 8″ and can only be caught by baited nets and traps.

Lobster – Hawaiian spiny lobster is quite good; also called “bugs” by lobster hunters.

Mahimahi – Deep ocean fish also known as a dolphin fish; very common in restaurants.

Marlin – Tasty when smoked, otherwise can be tough; the Pacific Blue Marlin (kajiki) is available almost year round.

Monchong – Excellent tasting deepwater fish, available year round. Usually served marinated and grilled.

Onaga – Also known as a ruby snapper; excellent eating in many preparations.

Ono – (Wahoo); awesome eating fish and can be prepared many ways; most plentiful May through October. Ono is also the Hawaiian word for delicious.

Opah – (Moonfish); excellent eating in many different preparations; generally available April through August.

‘Opakapaka – (Crimson snapper); great tasting fish generally cooked several ways. Common Oct.-Feb.

‘Opihi – Using a specialized knife, these must be pried off rocks at the shore-line, which can be hazardous. Best eaten raw mixed with salt.

Poke – Fresh raw fish or octopus mixed with seaweed (limu), sesame seed and other seasonings and oil.

Shutome – Swordfish; dense meat that can be cooked several ways. Most plentiful March through July.

Shrimp – Kekaha shrimp or prawns are farm raised on Kaua’i and are excellent.

 Here are a few places to find such delicacies: Big Island | Kauai | Maui | Oahu

Happy dining,

Big Kahuna