What is Malama Honua and Why is it Important to Us?


What is Mālama Honua?

Mālama Honua is simply translated as “to care for our Island Earth”, but the Hawaiian language is beautiful and complex. Mālama Honua means to take care of and protect everything that makes up our world: land, oceans, living beings, our cultures, and our communities.


Learn about Hokule’a and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage

The main story

In 2017, the Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokule’a and Hikianalia wrapped up a worldwide voyage using ancient voyaging techniques with no modern technologies.  They sailed for 2 years to spread the word of Mālama Honua to the world by sharing and learning from other indigenous cultures how they take care of island earth.

Learn More About Mālama Honua

Being proud of our Polynesian heritage and what it means to be from the islands, the owners of Hapa Hawaiian Grill are implementing several sustainable practices into it’s restaurant to do our part of Mālama Honua right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  You can take the boy from the islands, but not the islands from the boy. The island stays in your heart and we’ll never forget where we’re from. Enjoy music by Justin

Practicing Sustainability

To do our part in taking care of our island earth, Hapa Hawaiian Grill sources local meats and produce, utilizes energy efficient lighting, water conserving tools and recycling some equipment, keeping them out of landfills.  We also implement recycling receptacles for guest to do their part.  Eventually our long-term goals include buying a local farm to raise and grow our own food to become a direct farm to table restaurant.

Fish from the Islands

Since their is no ocean in Pittsburgh, the fish for the restaurant will come from the freshest sources, some even from the islands flown in to get it to market faster and fresher that what you will find in the Strip District.


Watch and learn as the recap of the worldwide voyage takes you around the world to learn from our ancestors and modern day voyagers who are determined to learn and do what must be done to protect our island earth. Mahalo 🙂

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Hawaiian Culture 101

Hawaiian Culture 101

Word of the Day: POKE
pronounced POH-keh

Poke is a flavorful dish made of cubed raw fish, mainly ahi tuna and served with a Hawaiian soy sauce and topped with green onions, chili pepper, and sometimes includes Hawaiian limu (seaweed).

A huge favorite of locals in Hawaii, poke has become a mainstream dish that you can find on menus across the country.  Poke bowls are very popular in most states and it’s important to note that most poke dishes you find is not the authentic Hawaiian style of poke, but a westernized type of poke where they add other toppings like avocado, oranges, other vegies, etc.

The best and most authentic Hawaiian style poke is what you will find at Hapa Hawaiian Grill as we stay true to our roots and not mess with what is already an amazing dish.  So come in and enjoy some Hawaiian style poke next time you are in the area.

Mahalo 🙂
The Hapa Hawaiian Grill Ohana

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History of Hawaiian Food Scene

A Brief History of Hawaii’s Food Scene

Hawaii has been a melting pot of different cultures since the old plantation days when workers were brought in from other countries like Japan, Korea, Portugal, Phillipines to name a few. When all of these foreign workers started settling into plantation housing like the photo above, some interesting things happened.

The main story

The language that people spoke from their native countries and with the local people became intertwined and a plantation dialect was created out of necessity to communicate. Known today as Pidgin English, the language is broken English where you have some English words with some slang from other cultures thrown in. Words and phrases like “Da Kine” and “No Make Ladat” became common phrases that even to this day is spoken by children growing up in Hawaii. I remember learning how to speak proper English in school where Western education demanded it.

Another interesting blend was noticed in the food. With foods from the Phillipines, Japan, China, Korea, Portugal and native Hawaii becoming intertwined, the result was a very flavorful experiment that went oh so right.

Keeping with the old and the new, the owners of Hapa Hawaiian Grill are very proud to bring that eclectic mix of Hawaii’s best foods to their restaurant opening up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Foodie lovers will be treated to traditional savory dishes like lau lau, lomi salmon, chicken long rice and poi or rice every Friday know as Aloha Friday specials. Daily menu items of plate lunches served for lunch and dinner among many favorites are dishes like Kalua pig, Hawaiian BBQ chicken, Loco Moco, Beef Stew, Curry Stew, rice and potato macaroni salad that are to die for.

Traditional Hawaiian Plate

Traditional Hawaiian food you will find lau lau, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, poke, poi and sometimes a treat of pineapple or haupia, which is a coconut pudding. These are the common foods you will find on Hawaiian style luaus.

Modern Hawaiian Cuisine

After the introduction of cultures and foods to Hawaii’s plantations, dishes like Chicken katsu, BBQ chicken, Pork adobo and other savory proteins were introduced. The addition of rice and macaroni salad were put in as fillers for the plantation workers to give them energy in the fields.

Hapa Hawaiian Grill Bringing Hawaii’s Best to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh and visitors to Pittsburgh can look forward to sampling the Best of Hawaii’s comfort foods starting on December 9th, 2017 which is the official Grand Opening date scheduled for the first Hawaiian restaurant in Pittsburgh to be open for business.  Diners will get to experience some of the different cultural dishes as specials.  Stay up to date on Facebook and Instagram by clicking the links and following.

As we know how things can change, all the ducks and pigs needs to be in a row to open for business in Pittsburgh, specifically getting all approvals from the city and the county health department that all restaurants have to go through to open for business.  Stay tuned here for updates and follow us on social media to get the latest updates and specials.

Mahalo Nui Loa and Hope to See You All at the Grand Opening.

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Hapa Hawaiian Grill

Welcome to Hapa Hawaiian Grill.

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