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Perfect Pairings: 7 TOP Side Dishes to Serve with Kalua Pork

It’s Hawaiian-style pulled pork, and it’s delicious.

Though you can usually get some meat to go with a Hawaiian plate lunch, that doesn’t mean it has to be pork.

As with many favorite dishes, kalua pork (or luu pua’a in the original Hawaiian) is generally considered an acquired taste.

Most Hawaiian-style restaurants serve if you’re visiting the islands and want to try it on the mainland.

The texture of the pork when it’s prepared the traditional way is a little tough and stringy, but once you’ve tasted it, you either like it, or you don’t.

Kalua pork is always served as part of plate lunch, including two scoops of white rice and macaroni salad.

The most popular side dish for kalua pork is cabbage or lettuce, tossed in a lite dressing of soy sauce and sesame oil (similar to that used when making Cucumber Sunomono).

In this article, we will list seven side dishes that are a perfect accompaniment to your kalua pork.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Kalua Pork?

why consider serving side dishes with kalua pork

Kalua Pork is usually featured in a plate lunch, and that’s when most people have it.

But you can also eat it as a main dish for dinner or at least serve it with some sides to make it more filling.

You should look for side dishes that are not too heavy and will match well with the kalua pork.

Since the kalua pork is already a typical Hawaiian dish, it’s best to stick with other authentic side dishes also popular on the islands.

Another great thing about serving kalua pork with side dishes is that you have much room to experiment.

You can start by choosing one or two side dishes, then prepare them according to your taste and preferences before adding more until you’re ready to serve it as a complete meal.

What to Serve with Kalua Pork? 7 BEST Side Dishes

what to serve with kalua pork side dishes

So here’s a list of some side dishes that are perfect for serving with kalua pork.

Try any or all of these:

1 – Stir-fried Vegetables

stirfried vegetables

Stir-fried vegetables like broccoli, snow peas, and carrots make great choices.

Just combine the ingredients in oil (extra virgin olive oil is ideal), then pour on soy sauce and sesame oil for the right taste.

What’s great about this side dish is that it can be easily turned into some other number of dishes.

If you want a simple dish, pre-cook your vegetables and toss with soy sauce to taste.

It also works well if you’re looking to serve something more nutritious and filling, such as stir-fried vegetables with a fried egg on top.

It’s important to note that stir-fried vegetables with kalua pork should be served hot.

The warmth of the vegetables will add to the dining experience, and it’s a nice contrast against some of the other side dishes like coleslaw or potato salad.

2 – Red Cabbage Coleslaw

red cabbage coleslaw

Coleslaw is another popular side dish for kalua pork.

It can be eaten as is, but it’s even better if you add rice vinegar to the mix to give the taste some extra zing.

The key to a good coleslaw is utilizing a light dressing that will not overpower the other ingredients in your side dish.

A simple vinegar and oil-based sauce work, but it’s also a good idea to experiment with alternatives.

There are plenty of salad dressings that you can use in your coleslaw, such as salsa or lemon juice.

Just be sure not to add too much sauce since the more you put on, the heavier the taste becomes, which can spoil your kalua pork.

3 – Potato Salad

potato salad

Potato salad is another side dish that’s good with kalua pork.

The key to a great potato salad is picking the correct type of potatoes.

You want something starchy and not too smooth to avoid using too much dressing, which would take away from the taste of your main course.

Check with your local supermarket if you want to know how they make their potato salad in Hawaii.

You can also look for the ingredients needed to make potato salad in any grocery store and try to mix them up yourself.

4 – Cucumber Sunomono

cucumber sunomono

Cucumber sunomono is a refreshing side dish that will complement your kalua pork well.

It’s a straightforward recipe so that anyone can make it even without the use of specific cooking instructions.

All you need to do is combine cucumbers with rice vinegar, then heat everything in a pan before serving.

Add some sunomono sauce for an added flavor and garnish with green onions before serving.

It’s a fundamental side dish that’s packed with flavor.

5 – Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

authentic hawaiian macaroni salad

For a quick side dish, you can try cooking macaroni and throwing it into your coleslaw mix.

This side dish is perfect for any busy individual since most of the work is done by simply combining all the ingredients and mixing to get a superior taste.

This particular side dish can be considered a more “expensive” side dish, so you might want to avoid it if you’re looking for low-cost recipes.

However, macaroni salad offers a unique taste that’s not easy to find in many other types of side dishes, so it’s something worth trying when you want something simple yet flavorful.

6 – Roasted Vegetables

roasted vegetables

Roasting vegetables is a great way to add something new to your side dish list.

It’s also an ideal choice for those conscious about their health since it requires you to eat many vegetables.

You can roast just about anything, from asparagus to eggplants.

Just go online and explore the different methods of roasting your favorite vegetables, then try them out and cook side dishes that you can eat with your kalua pork.

7 – Hawaiian Baked Beans

hawaiian baked beans

For a simple side dish, try cooking some baked beans for your kalua pork.

It’s one of the easiest recipes to follow since a can of premade baked beans will do.

Just heat everything in a saucepan, and you’re good to go.

It’s the type of dish that will hardly take any time at all, plus it helps provide your body with enough nutrients such as fiber and potassium.

You can also try adding some additional items to your baked beans mixes, like sugar or onions.

However, if you feel like throwing everything but the kitchen sink into your baked beans, it’s a good idea to cook some plain bacon with them so that each ingredient can shine through in every bite.


In conclusion, kalua pork is a delicious and traditional Hawaiian dish that you can cook for yourself at any time.

If you’re unsure what side dishes to cook with kalua pork, the above list is an excellent place to start.

You could try one of these recipes today and see if it’s something worth sticking to in the future.

If you have your signature recipe that works well with kalua pork, feel free to leave more suggestions for others who might want to try out something new and exciting.

what to serve with kalua pork

What to Serve with Kalua Pork? 7 BEST Side Dishes

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Stir-fried Vegetables
  • Red Cabbage Coleslaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Cucumber Sunomono
  • Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Hawaiian Baked Beans


  • Choose your favorite recipe from the list of options.
  • Organize all required ingredients and prepare a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less!
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